"A picture postcard dating probably from the 1930s of a bedroom at the Hotel Imperial in Ostend, Belgium. Perhaps the date can be pinned down by an example of the then rates: "Pension a parter de fr 110". The decor does seem to be the kind of style popular in the 1930s. The flowered wallpaper is particularly notable".
In all fairness, my mother never discouraged me from traveling nor did she express any disapproval of my choices. She'd only say, "I don't know how you do it." In some ways, when travelers speak to non-travelers, it's like they're from different planets. I couldn't understand why she was content to stay home. Some speculate that their DNA is different. Here's a link to an interesting article on the subject. DRD4-7R is the gene they call the Wanderlust Gene. I think I have it; I know my mother did not.
When Jill came from Canada to visit me and my sister in California, she'd start counting the days until she could leave almost as soon as she arrived. I loved to have her with us, but hated to see her suffer. On her last few visits, she was escorted by my friend Linda, the kindest person on the planet, who came along with her and we were all able to enjoy some time together. Mother was much more relaxed with Linda and the security of her company took away some of the terrible stress she felt when away from home.
This is one of the few photos I have of Jill on the road. She and my dad took the obligatory European tour after he retired - he hadn't been in Europe since 1917 when he was in the Canadian army stationed in France. This ghastly room is in Paris. At first glance, I thought it was a hospital room and the black thing on the wall was an IV drip. Who would put a telephone up on the wall between two beds? The interior design is wanting, to say the least. The two pictures on the wall, hung too high, appear to also be hung at slightly different heights, just off enough to drive you a little crazy. They also look not to be centered over each bed. As for that light....could you see anything at all?
On the table is a bottle of whiskey and two bottles of water...that's what my father drank: one part whiskey, two parts water. Poor mother was stuck in that room, hair done, make-up on, wearing her pearls and counting the days until she could leave. I can imagine how their time in the room was spent. My father would be sipping his drink and enthusiastically reading aloud from a guide book. My mother would feign listening, give him an affirming "uh-huh" from time to time but she'd be day-dreaming about something at home. She had little interest in history but would never interrupt my father or complain about his interest. It might be surprising that a woman rooted in one place and who loved routine would so readily accept modernity. But she loved modern things - modern furniture, clothing, cars, kitchen appliances and gadgets.
Recently I found this second photo from the same European trip. They have a better bedroom in this photo all the way around - a better light, no ugly prints on the walls and it looks more comfortable. So does my mother. Hurray! It must have been getting close to their return date.
For more bedside tales, surf over to Sepia Saturday.