Thursday, July 12, 2012

Merry Ol'

With the summer Olympics beginning soon in London, I am getting a bit nostalgic about Merry Ol' England and our friends there.  I love to tell the story of how a young girl from Chicago ended up with having such a great friend from across The Pond.  Way back in 1981, I had the opportunity to "buy" a pen-pal. At the time, pen-pals in the USA cost 25 cents and outside of the USA they cost 50 cents.  Well, me being the big spender that I am, I paid 50 cents for a pen-pal from England.  Little did I know way back then that I would end up with a friend for life!  

After writing to Jane for over 9 years, she and her boyfriend (now husband) came to visit my husband and I here in the states.  They made us promise that when they got married we would travel to England for their wedding.  I remember thinking...they have been together so long, they'll never get married. So, my husband and I said yes and thought nothing further of it until that one day when our phone rang at such on odd time. Jane was calling us to tell us she and Thomas were engaged and we had to make plans to go to England because we said we'd be at their wedding.  Wow!  For the first time in our lives...we needed Passports!  We got right on it and did what had to be done. The next thing I know, Jane asked me (little ol' me) to take part in the wedding by reading one of the Readings during Mass for their wedding. (Of course I said YES! There will be more on their wedding  later.)

So May of 1997 was here and my husband and I were on a plane to England. When we first got off the plane in Birmingham and "security" was standing quite seriously with their automatic weapons, Charlie reminded me that we are not in America anymore and that I needed to keep my lovely wisecracks and sarcastic remarks to myself.  I promised I would behave...they were a bit intimidating.

Our friends picked us up and I couldn't believe that I was actually half way around the world.  Jane and Tom gave us a very nice welcome.  They even hung our flag in their window.

Now, even though our main reason for going to England was to celebrate their wedding, they made time to show us around their country.  First, Jane showed me the house that she grew up in.  

Over the years, I remember writing "Eversleigh" on many a letter I sent to Jane. Her childhood house was absolutely beautiful!  Believe it or not, shortly after our visit, the house was sold to a developer and torn down making way for apartments to be built.

We saw a double-decker bus...

And then our  next stop was London...can't go to England without a visit to London.

We saw the changing of the guard.

I tried to make one of them laugh, and he just didn't find me funny!

We saw Big Ben...which was a sight for sure.

And we were stunned when we saw one of the bobbie's Patrol cars.  It reminded us of a clown car, so small and compact.

On our way out of London, we were lucky enough to go over Tower Bridge. This picture doesn't do it justice, but it looked like a bridge you would read about in a fairy tale.

Stay tuned for my next installment when we visit Shakespeare's home in Stratford-upon-Avon, a few castles,and Solihull Square. (And yes..I will eventually get to the wedding!)


  1. I remember you telling me this story in person. Of course, it is so much better with the pictures. :)

    1. Thanks Darlene...Better pictures are coming too!

  2. Wonderful post! I have always wanted to go to Europe, England in particular. Thanks for sharing the great pictures:)


    1. You are quite welcome Paul. Check back often to see the "rest of the tour".

  3. Oh, Lisa, I love this first part and can't wait for the next one! We lived in a brick house like the one Jane lived in with a lovely window like hers one year, then an old farm house over 350 years old for a few months before moving into housing on the base. Jane's childhood home was just so 'English' and I hate that it was torn down for 'progress!' Loved riding the double-decker buses in our village and in London town. We went to Birmingham one time to catch a bus to Scotland....big city, but not as big as London, of course! What memories you have evoked for me! Sorry I don't have digital pics....we lived there from 1983-87 before digital cameras....and loved every minute of it - first year in St. Ives, Cambridgeshire near RAF Alconbury, then 3 years in Suffolk near RAF Bentwaters/Woodbridge which has since closed. Love your blog!

    1. I'm so glad this is bringing back so many memories for you. It sounds like you had a wonderful experience there. My pictures are not digital either. I am doing lots of scanning. Part Two will be ready in a few days.