said, ‘Madrid has three months of winter and nine months of hell’.” Dr. Bostwick didn’t care much for Spain but he was impressed with the country’s cathedrals and art. “This country is all right for sight-seeing but as a country to live in it is abominable.” He did enjoy a trip to Toledo, as he wrote to his family: “Since I left you in New York I have certainly seen more than it is possible for me to describe. I went Saturday with an American an Englishman and a Spaniard, who speaks English very well, to Toledo one of the greatest historic cities in the world. I was in a cathedral there, the magnificence of which I never knew existed. The paintings, statuary etc., are beyond description. On an image of the Virgin Mary they have more than enough jewels to buy the national debt of Spain and there is another altar made of solid gold. “It is certainly wonderful how advanced in art they are and how far behind in other things. Would you believe me if I should tell you that there are more forked sticks used as ploughs than there are of the crudest kind of the modern agricultural implements.” The young dentist was not pleased with Spanish rites of courtship either. “The girls are behind barred windows as all the windows are that way here especially those on the first floors or on the balcony of the second floor. They talk to their lovers who stand below and on Sundays they practically spend all day talking at long range. Well excuse
GIBRALTAR MAGAZINE • MARCH 2014
me from that kind of courting. I shall stay single first.” Dr. Bostwick also noted that King Alfonso was not popular. “The King was not well liked,” said Bostwick, “and the people for years knew that Royalty cared nothing for them. Alfonso is a good king but it would not surprise me to hear at any time of him being killed.” Maybe it was the threat of assassination or maybe it was the heat but Dr. Bostwick decided he would rather live and work in Gibraltar. He married an American woman named May and they raised a family on the Rock where they lived for 37 years. During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) Dr. Bostwick reported to newspapers back home. The articles show that he sided with the Nationalists: “A picture of horror almost impossible to realize is drawn by Dr. Bostwick, who described
They talk to their lovers who stand below and on Sundays they practically spend all day talking at long range
friends shot for trifles, blinded and left to suffer, children suspended on butcher’s meat hooks, women ravished before the eyes of their loved ones... untold thousands of educators, statesmen, industrialists and professional men fled the country just before the uprising because of the grotesque conditions wrought by the fanatic Red leaders... blames government forces or ‘Reds’ for the atrocities in his letter and declares that all those who have friends in Spain tremble should the government forces ultimately be victorious.” Dr. Bostwick stayed on at Gibraltar when World War II broke out but by 1941 most of the civilians had been evacuated and he returned to live in America. Upon his arrival back in Coshocton he told the press: “I don’t think they can ever take Gib. When I left Gibraltar the British had supplies enough for a three-year siege stored in the fort. They have a hospital, an underground water works and a distillation plant.” In his final years Dr. Bostwick became a popular speaker; at a dinner about child behaviour he opined: “It is wise to punish children, but not corporally. I know a dentist in Gibraltar who got out a birch rod to punish his little son with one day. The boy, looking at the rod, said piteously: Papa, would you mind giving me gas first.” Dr. Bostwick died in 1948 aged 69. Alfonso XIII, who had fled Spain in 1931, died in 1941 aged 54, while the Sultan passed on in 1943 aged 65. n
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