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David Royko Psy.D

The S.S. France, 1972 -- Excerpts from my diary

When I was 12, I read Bram Stoker's Dracula. If I remember correctly, it was written in diary form, which gave me the idea of keeping a diary of our trip to Europe. I've excerpted some of the entries I made while on the SS France, so what follows is a 13-year-old's perspective of life on an ocean liner:

Wednesday, July 19, 1972

. . . Arrived at dock at 12:00 pm New York time. Saw Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty from boat (SS France). Boat left at 1:00 pm New York Time... Went to the upper deck to play some games . . . For dinner I had Fillet of Soul [sic], and for dessert, ice cream. Ship is HUGE! and also steady. In the theater tomorrow I am going to see "Buck and the Preacher" . . . In my bunk now. Tomorrow's another Big day so Good Night!

Thursday, July 20, 1972

. . . Ship has been rocking a lot today. Very windy. Cool outside. Big waves. I got lost on the ship today. It took me half an hour to get back to my cabin. For dinner I had turkey. For dessert, ice cream with cookies. Got up at about 11:30 this morning. Blades on the fan in my room are made of rubber. It is on now. In my bunk now. Good Night.

Friday, July 21, 1972

. . . I went swimming today. It is a salt-water pool. When you hold on to one side, the water goes up and down. It's fun . . . There was a show tonight. They had some pretty good acts. But what I really liked was the costume party. The one I liked best was number 26. It was a woman dressed in a wedding gown and was pregnant. The title was "Get Me to the Church on Time." I had scrambled eggs with bacon for breakfast. I didn't have lunch or dinner. I had too many snacks in between. I dropped 2 test tubes in the ocean today. I made one sink by putting salt in it. I sealed it with wax. The message had my name and the date. The second one I didn't seal and I made it float. I put in my name and address and the date. Well, that's all for tonight I guess. I stayed at the party 'til Midnight! Good Night.

Saturday, July 22, 1972

Today I got up at 1:20 PM! For lunch I had turkey and for dessert I had cake and ice cream. For dinner I had turkey again (so, I like turkey!). Then [my new friend] Elliot and I went to a party called the Gala. Then we went to the Teen Agers room where they played songs and danced. Elliot and I made about 5 requests. Then we went through a secret stair case to the 1st class party. Then we got hungry. So we went to his cabin. There we ordered 4 ham and 4 cheese sandwiches (we asked the porter to bring it; it was free!) . . . It's late now. Mom and Dad aren't back yet. I'm going to sleep now so Good Night!

Monday, July 24, 1972

Mom packed the diary last night so I couldn't write . . . In London now. Customs was miserable . . .


Friday, August 25, 1972

I'm on the ship! (Ship left at 2:00 PM). At 1:00 PM we were on the ship. We boarded at Le Havre, France . . . We saw part of [the movie] "Cabaret" . . . Elliot and I went all around the ship 'til 1:00 AM . . .

Saturday, August 26, 1972

Most of the day (for Elliot and I) was spent at the playroom. Then I had dinner and saw Viva Max. It's a good movie. It's 12:00 midnight. Just got back from the teenagers room. Good Night!

Sunday, August 27, 1972

Today Elliot woke me up again at 8:30 AM . . . I had breakfast and then I went out on the sun deck. VERY STRONG WINDS! . . . I saw "Skyjacked." It's a good movie. It's after midnight now. Today some people came into Elliot's room and put the caps on the portholes. (We don't have any in our room). There is a hurricane 2000 miles from here and they said the waters will be rough. Well, it is! The ship is rocking back and forth a lot . . . [This was Hurricane Betty.]

Monday, August 28, 1972

Today Elliot got me up again. It was too late for breakfast though. So I had a chocolate ice cream soda at the snack bar. Today I saw an Ice Berg. Also today I took a Boogaloo dance lesson. It was fun. Really looking forward to getting home. Just got back from the teenagers room. It's midnight, so, Good Night!

Tuesday, August 29, 1972

Today . . . I played ping pong. Then Elliot hit the ball out the window. Then I saw Brigadoon . . .

Wednesday, August 30, 1972

This morning Elliot woke me up at 7:00. We got dressed and went through customs and all that stuff . . .

Thursday, August 31, 1972

HOME! . . . Europe was fun, but I think I liked the SS France best. Well, that's all for this diary so GOOD BYE!