Monday, September 27, 2010

Grandpa Joe's passports 1926-1992

Box #2 A set of Grandpa Joe's nine passports.
The Duke of Richmond was quite the world traveller. He caught the travel bug early. The earliest passport was issued in 1926 when he was 22 years old. Upon graduation from Princeton University ( where he was runner-up for "Best Dressed Man") he and a group of friends toured Greece, Turkey, USSR, Albania, England, and Persia. There were three months spent hunting game in Kenya and tour s of Yugoslavia ( when it was called Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes), France, Italy, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

On this trip he swam the waters of the Bosporus, the narrow strait seperating European and Asiatic Turkey. Announcing his intentions to break the record of 18 minutes he dove into the water and began a strong Australian crawl while his friends rowed alongside. He quickly tired and switched to a side stroke. Soon the side stroke deteriorated into a dog paddle. By the time he reached the far shore he was exhausted. He looked up to his friend.
"Did I beat the record?"
"No, not quite."
"How much did I miss it by?"
"Fourteen minutes."
No matter. He could always say he swam from one continent to the other.

His passports are all heavily stamped ( literally marking his days in the OSS from the late 40's to early 50's) but his last passport, issued in the summer of 1991, is only stamped twice. Both times at Heathrow Airport.

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