Those Places Thursday: Reluctant Traveler

Joan Joyce (Schiavon) Huesca  (1928 – 1987)

Aboard the R.M.S. Queen Mary, August 15, 1950,
   New York to Southampton
My mother’s passport photo, 1950

My mother did not relish the idea of going to Europe, especially with her mother, Alice (McGinnis) Schiavon. But in the summer of 1950, she had no better plans.

The thought of going there to hunt for antiques – and with her eager mother! – in a continent that was rebuilding itself barely four years after World War II, was not her idea of fun.

Here, my mother and grandmother (each marked by an “x”) stand on deck, far right, waving farewell to my grandfather as their ship departs New York Harbor for Southampton, England, Tuesday, August 15, 1950.

She shuddered at the idea of staying in archaic old hotels, walking through dusty shops, haggling over old things that would eventually sit on shelves to collect even more dust, and spending time with people her mother’s age instead of other young adults.

Her father, Ralph Schiavon, turned a deaf ear to her protests.  He did not want Alice to travel alone and knew how much she had looked forward to spending six weeks with her daughter away from the distractions of their daily lives.  Moreover, he understood that Joan’s experience in a wider world outside her own sheltered sphere in Chicago would  benefit her in the long run more than he or Alice ever could do on their own.  He arranged an comprehensive and elaborate itinerary for his wife and daughter and booked them on a transatlantic cruise on the luxurious R.M.S. Queen Mary.

My mother on the deck of the R.M.S. Queen Mary. 

When the reluctant 22-year-old Joan walked up the gangway and stepped onto the deck of the enormous cruiseliner on that balmy August day, little did she know that this trip would become a defining moment in her life.

Copyright ©  2012  Linda Huesca Tully

Did you know the Schiavon family, or are you a member of the Schiavon/Schiavone or Huesca families?  Did you sail on the Queen Mary in 1950? If so, share your memories and comments below.

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