Tag Archives: The Sound of Music

Marcia Did Not Teach Burlesque in Italy

Cristoforo Colombo took Marcia, Steve, and Dawn to Italy, 1970.

Cristoforo Colombo took Marcia, Steve, and Dawn to Italy, 1970.

We did go to Italy.

I didn’t learn Italian ahead of time.

In fact we went separately. Steve flew there. He flew ahead to find a place for us to live and some work for me to do because I was going to be “putting hubby through,” so to speak. I had a trunk full of our household goods and at that time it was cheaper to go across on an ocean liner and take your trunk than it was to fly. So he flew and I came later.

I learned a little Italian on the ship. I was on the Italian lines. I met up with him in Italy there and then I took some Italian lessons when I was there. Basically we learned Italian from just living in the culture.

I remember. . . .

[Heidi]: The ship came into Venice.

No.

[Steve]: No, that was the second ship.

No, that was the second time we went back. The first time it came into . . . um.

[Steve]: No, uh, the other side of the peninsula.

[Heidi]: Florence?

[Steve]: Florence, no, um.

[Heidi]: I mean, um, Genoa.

[Steve]: Genoa.

Genoa! We came into Genoa.

[Heidi]: And then you trained across.

[Steve]: Yeah.

[Heidi]: To Padova.

Yeah. We did a lot of train travel in Padova.

[Eric]: While he was in medical school, you were working?

So then he found me a job in a Berlitz school, teaching English. So I taught English in a Berlitz school.

[Bruce]: Burlesque?

[Steve]: Burlesque?

Burlesque?

[laughter]

[Heidi]: Mom did burlesque to bring in the money.

And I learned a lot of, you know, I learned a lot of Italian teaching English, just because of the way the Italians would speak English. It helped me to learn how things were said.

[Heidi]: Twenty-six years later, I moved to Italy and lived in Venice and taught English in a Berlitz school and learned some of my Italian.

[Virginia]: Are you serious? Oh, Heidi, that’s awesome.

So after three years in Italy, he took an externship at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton. Came back for a period of six months. I came ahead. I was six months pregnant with Dawn. I came ahead and Dawn was born in the States at that hospital, Saint Elizabeth’s. He was not—were you here for the birth? You were back by the birth time. OK.

Then we went back to Italy and the second time we went back together in a ship. That’s when we went to Venice. On our way there, we stopped in various ports. So we were in Malaga, Spain. We stopped and visited Pompeii and we were in Naples and visited Pompeii.

[Steve]: We stopped in Sicily.

We did. We stopped in Sicily. And then we went up the Adriatic and stopped in Greece.

[Steve]: In Greece. We went to Greece.

We stopped at Piraeus. And then we took a day trip to Athens. And then we went over to Venice.

That gave us a chance to see a lot of places in Europe and when Dawn was baby, we traveled—when we had vacation times, we had a little VW Bug and traveled to various places, to visit places in Italy.

[Heidi]: You went to see Aunt Betty and Uncle Harley.

And we went to Austria also because we had met a couple on a ship—he was Austrian and she was American. They invited us to go to Austria to visit them at Christmastime, so we did a few things like that.

[Kimberly?]: Aunt Betty and Uncle Harley.

[Steve]: That was up in Switzerland. We had gone also, among other things, we saw where The Sound of Music was designed in Salzburg.

[Victoria]: Yeah. In Austria.

They lived in Salzburg, so they took us around to all the sites in Salzburg.

We traveled to Switzerland several times and met up with Aunt Betty and Uncle Harley there and Sandy and Debby. They would get apartments for missionaries in various places in Switzerland where we would have vacation time. So we would drive through the fog out of Italy, because it was usually very foggy at Christmastime.

Then I can remember one time when we were driving up in the mountains in Switzerland. Steve was not feeling good. Did you ask me to drive? And I was like. . . .

[Dawn]: Dad was in the back seat.

Dad, he would look out the window and see that it was a drop-off like this and he just closed his eyes and hoped we didn’t drop off.

Anyway, so we had a lot of good memories from those years. We were there for six years. Came home in 1974.

story told by Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014 with additions from Steve and Heidi (Steve’s daughter) and interjections from Virginia Gorman, Bruce Kindberg, and Eric Kindberg (Lee’s children), Dawn Harrell and Kimberly Duncan (Steve’s daughters), and Victoria (TJ Ramey, Kathryn’s son’s wife), transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’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.)

  • Any other Smith and Steve Duncan family stories from those Christmastimes spent together that you’d like to tell?
  • Would someone please tell the flaming fondue table story?
  • Can someone relay the peanut butter story? Didn’t Harley and Betty come to Italy for that story? What was the context?
  • How about going to France to help build the camp one summer story?
  • Sandy? Debby? What do you remember of those intersecting times?
  • Why would Betty have stayed behind in France at Steve’s graduation? Children? Other duties? Finances?
  • Any other stories from the ocean liners? How about the diapers-in-the-hold story from the second crossing?

Steve Wouldn’t Do a Thing, Would He?

Marcia MacGregor, Easter 1966, Engagement

Marcia MacGregor, Easter 1966, Engagement

For our home life, Christ was very much at the center. Between that and the [Newton] Presbyterian Church, which is very Evangelical in nature, I [Marcia, Steve’s wife] just considered that as such a basic foundation for me, for my own life, from the time that I can remember anything. I grew up there.

Uncle Bob was in seminary at Gordon Divinity School and was doing a practicum at the Newton Presbyterian Church. He was—at the time I was in junior high—he was our youth group . . . he wasn’t a youth pastor, but he was a youth. . . .

[Steve]: Director. Facilitator.

Youth facilitator.

I was in ninth grade [1955/6] on this one meeting evening. He invited a good friend of his at Gordon, Russ Reinhardt, who was blind, to come and give his testimony. It so happened that a man by the name of Steve Duncan, a freshman in college at the same time as Russ, was his roommate. He came along to provide Russ transportation and to help him. Marcia MacGregor was sitting in this room. In walks this college freshman with wavy brown hair, just a hunk of a guy, handsome as could be, and she thought she was born five years too late.

Fast forward eight years. Uncle Bob and I were at a Presbyterian youth camp during the summer, counseling together at that camp. He just casually said, “You know, we’d like to get you together with my brother.”

I knew that Bob had a lot of brothers. I was just trying to figure out: is this the same brother that I saw back eight years ago. I couldn’t quite figure it out.

Anyway, sure enough, we had a double date together. They showed up with Steve. There he was, this handsome man, but I have to say he didn’t know how to dress. Maybe he didn’t know how to dress. Maybe that wasn’t his fault totally because the money was not flowing. Evidently somebody had died and that person’s clothes got passed onto Steve. Anyway, I was impressed by everything else except the way he. . . .

[Stephanie?]: God was preparing him to be a missionary.

[Steve]: I’m still wearing the same clothes.

Now at the time, that year I had gone to the University of Massachusetts to do some graduate studies in German. I had studied German language as my major in college and I wanted to do graduate studies, so I was out there. I came home during Christmas break and that’s when we had this date, so I wasn’t used to living at home at all anymore. We went out and Bob and Polly—we went to see The Sound of Music all together—eventually Bob and Polly went home.

Steve took me home. We sat out, in front of my house at 46 Slade Street in Belmont for I don’t know how long, talking. I just knew that I had met the man I was going to marry. We just shared a lot of things, what our life was, what our hopes were for our lives. Both he and I felt that God was calling us to the mission field. We knew that. We shared those kinds of things. We talked about, just about everything. I mean, I was looking for a husband. He was looking for a wife. We were cutting to the chase.

Anyway, so then I don’t know what time it was in the morning at this point, but I walked into my house and there was my father. “Where, on earth, have you been?!” He had been calling Polly and Bob and worried sick.

[Steve]: Oh, boy!

[Virginia, laughing]: Did he call your cell phone?

No! There were no cell phones!

[Heidi]: Aunt Polly was like, “Oh, no, Steve wouldn’t do a thing?! Would he? Oh, they just met! It’s a blind date!”

We were outside. The car was parked right in front, on the curb, if he had looked out the window. But you know, I wasn’t used to having to think about oh, somebody’s inside waiting for me. I had lived away from home for so long. That just totally busted my bubble, you know, because I was walking on a cloud that night when I came home that night.

Anyway, Steve went to my dad and apologized. Right away, that went up, Steve went up in his mind. Then we were engaged, basically, on Easter Sunday, the following Easter Sunday. That was Christmas and we got. . . . Steve went to my dad and asked for my hand in marriage, so that really took him all the way.

My dad said to me, “You’ll go places with that guy.” That’s what he said. So we’ve been places.

story told by Marcia (Steve’s wife) to the family reunion gathering on January 10, 2014 with questions and comments from Eric Kindberg (Lee’s son), Virginia Gorman (Lee’s daughter), Steve, and Steve’s daughters Heidi and Stephanie; recorded and transcribed by Dawn Duncan Harrell (Steve’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.)

  • We have Betty’s courtship and engagement story. Anybody want to relay what you recall of the others?
  • Mom/Marcia, on which campus of the University of Massachusetts did you do your German graduate studies? Were they completed? What year was that? What was the degree?