Excerpts from letters of Bill Fridfinnson to his fiancee in Winnipeg
Return to main page
On board R.M.S. Melita, The Canadian Pacific Ocean Services Ltd.
April 4th, 1920(article)
We are now about 500 miles from St. John's N.B. We all stayed up until the ship sailed about 1 in the morning.
We have spent the day playing bridge and chess and promenading on the decks.
Just now Frank is playing the piano in the big lounge room and the boys are singing and enjoying themselves. There are a lot of society ladies on board, and a lot of them smoke cigarettes. They don't look as if they are beginners either.
April 5th, 1920
There are quite a few Winnipeg people on ship and they have certainly advertized who we are. Everybody from the Captain to the stoker knows that we are the Falcons of Winnipeg.
Tonight we practically organized a dandy concert in the largest lounge room. We started rumours during the day that there was something doing tonight.
Frank and Konnie started it with a duet on their violins, (article)with the help of a splendid pianist - a young fellow from Vancouver. That started it, soon we had 200 or more in the room. Then we spread out to canvass the crowd and soon had plenty of entertainers - recitation, skits, songs. etc. Some have started dancing - our jazz orchestra is supplying the music.
April 6th, 1920
Tonight I danced one waltz with Mrs. Hewitt. She is the wife of Mr. Hewitt, the man who is in charge of our party - nice couple, about 40 yrs. or so.
Mr. Hewitt gave the boys their new sweaters today. They are very nice, black and yellow or some sort of dull gold, with a big red maple leaf on the front with Canada across it in white letters. The colours are the Canadian team colours at the Olympic games.
April 7th, 1920
The boys had a little work out on deck - running, playing leap frog and skipping.
After dinner Konnie and Frank are taking their violins to play for an hour in the Steerage, that is for the 3rd class passengers who are not allowed upstairs.
April 8th, 1920
To date we have travelled 1800 miles and still have another 1000 more to go. We have played so much cards since last Saturday that we are getting fed up with it. We expect to get to Liverpool in 3 days.
April 10th, 1920
I am so used to seeing women smoke, since I boarded this ship, that I hardly notice it any more. They do not only smoke but many of them drink also.
April 11, 1920
This afternoon we were entertained at tea by the Women's Christian Temperance Union delegates on board - much to the delight of fellow pasengers.
(article)They borrowed the main dining room for the event and had each of us sitting between 2 of them. They were all old women, being about 60 years of age. They told us how proud they were to have the honour of having us to tea, also how proud they were of us as Canadians and the gentlemanly way in which we had conducted ourselves throughout the trip. What handsome, clean, splended-looking fellow we were, etc. etc. and would watch with interest the result of the Olympic games. It seemed as though half the ship was crowded around in the galleries (?) smiling and winking at us. After it was over we received at least 20 invitations to buy drinks to brace us up. I am glad to say only a few accepted the invitations.