My Mother’s Passport

Among the box of photos and yearbooks that I inherited from my father after his death in 2001 was my mother’s passport, which she had acquired when my parents traveled from 1954 to 1957 or so (I don’t have all exact dates) to England, where my father worked as a weatherman at a US base in the east of England. I was born in August 1955 while they were in England. This passport shows some significant dates, in particular when they returned to the US. I don’t think my mother ever traveled outside the US ever again in her whole life. (I know my father did, in the 1980s, because his company sent him to Japan for a few weeks.)

Here’s the opening. She lived at 210 South Main Street, in Cambridge, Illinois — and then at 10 Bath Road in Felixstowe, Suffolk, England. Her mother, Lelia Pierce, lived at the same address in Cambridge.

Next: September 30th, 1954, when she got her passport, apparently. Occupation: Housewife.

Next: her photo. She was 20 years old.

Next: apparently a page of expiration dates.

Next: So they arrived in London on 5 November 1954.

Next: returning to the US in February 1957. I would have been not quite a year and half old.

Next: Close-up.

One of the last pages shows some kind of payment. $420 was a lot back then.

And the final date-stamp shows their arrival back in the US. (Not indicated here, but oral family history was that the plane flight home included a landing on the island of Labrador, now part of the Canadian province Newfoundland and Labrador, because airplanes of the 1950s could not cross the Atlantic without refueling there.)