Saturday, 22 March 2008

Letter 32 - May 31, (1919)

Received Monday- June 23/’19, a day after Rudolf’s 21st birthday (C.G.S)

The George Nungovich Egyptian Hotels Cv., Grand Continental Hotel & D’Angleterre, Cairo

Dear Family,-

I arrived here this evening at six o’clock. Several days ago it was decided that I should come to Egypt to sell some supplies which had been bought in London for us and to buy a number of tings viz Ford cars, typewriters, stationary, shoes (for Dr. Fr.) and countless other things.

I took the train day before yesterday evening for Ludd, the sleeper from Ludd to Kantara, crossed the canal in a row boat, train to Port Said. After lunch I worked till evening, went to theatre with one of Mr. Lewin-Epstein’s nephews who was there, and then took a hot bath. This morning I spent several hours with the Z.C.’s representative at Port Said, Mr. Meerovitch. His sole duty is to help all immigrants who come thru here. At present his task is not a strenuous one as the OETA has stopped practically all immigration.

At noon I got on the train for Cairo. There are two good hotels here, so I flipped a coin and this won. Then I began to go over the people I knew here. I had met one quite attractive girl in Jaffa my first day there – originally from Tennessee U.S.A. – who said she was living in Heliopolis, a suburb of Cairo. She had given me her name and address which I had carefully secreted in some safe place which I promptly forgot about. At any rate her first name I remembered was Marianne and she lived in Heliopolis so I resolved to find her. On arriving I proceeded here – shaved, washed, and was about to leave the hotel when I met Mr. Margolis – who had lived with us in Jaffa. He’s a nice old fellow, so I had supper with him. He invited me to theatre, which I refused, preferring to look thru the town.

I walked several blocks, came to a big hotel – the other one – entered, saw advertised the last dance of the season (Alexandria is the local summer resort) looked about and by kismet or my usual luck, almost stepped on little Mrs. Golding the wife of a Jewish captain, a born Englishman and practising lawyer in Egypt. I had met them in Palestine where he was in service. She is a delightful little lady who looks to be about 21 and is actually several years past thirty. He is one of the cleverest local lawyers. With them was the girl of my dreams. Of course I went to the dance – my first since leaving home – and you know I have never realized how I’ve missed seeing well dressed women these last few months until tonight. I also ate ice cream for the first time since Palestine.

Tomorrow (Sunday) I intend to devote to sightseeing. For breakfast I have a business conference with a man who is building hoses in Palestine and importing supplies, materials etc. In the evening I supper with Mrs. Golding.

On Monday I shall pay my respects to the Consul. Jack Mosseri and Saphir will be along about then and I have no plans except Wednesday afternoon I will tea with Mr. and Mrs. McDonald, Bostonians and nice people – also Marianne Taylor of Tennessee.

I don’t believe I had the opportunity to write you yet that the day before I left we ad General Storrs, military governor of Jerusalem, his mother, sister and adjutant to supper. Just Dr. F., Szold & I were there – and it went off fine; everything from the stuffed eggs & soup to the coffee, liqueurs and candy. But as manager of our home I am beginning to appreciate, Mother, what a strain it must be to entertain until you get used to it. First see that the table is set properly with flowers, wine glasses, etc., etc. Then arrange the seating then to see tat everything is served without interruption and everybody gets enough.

We had our parlor and sitting room decorated with some bits of Bukhara silk which I had bought some time ago and it looked quite fine. Altogether we pronounced it a success.

Next Wed. is Shevuoth and Thurs. morning I expect to be on the job.

I am sending you a cable tomorrow.

Lots of love and kisses,


I suppose my birthday is passed by this time – its hard to realize that when you look at this I shall already be twenty one.


LJP said...

I found your fascinating blog while doing research on the L. Sonneborn Sons, Petrolia, PA, one of the Sonneborn refineries. This is part of a project to preserve Petrolia's history (and the refinery's, as well) but I for one am very interested in the scientists that worked at the refinery during WWII and thereafter. Several of the scientists, as we understand it, had escaped the Nazis. But we wondered how they ever ended up in Petrolia (which, for us as residents or neighbors, is the "outback of nowhere"). Our understanding is that they did research that was instrumental to the American military in WWII. It would be nice to have these contributions documented.

Where did you get these amazing letters? And thanks, too, for the biographical footnotes which are helping me to put the Sonneborn story together. These were AMAZING people and I am convinced their contributions to American history should be documented.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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