Gamboa News

[an error occurred while processing this directive] visitors since 07/06/2003.


chronicled by
Carolyn Pollak Tyssen Andy Van Siclen, Bill Campbell,
Anna Galloway Daniel, Bob Ross, Shirley Zemer Swenson,
Mary Dillon Connard, Lyla "Lou" Womack

Carolyn Pollak Tyssen
As for seasickness, yes I did get sea sick on the boats from CZ to NY and yes I remember the consume and soda crackers. Unfortunately, I still get sea sick on ocean liners but not on boats going down rivers and not on airplanes (except one in Africa that seated 4 people and kept diving down to let us get a view of the villages. I think it is inherited as both my daughters get sea sick.

Every year my parents and I sailed to New York to visit with relatives. The boat stopped in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. The thing I recall most of all was the swimmers that came out from the harbor and swam to the side of the boat and people would throw coins overboard. The swimmers would dive for the coins and place them in a slit they had made in their cheek inside their mouth. At first, pennies would do but over the years it had progressed up to quarters. Also remembered was the bad smells in the town when we disembarked for a short time. The boat trip was fun except for one thing, everytime we sailed I would get sea sick. This has never left me. I still do get sea sick. We used to play shuffleboard and "horse racing" for a few of the games on board. Once we got to New Jersey it was exiting to play in the snow and try ice skating at the local ponds.

Andy Van Siclen
Loved the comments on seasickness and other travels from the CZ to the states in times long past. It brought back a flood of memories of times long gone. I am looking at an old passport issued to my Mom under date of 7-15-42. There is a picture of my Mom, myself and my sister Marilyn embossed with the seal of the American consulate General of the Panama Canal.

I don't remember why we going to the states except that it was to visit with Mom's parents who lived in Birmingham, Alabama. I remember this as if it was just last week. We boarded a Pan American flying clipper. This was a huge four engine seaplane. The windows were all shuttered so we could not see out during the take off (could be spies on board). They took off the shade after we were away from land but all you could see was the ocean. I was glued to the window because I knew that a U boat was going to surface and shoot us down. Pretty soon the stew came back and told me the pilot wanted to know if I would like to see the cockpit. Was I thrilled. She took me up to the cockpit and introduced me to the pilots. One of the pilots said he had to go to the back of the plane and would I like to help fly the plane. I was in hog heaven. I no longer cared about the U boats, I was going to fly an airplane. I sat down and took the control column. The pilot told me that George would help me fly and to just let the stick go where it wanted. What a thrill for a young boy just shy of his seventh birthday.

Another time shortly after the war we went to the states for vacation and my Dad decided to take a military transport to the states up the west coast to San Diego. What an old rust bucket this thing was. It was called (I know I can't properly spell this name) the Château Thierry. I had no idea how old this thing was until years later while watching a late late TV movie about WW 1 Here came General Pershing off this same ship.

Any way we had a cabin on what I guess was the promenade deck. I went in to take a shower and when I turned on the hot water I got a blast of live steam instead of hot water. It was later determined that someone below had accidental turned a wrong valve directing steam instead of hot water into that line. I just had time to wrap a towel around me and get out of the room but could not get back in to turn off the shower. In the meantime paint was beginning to blister on the bulkhead and this thick cloud of steam that looked like smoke was billowing out of the porthole. Somebody saw this and pulled the fire alarm and then all broke loose. Sirens and whistles went off and there I was with nothing but a towel wrapped around my waist. I think I must have been about 15 years old when all this happened and needless to say there was no way I was going to go to the lifeboat station with only a towel on.

Bill Campbell
During the war they took all of our three ships and turned them into troop carriers so......when we had opportunities to go stateside we all had to use whatever army troop carriers were available. And they didn't take you to New York, they went to New Orleans....My family and I were unlucky enough to make one of these transits on the Huddleston , a nasty ole troop carrier. All of the women and children were herded into quarters in the bow and all the men and older sons into quarters in the stern. It was as hot as (you know what) and from my view in my top berth all I could see was a sea of posteriors as everyone was trying to keep cool. The seas were enormous and the ship rocked and rolled all the way to New Orleans. There was no escaping, everyone was very sick. I'm sure that most of the travelers arrived in the U.S. skinnier than when they boarded in Panama. least we all made it to the U.S. safely. New Orleans was around 110 degrees so we were all ready to head back to plane..We were headed for Nova Scotia and so knew there was COOL ahead....relief....was in our future.

Also , we were in transit from New York to Panama when Pearl Harbor was bombed and WW2 was declared. The ship stopped in Haiti and they painted the whole ship black. This included the portholes too. No one was allowed on deck and no lights of any kind were allowed as there was a sickening threat of being torpedoed by a submarine. Cool eh !!!!! ANYWAY...We made it back to Panama safely and the war went on. In the middle of the night some man jumped overboard and we (the ship) stopped and searched for him for an hour or so. He was seen a couple of times but the rough seas prevented his rescue so....he is still out there somewhere....As those of us that were on the zone during the war know , it was an exciting time in an exciting place.

Anna Galloway Daniel
I never did get sea sick but my Mother and Joe did. They were so sick they didn't pay any attention to me so I got to roam the ship by myself. Loved it. The best and worst (depending on who you are) was during the war when we took a navy supply ship. It tossed and turned and they turned green. The sailors were really nice to me and I had a ball. One time Mother decided we'd all take a Dramamine. I kept saying, "...but I never get sea sick". She made me take it anyway and I got so sleepy that I couldn't stay awake until the ship sailed. Boy, did I fuss. Never took another one.

Bob Ross
Never got sea or airsick, lucky thing too as I was in the navy and did both then..

Shirley Zemer Swenson
I remember getting slightly sick from time to time on the liners. However, a good remedy was to jump into the pool and stay there as much as possible! Of course, you had to get into your suit and into the pool before getting sick. Also, they didn't fill the pool right away and if you got sick before the pool was filled. Que lastima.

It's remarkable to me that I didn't get sicker because I have always had a slight problem with middle ear dizziness. Today it is a problem I really have to watch. Round and round my world goes.

I used to travel back and forth with my mom and she really suffered with sea sickness and she used to get me going out of the room so I would not "suffer in sympathy".

Mary Dillon Connard
When I took those trips to and from on the ships I always became seasick. It wasn't until I was an adult and they came out with Dramamine that I enjoyed the first few days on a ship. I remember drinking consomme soup and Saltine crackers, lying in bed with those seasick containers hooked onto the bed rails. "Afraid that I was going to die and wishing that I would." When ever anyone makes the statement that "it is all in your mind", I will debate them on that issue.

Lyla "Lou" Womack
Truthfully I canąt ever say that at anytime I enjoyed the movement of the boat upon the waves of the water on our way to Perlas, for I never could harmonize with this continuous, monotonous movement. Even getting on board the Ancon in New York Harbor made me queasy...and the ocean liner hadnąt even left the harbor. It must have been the combination of the smell of diesel fuel and the motion that has always altered my sense of feeling good on the saltwater...on the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean it made no difference in the name of the ocean for when one is is seasick!

With so many episodes on the ocean I guess it had an affect on me even on land. I remember distinctly while teaching first grade in Bend,Oregon how excited the children and I were about the space program. One time we learned that the landing of the space capsule on the ocean would be taking place shortly, so I ran and got the television for all of us to view this spectacular scene. With much anxiety we waited patiently for that spot in the sky to appear and then land on the turbulent ocean. Our eyes were glued to the television all afternoon as we watched the frogmen recover the space capsule and haul it aboard the ship. I got sick...seasick and was ill all that evening.

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