Looking out the window of London’s British Rail commuter train, my son, Joel, seated by my side, I wondered how an American lady from Mississippi ended up living just thirty miles north of one of the largest cities in the world. But, there I was at thirty-one years of age, peering out my window hoping to capture every piece of the picturesque scenery that unfolded with each rotation of the trains wheels.
The occasional moments of utter darkness as we passed through tunnels and the echoing of the train’s whistle were just the right combination for the inquisitive mind of my three year old son. He had more questions than the game of Jeopardy: questions that test ones patience and sometimes challenge ones intelligence.
“Why are there tunnels, mommy? How long are tunnels? How does the train stay on the track? Where are we going? When will we get there, mommy?”
Just the average typical questions that children often ask. So, I attempted as most parents do, to supply him with the appropriate and hopefully accurate responses to his ever probing questions.
The where and when were simple. We were en route to London’s Kings Cross station where we would take the cowards way out and hail a taxi rather than attempt to master London’s underground “maze”. At least that’s what the colorful intersecting lines on the underground “tube” charts portrayed to this American, originally from a small town in the deep south. It was a challenge to say the least and one I was not willing to undertake with Joel as my companion
The trip itself was an enjoyable thirty minutes journey from the small town of Welwyn, a quaint English village filled with rows of charming houses with sparkling windows often laced in white curtains. The ever so faithful clock of St. Mary’s church chimed on the hour and the timbered buildings that bordered the High Street served as a reminder of England’s incessant commitment to preserve its heritage. Gardens splashed with color signified the onset of Spring. The rolling hills spotted by the white wool of grazing sheep and the lush fields of crimson poppy and yellow rapeseed, splattered the countryside creating a tapestry of color and beauty as far as the eye could see. This was Welwyn, our new home town.
The train ride to Kings Cross always proved to be a delight and having Joel with me made it even more pleasurable. My husband, Chuck, who worked in the city, had an altogether different viewpoint about his daily commute to and from London. For him it was a daily regimen of push and shove, run and jump, hoping you were on the right train. It was not his favorite means of transport but since neither of us were accustomed to driving on the opposite side of the road and had not fully mastered the art of London’s roundabouts, he endured the inevitable.
(more to follow)
Copyright 1993 All Rights Reserved Donna R. Powell
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