Friday, September 26, 2014

London Through Her Eyes

Last month, I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of weeks in London, and whenever I'm there, it's hard for me to not think about my mom. I wandered around the Bloomsbury neighborhood.  In and out of little, locally owned shops.  A gourmet deli.  A home goods shop.  A small bookstore.  I know if my mom had been with me, she would have gone on and on about E.M Forster and Virginia Woolf and other members of the Bloomsbury Group, and as I thumbed through the small bookstore, I longed to hear what she thought about the authors represented there -- Ruth Adam, Katherine Mansfield, Winifred Peck and more.

She would have loved having tea at The Goring.  She would have admonished me to sit up straighter.  But she also would have delighted in the waiter's Scottish accent and his description of the crayfish salad as "the Queen Mother's favorite."

She would have made sure that we allotted an entire afternoon to shop at the Liberty London department store.  She would have gone straight to the haberdashery department and would have smiled with child-like glee at all the fabrics and buttons and ribbons.

She would have grown quiet in St. Paul's Cathedral as she looked at the Honour Roll -- a book that honors Americans who were killed on their way to or were stationed in Great Britain during World War II.  Each day a member of St. Paul's clergy turns the page so that a new set of names can be displayed.  I can count on one hand the number of times I saw my mom cry, but I know she would have teared up after viewing the book.  But she's not here to see the book or the tea or the fabrics.  So instead, in one of the Cathedral's private chapels, I light a candle for her.


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