Travels to a Different Time: June 24, 1970, Letter From Rhodes from Margaret Mary Stephen to Son Andrew Stephen (travelling deck class with the hippies and eating Chelsea buns aboard the USS Roosevelt)

Dear Andrew: Robert and I have a morning swim each day around 9:30. today We have had our breakfast of orange juice and freshly baked buns from the runny nosed baker down the street from our hotel. They eat loads of bread here with every meal. We were invited on a U.S. aircraft carrier the USS Roosevelt the other day. What an experience. As we met a couple of cooks from the ship we were invited to the kitchen for a private tour. We ate freshly baked Chelsea Buns that were just out of the oven. I couldn’t get over the size of the ovens! The town is lousy with American sailors and I am sure some Greek girl has found an American boyfriend. The ship will be here until July 5th.

Tomorrow we are off to the island of Symi which is a two-hour trip on a ship. We plan to stay a week there if it is nice and there is enough to do. They are known for their sponges there and I haven’t a clue how they fish for them. I miss you and wonder how your cooking is going. Hopefully it is improving JUNE26: We are just getting ready for our trip to Symi. The bill has been paid and the hotel owner will drive us to the docks. We had our swim this morning and the water is rough. We are going to travel deck class with the hippies who always travel this way and sleep on the deck in sleeping bags. I don’t even know if they are allowed to sleep on the deck or if they are allowed to go to the snack bar but the trip is only two hours so who cares. Bye for now. Love Mom. Letter to Nanny Relyea from Margaret Mary Stephen: Both Robert and I slept in today and we will have some breakfast before we go for a swim. We found a beach where the water is calm. Robert goes out with his goggles, flippers and speargun but has only speared a couple of fish which are no bigger than sardines but he hopes for something bigger. Last night we wandered through the Arab quarter. It is so clean here and at night most people sit in front of their homes. They are so friendly but so few speak English. We usually eat dinner around 8 p.m. I like the food but the portions are very small. They eat too much bread here. We buy fresh fruit and vegetables at the market. The cucumbers and tomatoes are so good here. We eat oranges, cherries, strawberries, peaches, apricots which are in season.

Robert is good company and sometimes I wonder how he can stand me but somehow he manages. I hope you are OK and hope that Toronto is not hot like here. Today in Athens I hear that the temperature will be 105 degrees. The hotels here are not airconditioned in Rhodes but there is always a nice breeze so they don’t have to be. Every once in awhile here in Greece I feel like I am dreaming. It does not seem I could be so far from home. Love Margaret

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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