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Across the pond with Rex Wailes: Boston

Part 5 of a weekly series of blogs about Rex Wailes’ 1929 trip to the USA and Canada.

Poster Image

Boston, 1920s

Tuesday 7.5.29. Y.M.C.A. Boston.

I’ve made a new friend a man of 60 years of age – Hector Waylen of Oxford. I can’t describe him as anything else but a “Symbolist”. He studies the Bible and its symbolism of numbers and letters, and he talked a lot about the name Yaweh, for instance. He was brought up a Baptist and seems to have thoroughly investigated all variations of religion, including Bhuddism, Theosophy, Christian Science, Spiritualism, and most branches of the Protestant Church. He discussed the Unitarians, Quakers, and the followers of Swedenborg, and as far as I can make out his position is a sympathy with the latter, but with modifications. I had a very interesting talk with him about the Great Pyramid and its meaning. According to his interpretation the year 1966 is a significant one in the history of the human race and marks the entrance of a new spirit among humanity. I say we had a talk, but he does the talking and doesn’t care much about listening.

We had breakfast at 7 a.m. to-day, and halfway through had to get up and file through to the reading room before a medical officer who scarcely looked at us. It was a vile morning, a heavy Scotch mist. When we were allowed ashore Waylen and I were the first. At the emigration shed much consternation was caused because my return ticket was packed. When I was through with that a woman siezed me and led me to the customs asking me all my business and where I was going to stop. I scarcely had a chance to say anything, but when I murmured something about going with Waylen to the Y.M.C.A she stopped her questions, and having seen to my “grips” said “I’m a social worker and we try to help young men and girls on their own, God be with you” Gave me a sort of minature text card with the 101st Psalm on the back, and highly scented and made off.

The customs jibbed at my many films but passed me. Waylen was in tow with a Salvation Army man. He took us to the Yellow Cab rank and saw us into it. A cab inspector looked at our four grips and said very firmly “that will be 2 Dollars 50 c”. and the meter flag was not lowered. I should mention that apparently luggage and extra passengers are not extras on the meter. It was a long drive, but I ‘m sure we were stuck for at least 1 dollar.

I’ve got a room on the 3rd floor next to the “shower”. Very plain but clean. Just a bed, writing table, chest of drawers, arm chair and built in cupboard.

YMCA, Huntingdon Avenue, Boston