June 15 – It was 68 years ago that I reached Cape Town, South Africa, after being aboard the African Crescent out of New York for 32 days. At last I was in Africa, something I had dreamed about for a long time. I wondered what the next few years will bring to me, never dreaming that I would meet my future husband and be married in three years!
That first morning about 9 am, once packing was done, I went out on deck to see the sight so many people have described — Table Mountain. A mist or cloud or cloud combination often settles on top, and it wasn’t hard to see why people here call it the “tablecloth.”
I used the binoculars up on the bridge and long before we docked, I could pick out the cable car that runs to the top of the mountain, and the light stucco houses with brilliant red tile roofs, nested together against the side of the hill. Cape Town is a beautiful city to see from the harbor, with the sparkling green-blue water lapping at its front door.
While we lay at anchor waiting to get into the harbor, the immigration officer and health inspector came aboard. Dressed in their dark-blue uniforms with gold braid and white caps, the officers of the Crescent seemed quite different from the men who wore only khaki on the long trip across the Atlantic.
As we came into the dock we began to guess which of the people gathered there would be there to pick me up. I had told the other passengers that some of our church people would be there to meet me, but I didn’t know their names or what they looked like. Several people were pointed out, but I said, “No, they’re not the ones.” Finally I saw a man and his wife and two children, so I connected them as a family, standing off at one side but glancing at me from time to time. “Now they’re the ones,” I said. “They look just like church people!” And so they were.
After my baggage had been cleared through customs and I was allowed to leave the ship, I found that they were Pastor and Mrs. George Adams from the Southern Rhodesia Mission Field with their two children, Bryant and Judy. Pastor Adams, the president of the field, and his wife are graduates of Atlantic Union College, as I was, so we had something in common right off the bat.
Pastor Webster of the South African Division staff had appeared by this time, and drove me to the division office in Claremont several miles out of Cape Town proper.
How I dodged every time I saw a car coming toward me on the wrong side of the street! I wanted to take the wheel several times when Pastor Webster just wouldn’t drive on the “right side” of the road, but persisted in staying on the left! And that’s how I at last ended up on the African continent, all ready to begin a new chapter in my teaching career. – CHRIS