i at least got to walk her streets once.
i doubt i’ll ever get to return. not being pessimistic. simply realistic.
i don’t have that kind of money.
my late sister~in~law chris was sent there on a special project once.
the marine was going to spend a week there just to see her
during the duration of her assignment.
i shamelessly invited myself along.
they kindly… VERY kindly allowed me to meet them there.
i arrived at gatwick. met the marine and we took the train into london.
it was my birthday as it turned out.
i had what was left of a horrendous case of bronchitis.
the flight made me totally deaf for a few hours after i landed.
small price to pay for getting to set foot in england.
i know it’s the u.k.
but to me it is forever england.
we had a two storey townhouse in mayfair.
two bedrooms and bath and kitchen and
lovely living room with extra large windows that opened onto
st james’s street.
never in a million years could i have afforded that!!!
i didn’t sleep in the guest bedroom.
i slept on the floor under one of the living room windows.
i kept it open. it was summer.
i would lie there in wonderment that i was actually THERE!
and i listened to all the people in the night . . . eating and clinking glasses
in the lovely restaurant below our townhouse. it had outdoor tables.
i would drift happily off to sleep thinking of all the happy people.
the marine and i would walk all over london during the days.
then at night i would stay ‘home’ and give the two of them time to themselves.
although one evening we took a taxi and attended
‘phantom of the opera’ at the queen’s theater.
the famous london taxi.
nothing like it.
it shines like the finest ebony.
dove grey carpet and upholstered seats.
a glass partition between the riders and the driver.
it was immaculate. inside and out.
it was like stepping into a miniature rolls royce.
the driver wore a suit and tie.
when we got in and out ~ he held the door.
a pride in his job. in his cab. in his life.
beautiful and inspiring to see.
yellow cabs of new york? are you hearing this?
what am i saying? not just in new york! ANY city cabs in america!!!
or . . . in most other cities of the world for that matter!
the marine and i visited and ate our lunch in every park in london.
we sat in the shade on beautiful benches under huge plane trees.
watched ducks in the pond . . . strolled in the park designed for king henry the eighth.
the only ‘touristy’ thing we did was visit the tower of london.
i climbed the stairs and saw where the two little princes were murdered.
when i think of london i think of the spirit of the english people.
we only ‘think’ we know about suffering and trauma. we have never known it.
well. perhaps the closest we’ve come was during our own civil war.
that was horrific. but i mean of late. in the eras of our own lifetime.
we are only lately getting a teeny tiny taste of true devastation.
i mean that kind of devastation on our own home soil.
we have been fortunate in that regard.
the english people of London
in world war two
endured valiantly and stoically and courageously . . .
consecutive days and nights. that’s 57 straight days and nights!
of BOMBS falling everywhere in their city and outlying areas.
my mind has trouble comprehending that number of no let~up.
reading that is one thing.
we’ve all heard about it. perhaps learned about it in school.
the great london blitz.
or maybe we saw some old film footage of it.
to truly realize what it’s saying . . . is something else.
almost 2 solid months
of constant bombing day and night with no respite.
that is simply unbelievable to me.
yes. the famous ‘london blitz.’
the blitz of unending terror.
the constant blasting roar of bombs. the fires everywhere and the suffocating smoke.
the stench of death.
the knowledge that no place was safe.
except maybe the subways. the overcrowded subways that served as
and yet. they carried on.
they stayed calm and they carried on.
for as far as the eye could see. devastation. death. debris.
we could take a lesson from their amazing ability to withstand
the evils set upon them.
the deadly explosions continued
all day every day
for 57 straight days. demoralizing.
but the english people did not give up.
the london blitz lasted over an entire period of 267 days.
that’s almost 37 weeks. the better half of a full year.
this resilient people rose up.
the city of london was rebuilt.
she is more glorious now than she ever was.
like all cities in the world today
london has her problems.
unemployment. silly politicians. homelessness. high cost of living.
but to me
london is home. i felt at home there. odd.
maybe something in my dna. a faint drop of englishness in my past.
well. a fact. a lot more than a drop actually. both sides of my parentage.
but why should it feel so strong?
it has and it continues.
if i ever get to go again. one should never say never after all.
in spite of how i started this post!
if i ever get to go again ~ this time i should like to visit the english villages
and the countryside.
until then . . . i will read about london. and linger over her pictures . . .
and absorb her beauty and grace.
and admire the wonderful english spirit and humor
and remember that one day many years ago . . .
i was privileged to walk her streets.
til soon old bean!