Friday, May 9, 2014

Motorship Gripsholm in NY Harbor - October 16, 1945

In which the Kleinschmidts say goodbye to their girls and to the supporting churches on the East coast, and give us a short description of the conditions on board the Gripsholm. 

Motorship Gripsholm
New York Harbor

Tuesday, October 16, 1945 (about 4 pm, sailing about 8 pm we hear)

Dear girls,
Here is a surprise - another letter! A friend of the Feltons [1] is here on board – by special permit. She works for the man who supplies [illegible] on the ship.  She will take the letter back for us.

We have been thinking of you especially today. It has seemed strange not to have you with us, as we came on board the ship, and have been watching the ships come in and looking at the NY skyline.  It has been nice and clear, a bright sunny afternoon, so pleasant up on deck.

We marvel at the Lord’s enabling, and that here we are on board going back home. I know you are here in thought and prayer and so we are really together in Him, you with us and we with you.  In Him we have such riches untold, One who meets our every need.

The farewell meeting (in Brooklyn) last night was a precious time of fellowship.  All the folks who have recently returned gave a word of testimony, then we who are sailing today. There wasn't time for much visiting but it was nice to greet many.  Miss Wambold [2] was there and I had a little chat with her. Miss Quinche [3], Mrs. Jacob Stam, Mrs. Peter Stam from Wheaton, the Cooks [4], Mrs. Stevenson [5], Mrs. Schuit, Aunt Marty [6] were among those we especially were happy to see. Mrs. Davis [7] was there and she said Bob [8] was home last weekend.  He is liking Providence Bible school now.  Guess he was pretty homesick at first. 

Longman expects to go to his people this week I think. The girls have grown so much. We all went to the farewell in our car. Father Schuit went along and Eddie and Nellie, and Aunt Marty returned with us. We had a nice time.

This morning we had breakfast at 7 and left the (missionary) Home about 8:15. Eddie and Nellie brought us down in our car. Our trunk and 10 pieces of baggage. I marvel that we have so much stuff. The screen, briefcase, basket of fruit from Mrs. Shortiss, a trunk, medical bag, and six suitcases. 

They wouldn't let anyone come beyond a certain point, so we had to say goodbye to Eddie and Nellie there.
We met Ruth Grimshaw [9] among the crowd and had a minute with her. She is in the SIM (missionary) Home now.  There are 28 SIM folks on board. We are 10 AIM. Misses Roscher, Short, Greene, Crabbs, and Mr. & Mrs. Gittings [10] and Mr. & Mrs. Felton and their two little girls. Mr. Deans [11] said we were their Mother and Father – so you see we have a family. They all seem so nice. We are looking forward to lovely times together.

Now about the ship. It seems strange to have so many folks aboard. There are about 800 aboard. We are in third class, and our cabin is very small, like a closet without a porthole. But we do rejoice that we are together. (We only got our tickets on Saturday noon!) Some folks have been separated. However we hope we may wrangle it to get better accommodations, but if not we can manage this way.

We met the Phillips from Sudan, remember them and their son Henry, that bit you?  He is now roommate with Paul & Neil Stam in Stonybrook. They are returning to the Sudan so we’ll travel all the way with the Lord’s children.

Miss McIntyre who came from near Khartoum – remember her?  She visited Hortense [12] years ago and then later came back. She is on board returning to the Sudan. 

Rumor has it our first stop is Naples. Then in Greece but we will probably not be allowed ashore.  But we’ll probably be able to send letters from there.

So many folks have asked for your address.  Mrs. Stevenson (Mrs. Cooks’ mother) said she’d like to have you girls come in the summer. Also Pastor and Mrs. Mouw.  I thanked them and said you’d probably be staying there in Florida [13] until you finish in 1947 then if you could come east before going to St. Louis and entering Moody or Wheaton we thought that would be so nice. We’ll pray about this with you.

The box of cookies we mailed to you were given by the Africa Prayer Circle of Hawthorne. Mrs. Miller said they were for you girls. I returned the clothes brush to you for we have one in Aba. I meant to leave it, but somehow it didn't get in among your things for Florida.

We saw the Queen Mary pass today. Her decks were lined with troops. Forty airplanes flew over in V formation and then an E on their return. I’d better close here for I may miss the lady going ashore. 

Now goodbye until Naples,

  1. Possibly the Harold Feltons, who were missionaries under the Africa Inland Mission in Kenya.   
  2. Burnetta Wambold – teacher at Rethy.  Possibly from the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area. The boys at Rethy played tricks on her, including letting a mouse run through the classroom. She was so scared that she jumped up on her chair.  Mom remembers doubling up with laughter. Mom remembers her as being a very good teacher.   
  3. Hortense Quinche
  4. Herb and Muriel Cook started out at Aba and were reassigned when the mission press was moved to Rethy, a more central location. 
  5. Mother of Muriel Cook. 
  6. Marty Pontier
  7. Ralph and Ellen Davis
  8. Bob Davis became an AIM missionary in Kenya. During childhood Edith and Esther went hunting lizards together with Bob. 
  9. Mary Grimshaw’s sister. The Grimshaws were AIM missionaries at Todro and Mom thinks that both Ruth and Mary were born there. Ruth was an SIM missionary in Nigeria for 40 years. She died on Easter Sunday, 2014.  
  10. The Gittings and Feltons were AIM missionaries in Kenya. 
  11. Bill Deans, stationed at Nyankunde at the printing press. Plymouth Brethren, out on the field many years. Mom remembers that he served as a chaplain to some Congolese troops who went to Palestine in World War II.  
  12. Hortense Quinche.
  13. At Hampton Du Bose Academy, Zellwood, Florida. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Hawthorne, New Jersey - October 15, 1945

In which Ralph tells his daughters about the imminent sailing, and the proposed route.  

Hawthorne, New Jersey
October 15, 1945

Dear girls,

Well, here we are, spending our last evening in America for a while, and all ready to get on the boat tomorrow morning. Everything is in order, passport, visas, vaccinations, etc. We are supposed to be on the boat before 10AM, and to set sail soon after. The boat will take us to Alexandria, and I think it may stop at Greece on the way. We have just come home from the farewell meeting at the Brooklyn home. There are ten altogether in the outgoing AIM party besides two small children. There will also be many other missionaries on board from other missions – 27 from the Sudan Interior.

From Alexandria we will probably go to Congo by train and Nile steamers. I think it will take us six weeks or so to get to Aba. We will let you know when we arrive.

The Trouts are in Brooklyn waiting to sail. They area awaiting their re-entry permits.  Eddie and Nellie (1) have not received their permits as yet, but we expect they will be able to follow us within a few weeks.

[Personal portion redacted.]
And so – goodbye for now, and the Lord bless you!



  1. Eddie and Nellie Shuit.