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The HUNTSVILLE HERALD
Huntsville, Randolph County, Missouri
c.a. 1931, Page 8
LETTER RECEIVED FROM MISSIONARIES
THREE FORMER RANDOLPH COUNTIANS TELL OF INTERESTING VOYAGE TO NORWAY
From Huntsville, Mo., to Bon, Norway, is a long, long trip. It is a trip which would, no doubt, prove higholy interesting to even the most seasoned travelers.
For three former Randolph Countians it proved just as interesting last December as it did when they made their first trips six or eight years ago. And, among other things, it involved a slight disappointment for them this time - they had planned to visit friends and had wanted to visit a few places of interest during their one afternoon and night in London but they were so tired they had to go to bed almost as soon as they arrived.
Those Who Made Trip
The three,m the Rev. and Mrs. Vernie Ruch and their daughter, Velma, are no located in Bon again after a visit to this country last fall. The Rev. Mrs. Ruch, who was Miss Zella M. Vanderdeck of Huntsville before her marriage, writes the following letter to her father, Mr. V. Vanderbeck and Mrs. Vanderbeck:
Mr. and Mrs. V. Vanderbeck
Dear Papa and Mrs. Ida:
I suppose you are wondering how and where we are. I should have written sooner but I have been so tired since we came that I have neglected to write.
We arrived here in Bon about 5:15 Christmas Eve. We were quite surprised when we landed in Norway that we didn't find everything covered with snow. The snow is generally 3 or 4 feet deep here at Christmas time. Everyone was complaining because there wasn't any snow. It didn't seem like Christmas at all. There was just a little patch here and there. But the day after Christmas it began to snow and now we have [a] genuine Norwegian winter, lots of snow and real cold weather. 4 degrees below zero.
Boat Was Delayed
Well I suppose I had better go back a little. We mailed a card to you from New York the day before we sailed. I suppose you received it. We had quite a pleasant time there and the people with whom we were staying went to the boat with us on Wednesday morning. The boat was scheduled to leave at noon, but there was (such) so much baggage to load that we were three hours late in starting.
The weather was fine and there were a great many people on board. It is quite a queer sensation one has when the boat begins to leave the pier and all the people are waving goodbye. Some were singing, some were laughing, and others were crying. It makes a fellow wonder whether he'll ever see his homeland again.
We had very good weather for the entire trip - a little rain and wind but no stormy weather. Hoever the ocean was quite rough and nearly everyone was seasick, too. However there was only one day we were sick enough to be in bed and had to feed the fish. The rest of the time we were able to be up and to eat our meals.
There weren't many Americans on board. The passengers were mostly Germans or Frenchmen returning home for Christmas. There were a few going to Romania, Budapest, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, England, Spain and a few other countries so it was a regular Tower of Babel.
We had splendid accommodations and lovely food on this ship. The George Washington - much better than we had on the "Levathan" but there wasn't as much social activity and recreation as there was on the Levathan. We had a farewell dinner the night before we landed and that was quite an event. The dining room was beautifully decorated in red, white and blue. At each plate was laid a fancy paper hat, a noisemaker and a favor. Of course there was a lot of noise and everyone was in a good humor. The menu was extra fine that evening and the table decorated beautifully. We had a splendid menu the whole time but a fellow hasn't much desire to eat when he is seasick. First there was an appetizer olives-salad-pickled fish, followed by soup - then the fish course - then our choice of 2 or 3 kinds of meat and different kinds of vegetables - salad course - dessert - coffee - cheese and crackers. Quite a fine menu, don't you think? We had breakfast at 8:00 - 9:00 A. M., bouillion and crackers on deck at 10:30 - luncheon at 12:00 - tea or coffee and cake at 4:00 P. M. - dinner at 6:00 and sandwiches at 10:00 P. M.So you see we didn't go hungry.
The purser asked Vernie to hold divine service so he preached on the boat Sunday morning and had lots of compliments on his sermon. One woman told me she hadn't been to church for over 15 years but she said she certainly enjoyed his talk. She kept talking about it during the rest of the journey. He preached on the Second Coming of Christ.
Big Package of Mail
We had a lovely surprise the first day after we came on the boat. That evening the head steward knocked at the door of our state room and said "Here, I am bringing the whole post office to you." In his arms he carried a great bundle of mail and it was all for us. Just think! 211 pieces - letters, cards, and packages from our friends all the way from California to New York. There were several telegrams and a great number of letters sent by air mail. In one envelope were 10 cards from 10 different people. Others had 2 or 3 letters or cards in them so there were many more than 211 pieces. We surely were happy to think so many had remembered us. It took us over two days to open and read all the cards and letters.
We landed at Plymouth, England on the 20th of Dec. and were glad that much of our journey was over. The water wasn't deep enough for the ship to go into the harbor so we went in on a ferry boat. We had to get up about 4:00 A. M. and had breakfast at 4:45 and then go into the social hall to be examined by the immigration officers to see if our passports were all in order. They examined our hand baggage after we came on land. As we were goingon to Norway they didn't bother our trunks. We took a train soo after and got into London about 1:45 P. M. We went to our hotel and then went out to do a little shopping. We were so tired we didn't go anywhere that evening but went to bed early as we had to leave next [the] morning at 9 o'click for New Castle.
One Night In London
Think! Only one night in London and going to bed early! But we were so tired we couldn't have enjoyed anything. We have some friends who live in one of the suburbs of London and we didn't enve get to see them. We called them one the telephone, however. We had planned on one day more in London but the boat from New Castle to Norway sailed one day earlier so the people could get home in time for Christmas Eve so we had to go when it sailed. They failed to take 2 of our trunks off the train at New Castle so we didn't go with the boat but we got them in Oslo, Norway all right and went thru the custom examination without having to pay any duty.
We sailed from New Castle 8:00 P. M. Friday and arrived at Oslo 2:00 P. M. Sunday. We had quite a rough trip but we didn't get sick enough to feed the fish.
Our long journey is over once more and I am glad I stood the trip remarkably well. Vernie and Velma are both well and we all three are getting acclimated nicely.
I must close now. Write soon and let us know how youa re. Tell all our friends hello. Our address is Bon, Norway. Just a little addres but that is enough.
Lots of love and best wishes for a Happy New Year from,
Vernie, Zella and Velma.
NOTE: V. D. Ruch, the son of William Charles and Naomi Agnes (Davis) Ruch, was born in Macon County, Missouri, September 3, 1890, and died in March, 1969, Lamoni, Iowa. He was an Elder and missionary. He married at Huntsville, MO, on October 1, 1913 to Zella M. Vanderbeck. Zella, the daughter of Victor F. & Virginia Lee (Covey) Vanderbeck, was born in Huntsville, MO, on April 2, 1894, and died in Lamoni, Iowa in October of 1981. V. D. and Zella were interred at Rose Hill Cemetery, Lamoni, Iowa.
Velma Ruch, their daughter, was a long-time English professor at Graceland University.
Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, January of 2017