Here’s a little scene I wrote about a young Rebecca and her sister, Hannah, that didn’t quite make the cut for the final version of Journey to Marseilles:
On board the S.S. Normandie, Rebecca strolled along the deck railings. She stared at the waves and the horizon and wondered about the great adventure she had embarked upon. Although she tried to give her mother some grief about leaving home and Papa, she had to admit to herself that the long voyage was exciting. Maybe a little scary too.
She was anxious to see new places and meet new people. She wondered and daydreamed , as all girls her age did, about the things she would do in the Netherlands, the friends she might make, the different places she might go. Somewhat precocious for nine, Rebecca was aware enough to realize that such a venture away from the usual was a life-changing event.
How long would it be until she could return to Detroit and her friends there? How soon would Papa get to be with them? What kind of adventures would she have? How would her life be different by taking this trip?
She sighed and watched another pack of dolphins leaping and playing in the waves below. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be that free, like the dolphins?
“Rebecca, I’ve been looking all over for you. Where have you been all this time?” Angelina Smit demanded.
“Oh, hello, Mother. I guess I lost track of time, watching the dolphins and thinking about how things will be where we’re going.”
“Well, it’s suppertime. And you shouldn’t be worrying about those things. You should be playing and enjoying yourself like your sister is. Come in now. It’s time to eat.”
At supper in the grand dining room, they were served wonderful food by a uniformed and handsome waiter, who was very polite and charming toward the two sisters.
I wonder if I will ever meet a boy as handsome and charming as the waiter, Rebecca thought to herself. A sea voyage seemed like a good place to meet new and charming people.
Rebecca studied the giant dinner menu, all in French, which she would soon be studying in the Dutch school system. The menu itself was a wonder, as tall as two books, with golden edges and fancy printing.
“Aren’t these menus beautiful?” Hannah asked, then she leaned close to Rebecca and whispered, “I have a bunch more back in our cabin.”
“What do you mean?” Rebecca whispered back.
“I’ll tell you after supper.
The handsome and friendly waiter helped the girls with the translation of the French menu. The first course Rebecca chose was le grapefruit frappe, which turned out to be more like a dessert, frozen and slushy with a sweet and delicious grapefruit flavor. Next, she had le potage cressonniere, a potato soup which was good but not as good as the appetizer. For the main course there was a choice between le saumon a l’Etuvee, salmon etouffee, or le caneton roti apple sauce, which was roast duck with apple sauce. Rebecca chose the duck, which also came with les pommes fondantes, fancy mashed potatoes. The duck and potatoes were fantastic, and Rebecca ate every bit.
After the main course came dessert, which was even better than the slushy grapefruit. They were little cream puffs called profiteroles, which were filled with roasted and sliced almonds and served with almond ice cream. Wow, what a wonderful dinner it was. They got to eat like that every night aboard ship.
After dinner, while Angelina strolled out on deck, Hannah pulled her older sister by the arm back to their cabin and showed her a stack of about ten of the giant, beautiful menus she had secreted in a closet.
“What are you doing with these, Hannah?”
“I’m going to sell them to the other passengers. Don’t you think that’s a great idea?”
“I think anybody could get one for free just like you did. That’s what I think,” Rebecca answered, wise and practical like a big sister should be.
“Well, I’m going to try to sell them anyhow,” Hannah insisted.
Most of the passengers were amused at the sight of the little six-year-old hawking the menus for a quarter each, and by the time they reached Amsterdam, Hannah had $5.75 in quarters in her red leather purse.