A story printed in 1920 in the Corsicana Daily Sun satirically recounting a trip made by local Hella Shrine families to Portland, Oregon. (My own great-grandparents, Bige and Molly Tinkle were among them. The photograph was taken on the trip at Pikes Peak, Bige sitting front left, Molly second row in white.)
Written by Mrs. Frank P. Wood and read at a dinner party given by Mr. and Mrs. Murchison on December 18, 1920, Corsicana, Texas
On the thirteenth day of the sixth month in the year of our Lord 1920, Hella Temple started on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Portland. Among the party were some noted persons, from Corsicana, Mexia and Dallas, Texas, who not being accustomed to much travel, made great preparations.
One lady by the name of Tinkle laid in a supply of Kaiser silk garments, dozens of hose, hair nets, face lotion, hair pins, skirts, etc., all of which were promptly borrowed by her sister travelers, who did not so wisely prepare for such a long trip.
Mrs. Wood’s hair was a reddish brown, but Mrs. Tinkle’s black hair nets came in fine on several occasions. Her clothing fit any size woman in the party, from one weighing 90 pounds to one weighing 175. The Pullman Porter’s wife needed a silk petticoat, and Miss Watson, being kind and submissive gave up hers, and Mrs. Tinkle furnished one in the place of the missing garment.
While at Colorado Springs the bravest of the party took an auto joy ride to Pike’s Peak. They were not steeple jacks so Mr. Murchison and Mrs. Tinkle were brought down almost lifeless with fear, and thereafter could not ride an elevator without heart failure.
All went well socially until we reached Glenwood Springs, when one Mr. York, in conversation with Mrs. David, severely criticized the two maidens from Mexia, namely, Miss Watson and Miss Kennedy, for their strict observance of the Sabbath day and other religious views. And what they did to him on the rest of the journey was enough to spoil his trip and make him in the future slow to express his public opinion of young ladies’ profession, age and standard of morals.
Other beaux in plenty they had along the way, some young, some old, some with alfalfa just ripe for cutting, some with autos and some with none, but gallantly carried their grips, though of uncertain age.
Mr. Stiteler had an interesting friend on board, a Mr. Paddleford, whose face was as flat as a paddle and a figure resembling a Ford. He was rich, single, innocent and lonely, and guarded his money well. I am sure Mr. Stiteler had quite a nice time when Mr. Paddleford was asleep.
Mrs. Mayer had lovely clothes, an indulgent husband and plenty of money and everything to make her trip, if only she could have walked on her hands instead of her feet. It took much persuasion to keep Mr. Mayer from buying all the attractive markets he saw. Other things interested him, too, such as swell dinners at the Blue Bird in San Francisco.
Mrs. Murchison’s weakness was bathing, riding Indian mules six thousand feet to the bottom of Grand Canyon, and most of all she loved museums. I fear if she had seen all of the Golden Gate Park Museum she would be there yet. Her slogan was, “Why hurry over things?”
We had a bell cow, or leader, in Mr. Wood, who persistently went a block ahead of our party, more often going in the wrong direction than the right one, making it necessary to use a wireless as a means of communication. The fleetest footed in the crowd were sent to fetch him back.
And remember, the spats.
Mr. Tinkle enjoyed everything except the Busch Gardens in Pasadena, and no wonder, when he was so frightened he had to be carried to the waiting taxi, because he ran upon a monster snake placed in the grass for the enjoyment of visitors.
What shall I tell you of Mrs. David and her moments of frenzy when she twice lost her little 21-year-old daughter and twice her suitcases in the hotel in Portland? It was always her luck to have both child and grips missing just at the moment of taking a train. And did she talk any in those five weeks? Neither noise of brass bands, railroad trains or the shouts of thousands of people phased her and she still loves to talk some more. Kathleen, this same little daughter just mentioned, was most popular, having beaux a plenty, and attention showered upon her, but all these things and wonders of the trip did not keep her from pining for something left at home which she could not conveniently carry along. For consolation she often took a Tenant, and when very blue preferred a Cave.
Mrs. Wood’s only knowledge of French came from the outside of a sardine can, which was a great help to her when ordering meals on this trip. Things are not always what they seem, and often in order to not go hungry, the unknown dish was set aside and food borrowed from her friends. How could she know what “Cook’s Revenge” meant in French?
Last but not least, there was our advance agent and general manager, Mr. Murchison, who had our financial interest at heart. It was he who bargained with taxi drivers and hotel robbers, winning out each time. He ought to be in Congress. He is a firm believer in flat rate for eating purposes and profited thereby. What did it matter if we sat in a hotel for three long hours waiting for him to come back with a taxi, which he went out to hire? He had to take time to discuss the ownership of lands in California by Japanese or run down to the National Democratic Convention, while we waited? But in time he came back with the taxi, and we went on our way rejoicing.
However, we know lots more than we did before our trip. How not to press the down button of the elevator when we want to go up, and not to ride to the twelfth floor of the hotel when you want to get off on the second.
Long will we remember our trip to Portland, and here is luck to John and Daisy, Pierce and Lennie, Frank and Lula, Bige and Molly, May and Kathleen, Mattie and Mamie and John.
MRS. FRANK P. WOOD