Transmission 14: Mary Anne Cox

Photo of Mary Anne Barry at age 10, in the white dress on the far right, handing in her bingo card during her 1956 crossing with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Barry. Donated by Mary Anne Cox.

Photo of Mary Anne Barry at age 10, in the white dress on the far right, handing in her bingo card during her 1956 crossing with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. Barry. Donated by Mary Anne Cox.

I loved watching the arrivals at ports of call – Le Havre, Cherbourg, Southampton – for all the excitement of entering the harbors with pilot boats and tugs guiding us in and out. Waving crowds and waiting friends added to excitement.

I crossed from New York to Southampton, England on the SS United States in 1956, 1960, and 1965. Dinner and dancing every evening of the journey was a very glamorous environment for a 10-year-old “voyeur” and for a 19-year-old participant, too! The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were on one trip; they were on deck and at dinner frequently. On one crossing, there was a hurricane – velvet ropes were strung along gangways and hallways to steady passengers.

One of my most vivid memories was that on the first day of the return trip, everyone at lunch ordered a hamburger. Most meals in England, even lunches, were elaborate affairs. A quick “American” meal was hard to come by, so a hamburger was the perfect first meal — plain “home” cooking. During that lunch, the band played songs recognizing famous U.S. states and cities: “California, Here I Come,” “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” “New York, New York,” etcetera.

— Mary Anne Cox (née Barry), former passenger