Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday's Faces from the Past: Mom's Trip to Europe in 1953

Mom's passport photo
I haven't posted much of late (other than a lot of old photos of my aunts, uncles, and cousins from my parents' stash) because I've been preparing to do a three-month series on my mother's trip of the same duration to Europe in 1953.

My mother, Geraldine Margaret Guokas Pape, saved her travel diary from this adventure, as well as her passport, maps, and some of the photographs she and others took on the trip.  I am in the process of transcribing the diary, and for the most part, I will use her words, photos, and maps.  I will supplement with (copyright-friendly) images I've found online, both from the present day and from a more contemporaneous time frame, ranging from 1949 to 1966.

Mom's Rosarian Club friends had a Bon Voyage party for her at the 715 Bayland Avenue, Houston home of Marylin Renfro, a future bridesmaid.  Mom is holdiing a Bon Voyage sign and is seated between Norine Moreland Valicek and Henry Clay.  Henry grew up with Mom's Uncle Roy Guokas and lived on Shearn Street in Houston, where Mom also spent some of her growing up years.  He served in World War II.  Louise Bering is seated on the floor to the left.
There will still be other posts, but Mom's European trip will dominate this blog, starting today, August 1 (when her trip began) through October 28.

My mother made this trip with Sylvia John, who worked with my mother at Humble Oil (now Exxon), and with Joye Murphy, a friend of Sylvia’s from Oklahoma. What's especially remarkable about this trip is that my mother took her car with her!

From the travel diary, in the "GOING" section:
Left Houston Saturday Aug. 1, mileage 11691.
According to my mother, she and Sylvia left in Mom's car from Houston, and they stopped in Oklahoma to pick up Joye.  I imagine they made it about that far on this first day of travel.  They probably traveled on U.S. Route 75 (since then mostly supplanted by Interstate 45) from Houston to at least Dallas.

This is the first in a series of posts about my mom's 1953 Europe Trip.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.


  1. Sounds like an exciting adventure; I am anticipating the rest of the tale.

    1. Thank you, Claudia! It's been fun looking for pictures of the things she saw, since so many of her photos have been lost.