December 6th, 2007

road tripping in 1969 and money

I have two characters on a road trip from New York to San Francisco during December 1 1969-Feb. 8 1970.  First question is, would $700 be enough to cover their expenses?  It works out to about $10 a day.   (Food, occasional motel room, pitching in for gas as they thumb their way.)  I'm finding what bread and milk cost back then, but nothing along the lines of a motel room, if they wanted to splurge.

Second question:  how long did international money transfers take in that time period in a major city?  (Namely, Pittsburgh.)  The one character has a little nest egg built up in England, which is funding the excursion.

ETA: I found this page: http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1960s.html But traveling always costs more. (Food and gas are almost always more expensive along major highways, same with lodging.)

New Year's Eve and Boarders in 1880s Boston

A middle-class Boston family is celebrating New Year's Eve in the early 1880s. I get the impression that they would have some kind of family get-together, but haven't been able to find anything very specific. I'm fine with making it up, but is there anything they would absolutely do that I should know about? Would they stay up until midnight (the youngest of their relatively small extended family are two teenage girls, so this wouldn't be a huge problem)?

Also, the family in whose townhouse they are gathering has taken a boarder. He's a young middle-class man starting out in the city. I read up on boarding, but I still don't know much about how he and the family would interact, particularly with a teenage daughter. She's being raised by her fairly lax father, who is not too paranoid about the presence of a young man in their household. Nevertheless, how much social distance would be expected of them? They get along well; would they call each other by their first names? (I'm assuming no, but I thought I'd check!)

Searches: "new year united states nineteenth century," "boarding united states nineteenth century," and variations therein.

Edit: Thanks for the responses so far! To specify, I'm interested in situations where families who needed some extra cash were taking in a boarder or two, not an actual boarding house, which of course has a different dynamic.

Police communications

A chapter I'm writing has a present-day police officer (in a Buffalo suburb) responding to a call about a teen who is brandishing a knife in public. When she arrives, the teen is holding a girl with the knife to her throat.

What would the initial call the officer hears on the police radio be? How would that officer respond to that initial call if they were already near the scene? How would the officer then report the change in situation over the radio? I'd like it to sound real, but as a pastor I usually deal with people on the other side of the law.

I've googled "police radio" and came up with this site on the Ten (10) Code and Police Radio Codes, but how would that radio conversation sound?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Shipping from France to America

OK, so I'm writing a story set in the modern world. It's fantasy, so I don't have to stick rigidly to fact, but I'd like there to be some accuracy. Anyway, there are four characters trying to get from Europe (France) to America, and since flight isn't an option for these guys, they have to go by sea. My question is:

Do cargo ships leaving from Le Havre go across the Atlantic to the United States? I mean the really huge ones - it needs to be big enough for the characters to sneak on relatively unnoticed. If not, would a different port (like Saint-Nazaire) be better?

I wikied 'Le Havre', 'Saint-Nazaire' and 'Sea transport', but nothing was really specific enough. Googling 'France to America shipping' and variations thereof was similarly unhelpful.

Edit: OK, thanks - I've got what I wanted, though I'm going to have to think a bit harder about the immigration side of things. Nothing's set in stone yet.

Russian nicknames, patronymics and surnames

I have several questions concerning Russian names.

1.) From what I've read about patronymics, Christian names like "Ivan" become patronymics like Ivanov/Ivanova.

What would a non-Christian name like Rosco become as a patronymic? Would it be Roscov/Roscova? Something else like Roscovich/Roscovena? Or something else entirely? Does it even matter?

2.) In my story, which is set in the present day, a foreign-born man marries into a wealthy and prominent Russian family and he and his wife want their kids to reap all the benefits of being associated with her prominent family.

Is it at all plausible that the children could be given the mother's surname as well as the father's? (So the kid's name would be Mikhail Kuznetsov-Smith, for example. Smith being his last name and Kuznetsov being hers.) I'm not sure how common the hyphen names are outside of the U.S.

Moreover, if that is plausible, what spelling would be used if the child were a boy? Would it be Kuznetsova, like his mother? Or Kuznetsov, like his mother's father and his maternal uncles? (And if the child were a girl, again, what would it be?)

3.) 'Serdtse moie' - Does this translate into "my heart"? And, how would I change this if it's being spoken from a woman to a man. (A wife to her husband, to be specific.)

'Golubushka' - In some places I've seen this translated as "little dove" in others, "darling". Which is it? Would I need to change it to use it as an endearment used by a mother to her daughter?

Thanks for any input!
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