Monday, June 2, 2014

Letters from America, 1963 ~ Letter No. 3

In this year's A to Z Challenge, under the letter LI shared  a composite of the first two letters I sent home to my parents in Sweden after I moved to Princeton, N. J. in the winter of 1963.  My first job as a mother's helper in the U. S. did not work out and after getting everything straightened out with that family, I got a job in Princeton. The family had four kids under the age of five and they were a great family.

I had planned to share the letters earlier, but it became a bit difficult, looking back. Since so many enjoyed reading about my first impressions of this new country, and since some of my observations are pretty funny, I have decided to continue posting them. Except for a few items I removed, this letter is unedited.    

We'll see how it goes........

In the spring of 1963, I was 22 years old.

On Nassau Street, Princeton, N. J. 1964 ~ What's up with my hair?

Excerpts from my third letter from Princeton, N. J.

Princeton, March 3, 1963

The snow has almost melted, the sun shines from a deep blue sky, and spring is in the air. I'm happy, very happy. After a tough beginning in America, things are working out for me. With mostly deciduous trees, many of them flowering, cherries, magnolias, and so on, spring in Princeton will be gorgeous, I am told. Yesterday, Mrs. Smith gave birth to a son, named David. This is great, they can be playmates now, the four of them, and good friends for the rest of their lives. 

I went to another Thursday night party, those of us who work as mother's helpers have half Thursday and all day Sunday off, so it looks like they arrange parties so we can go. There are American girls there too. Americans are very, very nice to socialize with. They socialize a lot and it looks like they have to go out and meet people, have parties, and go to parties in order to get somewhere within their professions. And here in America, there's something called "dating," which seems to mean that one can go out with a different guy most nights of the week and it is not frowned upon. And if two young people like each other, they can "date" exclusively. Like looking around for a husband or just having a good time. Not sure yet what it means exactly. I am pretty sure though that teenage Americans are not as "advanced" as those in Sweden.  

I met that Englishman again at the party. His name is Philip and he's really funny and very nice. He's coming to pick me up soon and we're driving to the Delaware River and Pennsylvania. It will be fun to see some of the surrounding areas of New Jersey, which is a very pretty state. 

New Hope, PA

Hugs to everyone, Inger


  1. you were so cute and innocent. :)

  2. in the spring of 63 i was about to run 19 and make one of the major mistakes i made in my life. had to laugh about the dating thing... not the America i knew... but i lived in the deep south and things were much different... i had hair like yours but not until about 69 i think

  3. That looks like a mini-beehive 'do' to me. Very trendy in that time. I love that you took many photos of your early time in America. I also took many when I came to Canada too, I loved British Columbia, it was so different than my home town.

    The innocence of 22 is charming. But look what you had done by that time.

  4. Dear Inger, reading this letter makes you so present to me as a young woman. I was in the convent in 1963 so life was quite different for me from yours and I never wrote a letter home that was so descriptive and thoughtful as yours.

    I'm sorry now that I didn't read many blogs in April--a month that got away from me. Because it's clear from this letter that I missed so much of your early life. I hope that I'll have time this summer to go back to your April postings. Take care. Peace.

  5. Inger, your post was very interesting to read. I always wondered how difficult it must be to adjust to a different lifestyle in another country. It's so wonderful that you kept those letters.
    Thanks for sharing those personal moments with us.

  6. That's wonderful to read! I can't imagine coming here as a young girl.

  7. Reading old letters, brings so many of our own memories to mind. You had one heck of an interesting young life!

  8. I'm curious about Swedish teens being more advanced than those in America.


  9. I remember feeling much the same way when I came to America. Especially about the dating scene. very confusing at first. :) New Jersey is pretty. When we came home to visit my grandparents we went to Deleware, which is where they lived at the time so I am very familiar with that area. :)

  10. Love you story you shared. And I think you were beautiful - just like now.

  11. I too am very curious about Swedish being more advanced? Need clarification.

    I wish I had known you in '63. We could have had the same hairstyles together. hehehe

    I wonder what it was like to be your mother and to read your letters. I can almost feel her heart ache for your presence.

  12. I love this! I read it to my granddaughter because she is always try to explain "dating" to if they like each other they call that dating...I guess I will always be behind the times...

  13. I enjoy reading about your life as a young person and all that you were experiencing. Nice to see you too!

  14. Isn't it wonderful to have those letters! Not Tweets, not Facebook, but real letters that you can read and re-read and your family can have and see what you were thinking at that age. Thank you for sharing them.

  15. What a fascinating insight into that time. I can't imagine myself ever writing to my parents in such an open way. Mum and Dad wouldn't have approved of dating a different boy each night!

  16. What a lovely adventure - Thank you for sharing with all of us.

  17. I had hair like that in '63!

    I loved this letter and seeing America through your eyes. What an adventure it must have been!

  18. You were beautiful then as you are now. The BeeHive hairdo was really popular then.

    How coincidental: I posted a John Steinbeck written in 1953 to me in 2014 -- I cheated and used a bit of two letters he actually wrote then.

    I really enjoyed seeing America through your 22 year old eyes. :-)

  19. How lovely to read your letter from long ago. Love that shot of you too.

  20. How lovely to read your letter from long ago. Love that shot of you too.

  21. Aren't you lucky to still have the letters? It was lovely to read your post.

  22. Hi Inger .. happy times of being 22 - love the photo and your story. It was very brave to leave for the States and at least try work overseas .. not knowing if that country was going to be your future life, which it did become.

    Fun to read .. thanks for sharing with us .. cheers Hilary

  23. Love the photo took in the spring, when you was 22 years old.
    Reading letters from our past is so moving and seeing photos when we were young is so lovely too.
    Thanks for sharing your memories, Inger! :)

  24. I love that you're sharing your letters with us. How interesting and fun to look back in time. And it's fun to see photos and see our outfits and hair dos! Enjoy your week my friend! Hugs!


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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