My Wonderful Year

Zatella R. Turner
My Wonderful Year
By Zatella R. Turner

The Christopher Publishing House Boston, U.S.A.

I do not pretend that this book is authentically informing. It is a record
of the impressions made upon me during my year abroad, a year that I
can truthfully call the most wonderful year of my life. This book is
intended to be entertaining for the person who has no intention of ever
going abroad, but who is interested in the people and customs of other
countries. An authentic guide book is recommended for those persons
who wish authoritative information. Many thanks are due my dear
friends Carolyn S. Blanton, who is my ideal of the true spirit of the
sisterhood of Alpha Kappa Alpha, and Dorothea A. Jermany for her
helpful criticism in the preparation of this manuscript.

'Tis fine to see the Old World, and travel up and down
Among the famous palaces and cities of renown,
To admire the crumbly castles and the statues of the kings,
But now I think I've had enough of antiquated things.
So it's home again, and home again, America for me!
My heart is turning home again, and there I long to be,
In the land of youth and freedom beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.
Oh, London is a man's town, there's power in the air;
And Paris is a woman's town, with flowers in her hair;
And it's sweet to dream in Venice, and it's great to study Rome;
But when it comes to living there is no place like home.
I like the German fir-woods, in green battalions drilled;
I like the gardens of Versailles with flashing fountains filled;
But, oh, to take your hand, my dear, and ramble for a day
In the friendly western woodland where Nature has her way!
I know that Europe's wonderful, yet something seems to lack:
The past is too much with her, and the people looking back.
But the glory of the Present is to make the Future free,

We love our land for what she is and what she is, to be.
Oh, it's .home again, and home again, America for rne!
I want a ship that's westward bound to plough the rolling sea,
To the blessed Land of Room Enough beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.
--Henry Van Dyke
Courtesy of Charles Scribner's Sons

It is over a century since Mrs. Trollope widened knowledge of the
world and exercised the privilege of sharp criticism with her The
Domestic Manners of the Americans; and it is just under a century
since Dickens followed her severely with his American Notes. Since
then the Atlantic has been crossed many times, from east to west and
then from west to east, with issues of transatlantic comment and
criticism. Peoples nearly related are usually frankest in expression, and
the very closeness and likeness of the two English-speaking nations has
inspired in them a desire to write about each other with a candour of
remark. Sometimes the books have been acid in criticism, sometimes
almost fulsome in praise ; sometimes the writers have been most
intelligent in observation and sometimes quite lacking in understanding,
and showing more malice or jealousy than accuracy.
Taking them altogether, one finds them almost a literature. At least
they have carried on the longknown literature of travel, with the
addition of social criticism and racial comparisons. Someone might
with profit or at least with interest trace the fluctuations of opinion and
of intelligence, through these years of international visiting and
recording the results of visits. In this time international travelers have
improved as travelers.

One need only read Frances Trollope to see what kind of improvement
was necessary. One still, to be sure, may meet the tourist who considers
everything unpleasant which does not correspond to what he possesses
at home and condemns it. The American of a type is annoyed because
he does not find the United States in England; and the Englishman is
sometimes disapproving when he discovers that the States have
gradually grown away from Old World needs and customs.
But such commentators, even oral commentators, are fewer than they
were in other times. At least we know many books on our own country,
written with such urbanity and graciousness that we feel more pleased
both with ourselves and with our British visitors when we read them.
For no pen can compass urbanity and grace better than a British one
can. It is gratifying
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