Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cruising – Shriners Style

As I’ve written about in previous posts, my grandparents, Sig and Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy loved to cruise on the SS Lurline to Hawaii.  You can read my recent post HERE.  I’ve now found many photos and dinner menus from their adventures and it has helped me piece together information about their cruises.

I think the cruise they took in 1949 was with the Shriners.  What makes me think this?  How about these photos?

Jesse and Betty Newton Sig Levy Loraine Gunzendorfer 1949

The back of the photo tells me that this lovely couple is Jesse and Betty Newton.  Looks to me like they might just be arriving in Honolulu – I remember when visitors were greeted with leis at the airport or as they left the ship.  I can almost smell them from this photo!  While I have things from several different visits, I’ve learned that Jesse passed away in 1953 so this photo is, most likely, from their 1949 cruise.  Jesse and Betty on the left, Sig and Loraine on the right.

From the website I learned about the formation of this new organization in Fresno.
At its annual meeting in Atlantic City on June 10, 1948,  the Imperial Council,  Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine granted dispensation to the Fresno Shrine Club to activate and organize a Shrine Temple. A year later, a Shrine Temple was situated in Fresno. It was given the name Tehran which was an appropriate choice as it generally interpreted as “a warm place at the foot of a mountain.”
Maybe this cruise was celebrating the formation of the new club?

And some other photos of the Shriners.

Tehran Shriners

The best thing about Sig and Loraine being short is that they were almost always in the front!

Here they are peeking out from behind the ferns.

Group Dinner

Wonder where Sig was hiding for this photo?

Tehran Group

All dressed up for dinner.  I love how the men were all wearing tuxes!

Shriners Dinner

This must have been another night when Sig left his hat in the room.  I love how elegant they look.

Sig Levy Loraine Gunzendorfer

I think their destination might have been The Royal Hawaiian Hotel.  I know my grandparents always stayed there when they visited and since these photos were in with the rest, I’m guessing that was the destination for the Shriners.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel

And from the restaurant on the patio.  What a different time it was then – now people would be dressed in their swim suits and looking at their phones instead of enjoying the beautiful view.

Royal Hawaiian Patio

Now this menu is from a different trip but I thought it would be fun to include another menu to see if the food choices were more in line with something I’d like to eat.  I’m happy to say that’s the case.

What a beautiful cover!  Can you imagine having this souvenir at your table every night?

Menu Front

This particular dinner in 1958 was Hawaiian Night Dinner and the menu looks pretty good.


I was particularly interested in the wine list as we love to collect (and drink) wine.  I don’t remember my grandparents drinking wine but, of course, they’ve been gone so long now my memory has faded.  I wonder what they selected?

Menu Wine List

Just for fun I thought it would be fun to see if the wine was available today so I looked up the 1949 Chateau D’Yquem.  The price range is from $1250 to $3500!  I sure hope they picked that one and that they enjoyed it.

Thanks for sailing along with my grandparents on the SS Lurline.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Cruising on the SS Lurline - 1949

SS Lurline – April, 1949

A few years ago I wrote about how my grandparents, Sig and Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy, loved to cruise.  You can read about it HERE.  At the time I knew they had cruised on the SS Lurline during the 1950’s based on Passenger Lists I’d found but I hadn’t run across any photos or anything to tell me much more about those cruises.  Until today.

A few months ago my husband rescued a box of “stuff” from the garage and brought it inside so I could go through it.  There were quite a few scrapbooks (my grandfather was the king of scrapbooking) but being that they are, for the most part, history of real estate transactions in Fresno, I wasn’t too interested.  But thrown on the top (not inside the plastic box but literally thrown on the lid of the box) was a pile of things that I never got around to going through.  But today was the day.

The first thing I found was a pile of what looked to be prints of some kind.  Beautiful in their own right but even more beautiful when I opened them up and saw they were dinner menus from the SS Lurline in 1949, 1951, and 1956.  Here’s a sample.

Dinner Menu Front

What fun to read about the what was on the menu when my grandparents were sailing.

Dinner Menu 4_25_49

Now that’s some interesting selections – Broiled Fillet of Barracuda?  Turtle steak Saute?  Yes, I think that really is steak of a turtle (thank you, Google), although I’d prefer to think, instead, it was a special cut of beef steak.  I’m not too adventurous when it comes to eating so I can’t get past the thought of eating a turtle.

I picked this particular menu because of the date – Monday, April 25, 1949.  As I was going through some envelopes in the same stack I found some photos from what appears to be this trip!  And there on the back was the date April 25, 1949 “on board the Lurline bound for Honolulu”.  How ‘bout that?

Loraine 4_25_1949
Mildred Loraine (Guzendorfer) Levy
April 25, 1949, On board the Lurline bound for Honolulu

Sig 4_25_1949
Sigmund Levy
April 25, 1949, On board the Lurline bound for Honolulu

Were they dressed for dinner?  Knowing my grandparents and their love of dressing up, I’d say they were dressed for the daytime activities and then later changed for dinner.  But anyway, at least I know it was the same day.

And the next day they took a few more photos.

Loraine 4_26_1949
Loraine (Gunzendorfer) Levy – April 26, 1949

Her dress is so interesting – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything quite like it.  The 1940’s sure brought out some wonderful styles.

Sig 4_26_1949
Sigmund Levy – April 26, 1949

Not only did I find the photo above of the Lurline (I’m assuming they purchased from a professional photographer) but in with their personal photos was this photo from the deck of the Lurline.

Lurline Deck

What fun to see the deck of a cruise ship from back then – although I’ve never been on a cruise ship like that, I can’t imagine you’d have too many people lying right on the deck as they are here.

I spent a little time on Google and found an interesting short movie titled “Over the Sea to Honolulu 1940”.  It is a great way to really understand what life was like sailing across the Pacific in 1949 – I could visualize (my dad loved to say that) my grandparents on the ship.

Some fun activities on the typical cruise:
  • If passengers missed golf while they were away, they could golf from the deck and would always get a hole-in-one when their ball landed in the Pacific Ocean.
  • There was shuffleboard, swimming (see that pool above?), and even horse racing (you have to see it to believe it).
  • The 5th day at sea brought the first glimpse of Diamond Head.  Being that I know they arrived in Honolulu on April 27, 1949, I can assume this dinner menu was from their 3rd day at sea.
In the event you’re interested, the link to the movie is below.  It’s a 10 minute video with the first 3 minutes or so being specifically about the Lurline.

My grandparents sure lived an exciting life – who knew?