Tag Archives: Ken Watters

MKs Don’t Write Home

[Ken]: You [Virginia] were away from home in high school, weren’t you?

[Lee]: No. Yarinacocha [Peru]?

[Polly]: You were in Colombia, weren’t you?

[Bob]: Steve’s kids.

[Lee]: They came to the States.

[Virginia]: I just don’t. . . . I would not be able to do that.

Ben Lippen School[Ken]: I’m talking about high school.

[Bob]: The thing is I often felt badly for [Steve’s] girls. They didn’t have a prom. . . . Heidi had to make her own dress. . . . For all those high school years, the kids were out of the country [Angola].

[Lee]: Well, by the time she [Virginia] got into high school, we were staying a lot more time in the center.

[Virginia]: Yah, I do remember that now. I just don’t know how. . . . I kind of disagree with that, but that’s their life and not mine. I just feel that. . . . I can’t believe it. I just don’t understand it.

[Bob]: Now if you could send your wife away to school, that would be all right.

[Polly]: Here we go again.

[Bob]: I agree. I completely agree. I can see a wistfulness in Marcia’s eyes. . . . the girls. We were closer to them than they were. That’s not true anymore. I think we were closer to the girls during high school years than Marcia and Steve were.

[Polly]: Oh. Oh, ya.

[Bob]: But that’s not true anymore, of course. We were there as their substitute parents.

[Polly]: As Marcia said once—Aunt Marcia—to me, she said, you know it was so hard, she’d get these letters, maybe most especially from Dawn, but from the others too. And they were going through some crisis. We knew a little bit about it, but they didn’t want to burden anybody, but they would burden Mum and Dad by letter. And even the phones were horrible.

[Virginia]: Oh, and they were so far away.

[Polly]: In Angola. You couldn’t even reach them by phone. Those were terrible years. Anyway, the point being, Marcia said, by the time we got this letter—and my mother’s heart is jumping all over the place—the kids have long gone past that. But little by little, as they got older, they weren’t quite as ready to do that, knowing that it was paining their parents and that they couldn’t do anything about it by the time they got a letter. Forget it, you know.

But on the other hand, I feel like I said, a child or a young person needs their parents. They need to share with them. When Aunt Marcia and Uncle Steve came home, especially early on, and then went back and then came home for good, at that point in time it was very hard. They said you hardly know your kids. You know them. You greet each other. You talk about things. But to really know them. And it’s only been since they’ve been home on a permanent basis that they’ve really gotten to know the girls and it’s been wonderful.

[Virginia]: What age did they start the boarding school or whatever it is?

[Bob]: Seventh grade.

[Polly]: High school.

[Lee]: They sent them also to. . . .

[Polly]: They came down to Ben Lippen School and Dawn, well all of them, all of them were freshmen in high school.

[Bob]: Ninth grade.

[Polly]: Ninth graders. Whereas Betty and Harley had—Sandy was with them until tenth grade. Yah, she went through tenth grade.

[Virginia]: Oh, they did the same thing with them?

[Bob]: Yes.

[Polly]: In France. Then they went to Ben Lippen and they came home. But Debby went the whole four years to Ben Lippen.

[Bob]: Now today they would do that differently with Black Forest Academy. They would be there.

[Virginia]: That’s what I’m thinking. I guess that’s why I’m confused.

[Bob]: I don’t know how long that was that Black Forest Academy has been around. I don’t know why they didn’t choose Black Forest Academy.

[Virginia]: I was thinking they were running . . . but is that just with Sandy?

[Bob]: No, Debby.

[Virginia]: Debby.

[Bob]: Debby teaches there.

[Virginia]: Oh, OK. Oh, OK. I was, for some reason, thinking that they were helping to run that or something.

[Bob]: Debby’s a teacher of French and she’s involved in the mime ministry and all that stuff. I don’t know either.

Now with boys it’s different.

[Polly]: I think that they felt that they would come back to the United States because they had family here. If they had gone to Black Forest Academy, there were no family members.

[Bob]: I wasn’t thinking about them. I was thinking about Betty and Harley.

[Polly]: Oh, Betty and Harley sent Debby and Sandy there.

[Bob]: Black Forest?

[Polly]: No. No, no. It was Sandy sent Rebecca and Christopher there.

[Bob]: I don’t know how long it’s been working.

[Polly]: I don’t know how long Black Forest Academy has been in, um. . . .

[Bob]: Operation.

[Polly]: Operation. But quite a number of years. They’ve . . .  it quite a number of years. But that was different for Sandy and Randy—I know I’m jumping around here but—to send because they were only in France. They could visit, eight hours away, but they could visit. And they certainly phoned. So when Rebecca and Christopher were there, when they were on the Continent, and Sandy and Randy were back home on the mission field, in France.

[Virginia]: So they did the same thing with them?

[Bob]: Yes, but there’s no place. . . . You should hear Rebecca talk about French schools and what it did to her.

***

[Bob]: You talk about that book Letters Never Sent. Very, very interesting, from a missionary.

[Virginia]: Is that the one you sent me?

[Lee]: No. No, that’s not the one I sent you, but you have read that one because I got it from somebody else. It was about a missionary. . . .

[Bob]: Kid.

[Lee]: Kid, who wrote this letter to whom?

[Polly]: To her parents.

[Bob]: Well supposedly. She never did. . . .

[Lee]: It never got mailed.

[Bob]: No. They were never mailed. They were just, kind of, entries in her diary. But these are what she would have liked to have written to her parents.

The book was very interesting. Polly has recently read that. But who gave that to me? Oh, yeah, Barbara gave it to me. I think it was somebody she knew that wrote it [Ruth E. Van Reken].

[Lee]: Barbara. That’s where I got mine from, too. Yes, it was somebody she knew.

[Polly]: But Marcia, years ago Aunt Marcia had mentioned it to me. Because I had it written down. Every once in a while, I do this. Somebody will mention a book and I’ll write it down and I’ll tuck it away in my wallet and unless I change my wallet I may never find it again. In this case, when Bob got it, when Uncle Bob brought it home, I thought I know that book. I know that book. I know that book. Where do I know it from? And eventually it surfaced that it was one that Aunt Marcia had recommended years ago, that it was very helpful to her girls.

redacted transcription of a conversation between Bob, Polly (his wife), Virginia (Lee’s daughter), Lee and Ken (Lee’s second husband) during a visit to California in January 2004

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below. (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.)

  • What years did Sandy attend Ben Lippen?
  • What years did Debby attend Ben Lippen?
  • Maybe Heidi, Kimberly, and Stephanie should all write their Ben Lippen dates down, too.
  • When was Black Forest Academy established? Was it an option for Sandy and Debby? If so, why did they end up at Ben Lippen?
  • Lee’s kids boarded at the SIL center when their parents were in the tribe. Was this true up through high school? Were they ever cut off from communication with their folks over long periods of time?
  • How does Barbara know Ruth E. Van Reken?
  • What else is lost in Polly’s wallet?
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Tad Ignores Betty and Gives Lee Away

I’m Kathy [Courtright]. I’m the daughter of the oldest of the Duncan children, or adults. My mom Lee was very close to Tad. She was not able to make it today. She lives in California, but she did want to pass on a little message, so she told me this on the phone, so I could read it to you today.

Marcia, Steve, Tad, Harley, Barbara, Polly, Carol, Lee, Betty at Bob's funeral, June 2010, courtesy of Colin Duncan“Tad has been the closest in personality to me and though he was ten years younger than me [Lee b. 1927; Tad b. 1937], we have always been close friends. At one point when we were young adults, he traveled and brought me back a gift of really nice earrings. That meant a lot to me. That’s something to do for an older sister.

“We had a lot of fun times together, especially when living close together in Tucson. There was a time Tad took me out driving to help me build my confidence when I was still driving.”

She was getting to the place where she couldn’t see very well and she was losing that confidence. He wanted her to be able to do that again for a little while longer.

“He was the one who gave me away to Ken [Watters] when we married fifteen years ago [Lee and Ken Watters [m. 03.17.2001]. And Carol graciously made our wedding cake for the ceremony at the Wycliffe Center in Tucson. Tad helped us get away after the wedding for a quick escape.

“Also Tad and Ken shared the same birthdate—”

That’s today, when he would be 75 today.

“—although they were twenty years apart. Carol has been such a big help to me in improving my wardrobe over the years. In Tucson, they offered their home for short stays and we exchanged hospitality at our homes. We had good times together. I will greatly miss their visits with me here in California. They have been such good friends and I will greatly miss seeing Tad again.”

That was from Lee.

The other sister Betty, who could not be here, either, today—she’s out in California also—she had her husband send this by email.

“When I was six years old [b. 1931], Tad entered the circle of our family. My first babysitting job was looking after him. I remember that Tad had a mind of his own and wasn’t always willing to follow the instructions of Sister Betty.

“Years later, when Brother Wally bought an old hearse, Tad loved to ride in the back with the others and enjoyed it when Wally would stop at a light and he and others would sit up where the casket was supposed to be and stare, and scare the onlookers.

“As the years wore on, Tad showed a great interest in family and things of the Lord. This was renewed a year ago when he stopped by our home. What a wonderful time of spiritual fellowship we had. I treasure that precious memory.”

That’s Aunt Betty.

transcription of Kathy Courtright [Lee’s daughter], speaking at Tad’s memorial service, Wildwood Baptist Church (950 County Line Church Road, Griffin, GA 30223), June 22, 2012, audio provided by Gloria Boyer (Tad’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • When (date) were Lee and Ken married?
  • What other stories of Lee and Tad getting together in Tucson and California do you remember?
  • What other stories of Wally’s hearse can you tell?
  • What other stories of Betty babysitting can you tell? Dad can you pass along the baby-Steve-drop story?

Bob Is Not a Sugar Daddy

[Virginia] Now, explain.

[Bob] Oh, how we got this daughter?

[Virginia] Mn-hmm.

[Lee] How did you get the daughter? That’s what she asked you.

[Virginia] Well, yeah, but let him finish.

[Bob] Yeah. I know. That’s another story.

First Presbyterian Church of Mineola, present, 182 First Street, Mineola, NY 11501Well, the reason for that was: In the Mineola church [where Bob was pastor, 1983–1991], on the edge of, you know, Nassau County in New York on Long Island, we had a church that three or four Korean people came to me one day and said, “Would it be possible for you to let us use your church after you’re done? We’ll come in at, say, one o’clock.” So I got the session’s permission. Not everybody was excited about it. Ach, prejudice. Terrible. Anyway, we agreed to it. Well that group grew from four or five people to a larger group than my . . . church.

[Virginia] English-speaking.

[Bob] English-speaking church. I got very close to them. I taught the Korean young people Sunday school because they needed. . . . These kids were so acclimated to the United States they couldn’t speak Korean. So I said, “Well, I’ll teach them.” That was kind of fun.

This young woman was at Stony Brook University out on the Island and I got to be kind of close to the family. Her brother was in my youth group along with all the rest of them.

[Polly] Well, both brothers.

[Bob] Both brothers, yeah.

Her father was taken down to Philadelphia because he was quite sickly. They didn’t know what was wrong with him. He died down there of cancer. He was just full of cancer and they didn’t know what the trouble was. So I had part of the funeral and all of the rest of it. A few weeks later, a month later, she came to me in the hallway one Sunday morning. She said, “You know my daddy’s dead. Will you be my daddy?”

[Polly] Yeah.

[Bob] So that was the beginning. We’ve been very close. She still is—I was just down last week to see her.

[Polly] Mn-hmm. With Andrew.

[Bob] With Andrew. She’s very generous. She married a guy who became a pharmacist. She’s just very generous with her gifts and all the rest of it. She was raised in a home where she couldn’t talk to her father. She told me more about that while we were there.

[Virginia] Because of the language barrier or because. . . .

[Bob] No. No. Because he was very austere.

[Polly] He just wasn’t, he just wasn’t. . . .

[Bob] Very distant and austere.

[Polly] And even her mother—if I might just interject—

[Bob] No you can’t.

[Polly] Ha! Well, anyway. Since when did I ask permission?

But because her mom was still alive. I have to admit I kind of dragged my feet about this a little bit. I was happy. I really liked JiYoung a lot. I was actually closer—her sister died very young of cancer. Her sister was older than she is. And I had gotten to know JiYan [sp?], she was. . . .

Grandma Duncan was part of this family. They just dearly, dearly loved Grandma Duncan. They really were very respectful, as you would imagine an Asian of age would be anyway. They would always approach Grandma—I’m diverting for a moment, but I know this is important. They were wonderful to her. They would just always, always, all the Koreans would come and greet Grandma first, and then the pastor, and then me. That was just the way it was, which was very, very special.

Anyway, you know, I knew the family. Really didn’t get to know JiYoung very well. Because we had such a good family I said, “Oh, are we going to embrace another family member?” And yet, I wasn’t really mean about it, but I have to admit. . . . And the other fact was, yes, she had lost her dad and I knew her dad, too, a little bit, JiYoung’s dad, but I also knew her mom and felt I didn’t want to usurp that.

[Bob] Intrude.

[Polly] Though she is not close to her mother. She loves her mother and everything, but they’re not really, really close.

[Bob] They’re not buddies at all.

[Polly] She has confided in me, as the years have gone on—and I’m very, very fond of her; I consider her now my daughter—but it took a while for me personally until the relationship, umm. I’m always trying to be careful when Grandpa, when Uncle Bob explains this, I don’t want him to come across as a sugar daddy or something like that, you know. Whatever that means. He did become a confidante daddy to her that was very, very needful for her at the time, you know. I realize that more so now as the years have gone on. I’ve gotten close to her. She’s shared a lot with me, too.

[Virginia] What’s the age difference between Colin and I’m guessing she’s younger?

[Polly] JiYoung is what 32 or 33 maybe now?

[Bob] She’s closer to Colin in age.

[Polly] Yeah. Colin’s 39, so maybe she’s 36 or 37.

[Bob] Yeah. Oh, it’s terrible. I don’t remember her age.

[Polly] You’re bad.

[Bob] I’ll have to find out.

[Polly] And I’m bad, too. But anyway, yeah, we’re fairly close.

redacted transcription of a story told by Bob and Polly (his wife) to Virginia (Lee’s daughter) and Lee and Ken (Lee’s second husband) during a visit to California in January 2004

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • What is JiYoung’s sister’s name, the one who died of cancer?
  • What year did JiYoung’s father die?

What’s the Name on Your Driver’s License and How Did You Get It

[Bob] Polly and I took drivers exams. We both went in together. I went and passed it in. She was there half an hour longer than I was and then I got a better mark than she did.

[Polly] Well, I almost didn’t pass it. I mean you could only fail three questions. And I’d been driving all these years.

[Lee] We could fail six.

[Ken] I got exactly the limit and I passed, but. . . .

[Polly] That’s what I did, too, Ken. And I’m thinking this is terrible! But my problem—I don’t know whether this is yours—but my problem at that time anyway was they were sort of trick questions. At least I was wondering if they were trick questions. And so how do you deal with them?

[Bob] Well, the first one was: “Male or female?” She couldn’t figure that one out.

[Polly] Oh, shush.

[Bob] That was a trick question.

[Polly] After that it was all done. Oh, he’s so bad. I’m not going to go home with you.

[Bob] Well, it’s like—we had a friend that worked in Children’s Hospital in Pittsburg and she was telling us the names of the kids. One of them was named. You know, they had “male” and “female.” And she pushed “yes” and then they wanted to know the name and she said, “Well, Femalé.” And so she called her child Femalé because she didn’t understand what “female” was. “Cigar Butts.” “Case of Beer.” Unbelievable names.

[Ken] Actual names?

[Bob] Actual names.

[Ken] Who did that?

[Bob] The parents of children just born in the hospital at Pittsburg.

[Ken] At Pittsburg?

[Bob] Yeah. Children’s.

[Lee] Sort of poor people, I suppose.

[Bob] Poor people.

[Polly] They really weren’t probably able to read.

[Bob] No, they didn’t understand.

[Polly] They picked names that. . . .

[Bob] Well, look at all the names; we never saw these names before.

[Ken] I had a lot of imagination. I did most of the naming for some reason. Ruth [?] was not very good with it. I had “John” and “James.”

[Bob] Oh, that was creative! Very creative!

[Polly] Really imaginative!

[Bob] Well, in our case, Polly and I had an agreement: I would name the boys and she would name the girls. And so we got to three boys. Then we got this Korean daughter and in their culture the paternal grandfather names the child. They had three girls, so I got to name three boys and three girls. Wasn’t that pretty good, huh?

One of them, we were going to name her “Joy,” but she said, “Oh, Daddy, you can’t name her ‘Joy.’ You’ve forgotten my last name,” which is Jo: J-O. And she said, “We couldn’t have a girl named Joy Jo.”

partial transcription of a conversation between Bob and Polly (his wife), Virginia (Lee’s daughter), and Lee and Ken (Lee’s second husband) during a visit to California in January 2004, courtesy of Virginia Gorman (Lee’s daughter)

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • What was Ken’s first wife’s name? I think I heard “Ruth,” but I’m unclear.
  • When was JiYoung’s not-Joy daughter born?

Bob Ruins the Story of Christmas

Bob and Polly in Morocco[Lee] You know your illustration about not turning you down in the Mideast. That was in Translation Principles [perhaps Bible Translation] or something. They said it was very hard when people are working in languages there to translate that Joseph came and they turned him down at the inn because they would never turn down a pregnant woman.

[Bob] I have a whole other theory on that. It was taught by Ken Bailey [cf. Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes]. He said he didn’t go to an inn. That’s the only place that that word is used as an “inn.” What it really means is the guest room in a house. All it means is that there was no room in the guest room because others were there to sign up, so he slept with the family. There wasn’t even a stables because none of that makes any sense. He said, “Was Joseph so ill-received in his own home?” That was his native home. Would they have turned him away? He said, “Never would they have done that.” So the principle is the same, but the whole business of the stable and the inn and all of that just doesn’t make any sense.

[Lee] But we heard, isn’t it a cave that they [ ]?

[Bob] Well, that’s what they say, but all of this, all of this. . . .

[Virginia] You guys are blowing my mind.

[Bob] I know. Polly doesn’t like this.

[Polly] I’m going to the flea market. I don’t want to hear this.

[Bob] The idea of the house was that every house had stables in it. I mean they brought their animals into the house and there were these little mangers—like, umm, oh about yeah big—cut into something. And the animals were down there and you went up three or four stairs onto a level, onto a plank, and that’s where you slept. You slept with the animals, so in that’s sense it’s right. But that whole story was written in 200 AD [sic]. I mean the depiction of coming down in winter and all the rest, it just, it isn’t right. It’s just something we bought hook, line and sinker, and I try not—not after Polly made such a fuss about—I have a video on it.

[Virginia] Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You’re breaking my . . . the foundation of my. . . .

[Polly] Wait a minute. You’re taking my story away. I have my whole scene.

[Bob] But it’s all based on total hospitality. And this is Ken Bailey, who was raised as a missionary kid over there and then taught at the University of Jerusalem in a Bible setting over there. So he knows the culture.

[Polly] Interestingly enough—and I still don’t like it, but anyway—I heard on a . . . I forget who the preacher was on the radio, just recently, I mean within the last couple weeks. He was speaking in the same way, but he was referring to Ken Bailey.

[Bob] Yeah. Yeah. Well that’s . . . he’s the only one. I have a video on this. He’s a terrible, boring speaker. He’s sitting at a desk, you know. But the point is very well taken, I think. But there’s only so many . . . it’s not the kind of issue. . . .

[Ken] [ ] put on the camera [ ]

[Bob] It isn’t. It isn’t the cattle are lowing and the poor baby sleeps. Well, that could be.

[Lee] You know, we ought to leave so they can [ ].

[Polly] Right.

transcription of a conversation between Bob, Polly (his wife), Virginia (Lee’s daughter), Lee, and Ken (Lee’s second husband) during a visit to California in January 2004

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • Did Bob and Polly take more than one trip to the Middle East?
  • Lee mentions a resource call Translation Principles. Was that a book? I’ve listed the modern SIL book, but who wrote the one Lee used? What was the full title?
  • Anybody else have a story of Uncle Bob’s “research” messing with your idea of Scripture?

What’s That Port City of Morocco?

[Bob] We took a train from Paris to Gibraltar [in August 1981]. We were going over to Morocco to see friends. And about the border of France, it was nighttime. It was very interesting though. I was sitting in this train and all of a sudden the car went straight up in the air.

[Polly] And you could feel it.

[Bob] And you could feel it. And I said, I know what they’re doing. They’re changing the wheels for a different gauge railroad between France and Spain. So they put it down eventually. And then we got into Spain. Boooring. Boring!

[Polly] It was so boring. And then we came to one of the cities.

[Bob] Madrid.

[Polly] Madrid.

[Bob] Oh, boy. Here’s a city I can look at. It went right under a tunnel the whole time we were there.

[Polly] We thought we were going to see something. Didn’t they know we haven’t seen Spain?

plain in Spain[Bob] It was just like Arizona. It would be like going on that railroad in Australia. It goes a thousand miles and doesn’t curve. For a thousand miles it goes as straight as [ ].

[Bob] I thought I’d never see anything and then we got to Algeciras.

[Polly] Which is the closest city near where the Rock of Gibraltar and the Straits of Gibraltar are. Anyway that’s where the big rock is. Or across from there. And we had to cross by ferry. You know, when we go, we don’t really know what we’re doing. We don’t know the language. But we go anyway. Especially with Uncle Bob. “Honey, it’ll all be taken care of!” And I’m, “Mmmmm, how are we going to do this? Where are we going?”

Abdul, Nadia, Houda, Nouza Filali-Ansary Family, Quincy, 1980[Polly] We were planning to meet and go over that route and go to Morocco. That was our plan. We had met this couple—and they had two little girls—as an exchange student in Boston. They were studying, or he was, at Boston University, many, many years ago [1980]. They kept saying, “Why don’t you come and visit us when we go back home to Morocco?” We were host family to them and took them a lot of places. And really, though they were Muslim, they would come to church quite regularly and everything. It was the music. They loved the music.

[Bob] They even said it was just like being in the mosque. And I said it couldn’t; it couldn’t. I could have choked him.

[Polly] That wasn’t such a nice thing, but I think he was trying to be. . . .

[Bob] Yeah. Trying to be cordial and all that.

[Polly] But anyway, by the Lord’s providence and so on, we were given a gift at our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary time [Aug 25, 1981] and we were able to go. We did go to Europe with the Gordon College Alumni Tour. And then we took off on our own. That’s why we were in Paris heading for [ ].

Ferry between Algeciras, Spain and Tangier, Morocco[Polly] Well we got—jump ahead now to Algeciras—and we really knew we were planning, when we got on the ferry, somehow we would be met by our friends on the other end, Abdul and Nouza in Morocco. But the ferry, it was so confusing: they would give you a ticket in the best English they knew how to communicate with us with no Arabic. Anyway, we were given the wrong tickets. This couple who knew some English. They were actually a French couple, but knew a little bit of English. No, a Moroccan couple, that was. We met a French couple, too, but that was. . . . Anyway, they were able. They said, “Oh, this won’t get you where you want to go.” So they helped us.

[Bob] Exchange the tickets.

[Polly] In that part of the world—and we may have this happen somewhat here and you probably have had it in your travels—but over there if you are given a number, a gate number where you were going to go out of, where the ferry was going to go out of, and all of the sudden they changed it. Well everybody—and I’m not kidding—everybody just jumps over you like a herd of cattle. And you’re going to head for the next one, but it doesn’t matter whether your luggage is there or you’re there. And so everybody—and literally that’s what happened to us—so we’re kind of swept along by this crowd, not knowing. . . . And this couple, young couple really helped us. They were wonderful.

[Polly] So we got on the ferry OK and had to show our passport at least seven times. But, you know, this was just part of that world. Got to, what was the port of Morocco that we came to? Not Casablanca. Oh, isn’t that awful. Not, no Al Jazeera’s the news.

[Bob] No. It’s very well-known. When you think of Morocco, you think of the city. Besides Casablanca.

[Polly] It’ll come.

[Bob] It’ll come.

[Polly] It’ll come. That’s all right. One of those senior moments?

[Polly] And anyway, we got there. This couple guided us. Well, we never met the couple we were supposed to meet.

[Bob] They weren’t allowed on the pier.

[Polly] And so, as a result, we ended up eventually, without, I’ll cut through a lot of the details. We stayed overnight in a motel. They helped us get us. . . .

[Bob] Not a motel, Honey. Remember the fellow we met? He heard us speaking English. He was, he had worked in the United States.

[Polly] No, no, no. This was. That’s when we got on the bus. This was not. . . . In the port city where we landed, we stayed in. . . .

[Bob] Stayed in his house.

[Polly] Later, Honey, in Rabat. Remember? When we took the bus ride? But this was the first thing.

[Bob] I know. Hotel. Small hotel.

[Polly] Small hotel. Anyway, and then we said, if we couldn’t find our friends, we would make our way back to Paris, then to Belgium and home. That’s where our tickets were, tickets for Belgium. And this couple said, you know in Eastern, or Mid-Eastern—whatever—hospitality, you do everything you can.

[Bob] You can’t do that. That would be a great insult.

[Polly] That would be an insult . . .

[Bob] . . . to go home . . .

[Polly] . . . to them.

[Virginia] To not try to find them?

[Bob] Not to try to find the couple that weren’t there at the port.

[Polly] The host family.

[Bob] Tangier!

[Polly] Tangier!

[Bob] You wait long enough, it comes to you.

[Polly] Yeah. And so they really impressed upon us that it would be almost our duty, I guess at that point, to take a bus to Rabat, which is the capital city, where the friends lived.

[Bob] And then look them up there.

[Polly] We did.

[Bob] That’s what we did. Yup.

[Polly] We found them eventually. They found, we found them.

[Bob] We found them.

[Polly] Amazing. Amazing.

[Bob] On the bus, we were talking, speaking obviously in English. It’s our best language.

[Lee] Your mother’s tongue.

[Bob] My mother’s tongue, yes. And a fellow from behind us came up, a young fellow. He’d been working in the United States and he was going home.

[Polly] Actually, he’d been studying in San Francisco.

[Bob] Yeah, San Francisco.

[Polly] Aziz was his name.

[Bob] So we said, “We don’t know where we are going. We don’t know how to find our folks.”

[Polly] “We don’t know what we’re doing.”

[Bob] And he said, “Oh don’t worry about that. There’s plenty of room in my house.” But then we got to his house and he couldn’t get it. It was all locked up. So he tried going up the gutter outside and then that collapsed on him. Anyway, his mother finally came home. And he was like the prodigal son back home again and they were all dancing. We were dancing. We slept in the mother’s bed.

[Polly] They insisted we stay overnight with them. Interestingly enough—you know the Lord does provide even when we were so ignorant we didn’t know what we were doing—but this family knew the name of our eventual hosts that we were trying to get to and were known by this other family that we had just stumbled across.

[Bob] They knew a sister or something and so they called the sister and the sister called the family.

Nouza, Houda, Abdul Filali-Ansary[Polly] And she actually drove us to the home of our eventual host family. Then we spent a bunch of maybe four or five days, but by the time we got to them it was more than half in.

[Bob] And they told us all the things we had missed that they had planned to do when they met us at the port.

[Virginia] What happened with that? They just weren’t able to get in.

Bob and Abdul[Bob] They weren’t able to get on. We drove right by them. They were sitting in the car but we didn’t know it. You see what happens there, an awful lot of Moroccans go to Europe and work. And then they have a month off, like they do in France. They go back home. Then they have to go back again. And there was a two- or three-day wait, sitting in the cars to get on the ferry. You know, it’s first come first served kind of thing. But they were in all that crowd. It was terrible, terrible. No restroom facilities. I mean it was just awful.

[Polly] Eating in the streets.

[Bob] Yup. Yup. Eating. Eating anything they could eat. That was the part that was very interesting. But then we got in the house. Now he had been working for the government for over a year, but couldn’t get a telephone. He says, “We have the wires out there in the yard, but they wouldn’t hitch them up.”

[Polly] And we tried and tried and tried, that was the other thing.

[Bob] Call them from all over Europe.

[Polly] But there was never an answer. We had a phone number, but never an answer because the phone wasn’t hooked up.

[Bob] Once we got there, we had a good time, except Polly got desperately ill. Sick-sick-sick-sick-sick.

[Virginia] Was it from the food?

[Bob] Yeah.

[Polly] Yeah. And I ate everything. I mean I tried to eat everything, which was probably not a good idea.

[Bob] We’d be eating at an outdoor restaurant and cats would run out over your feet. I mean up on the tables.

[Polly] They’d be up on the tables.

[Virginia] Oh no.

[Bob] I got sick, just for part of a day, but she got really, really sick.

full transcription of a story told by Bob and Polly (his wife) to Virginia (Lee’s daughter) and Lee and Ken (Lee’s second husband) during a visit to California in January 2004

Can you add to the story? Please do. Write in the box below (You may need to click “Leave a Reply” above to make the box, name, and address fields appear.).

  • Do you remember the month and/or year that Polly and Bob visited Morocco in this story?
  • Do you recall other events from this trip?
  • I recall Bob telling a story about being unable to find his and Polly’s way back to the ferry after visitting Morocco. They were sick, or one of them was, and a woman beckoned them to follow her and led them to the ferry. Does anyone else recall this story? Can you retell it for us? Was it on the same trip or another one?