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1948 Diary of an American Lady in England

Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:03 pm

I'm in the process of publishing a diary on a new web site - http://www.1948diary.com. This is the diary of Elsa Paxton (born Engebretson in Chicago in 1889) who married an imigrant to the USA from Richmond, North Yorkshire - George Paxton (my great great Uncle). George was one of 10 children and had emigrated in 1903 (age 20) finding his way to Chicago and marrying Elsa on 20-Sep-1911.

George always wanted to return to England with Elsa and show her his home town and family, but two world wars and the depression prevented that. After the Second World War they planned the trip but tragically George died in 1945. Elsa, however kept her promise to George and in 1948 travelled to England on the SS Washington to meet the family she had never met. She spent 5 months in the UK, based in Richmond, Yorkshire and travelled around Yorkshire and visited London, Endinburgh and a number of other places. She also wrote a diary of that trip which I recently discoved at my parents house along with a few photographs.

The diary gives a great insight into life in post war England, when rationing was still in force and also her views of the differences between the UK and the USA.

For example she says at one point ...
"In English homes the bathroom proper is in a room alone with the toilet seat in a room of its own. This appealed to me and I wondered why we Americans had not thot of this? But then, I should know it takes too much time to do things and we are all too much in a hurry to accomplish things in the least possible time."

What comes across most is how she completely falls in love with her new family,the people and the places, especially Richmond and Swaledale, where her husband came from.

I am intereded to hear any comments from people in the places mentioned or perhaps relatives of those mentioned (for example Elsa visited the Bowler family in Walton-on-Thames, of Bowler Hat fame).
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