The Tompkins family in “Better Homes & Gardens”

In 1938, “Better Homes & Gardens” magazine ran a feature on Ann’s family. Here’s the first excerpt from that article written by Doris Hudson Moss:

A better home at sea 2
Timidly I crossed the tipping gangplank to the apparently deserted ship I knocked on the hatch that to my landlubbery eyes seemed to be the “front door.”
“Come down,” a hearty voice sang out as the Bird’s master, Captain Warwick M. Tompkins, bounded up onto deck.
When I explained my consuming curiosity about the beautiful ship-home and its residents, the Skipper said, “Anyone who likes the Bird is our friend. Come down. Our son is having a birthday party.”
Child voices in the sweet strains of “Happy Birthday to You” came from below. Propelled by his buoyant enthusiasm and warmed by his sincere hospitality, I went down the iron steps to the spacious main cabin. The gay little crowd made a place for me at the long table that was aglow with candlelight and covered with paper favors, ice cream, and a lighted birthday cake – the usual precious clutter of a happy little boy’s party. Here were the children I’d heard about – bright and sweet-natured but sturdy, strong and fearless, the ways of the sea already ingrained.
“The Commodore,” Warwick, Jr., was celebrating his sixth birthday with the able assistance of his 8-year-old sister, Ann, and several friends.
Mrs. Tompkins, attractive, young, and delightful of manner, welcomed me with such charm that I felt at home immediately. A serenity hung about this girl, the Mistress of the Wander Bird, a calm decisiveness capable of adequacy in any situation. Of such type have been our American pioneering women, and it has been the delightful fortune of Texas-born, Smith College-reared Gwen Tompkins to pioneer the far horizons of the earth. I liked her on sight, and sensed that she was a lovely mother and a capable homemaker.


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