Just a quick apology about the herky jerky flow of this post. Check back often for edits and updates. edit: The crazy thing is that this took place 25 years ago. Everything I’ve taken from the trip, I’ve held in my memory for 25 plus years. Nearly half of my life. All the souvenirs, the pictures, everything. I remember it like I was there just yesterday
I visited England from January 13, 1991 to June 1, 1991. I stayed with my extended family; an aunt (A), uncle (H) and two cousins (B & J). While there, I was enrolled at school and turned 16. It was the best time of my life. It was also 25 plus years ago and I’ve thought about the people I’ve met and my time there often.
I remember being homesick and jet lagged. A 6 hour time change was big and I didn’t eat on the plane when they tried to feed me. I swear all those round-abouts were going to make me car sick.
One Saturday, my cousin B and I went to Shrewsbury. We took the bus and had a great cousin day there. When it was time to go home, we went back to the bus stop that we were dropped off at. We were a little concerned. The bus wasn’t there. We started asking around as to where the bus to Bridgnorth was. We were given directions to the bus station. We asked several people along the way for directions to the bus station and found the stall where the bus was. Another lady was waiting and we asked her if this was the stop for the bus back to Bridgnorth. She said no. It was over there. We never ran faster and we finally got on the correct bus back home. The only reason we made the bus was a red light. It was great!!
Easter break was two weeks long. We visited H’s family in North Wales and we (A, B & I) did take a trip to London. In London we saw Cats, went to Madame Tussuad’s, the Hard Rock Cafe. On the double decker tour bus we saw Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, London Bridge and London Tower.
I made many friends and I am in contact with several of them. Many gave me addresses to write back too, but there were too many to write on a regular basis. I only regret not getting addresses of the two people that I cared about the most (JM & SD ~ the girl who and shown me around) while there. I did date someone (JM) during my short stay and I got my first kiss, about a month before my 16th birthday. I was so thrilled to not be “Sweet 16 and never been kissed”.
At school, we had to wear a uniform. The uniform for the girls consisted of a black skirt, a white shirt, and black or red jacket or cardigan, a tie and black shoes. I still have the two sweaters that I wore and I learned how to tie a tie. I only remember a handful of classes including: Spanish, Home Ec, two different science classes, an English type class, a Social Studies type class, Art and PE. In one of the Science classes, we were talking about elements of the periodic table and what some of them were. I raised my hand and said “Aluminum” only because the British say “Aluminium”, it caused a chuckle! I participated in the orchestra and we even had a concert. I got my picture in the paper, still have the newspaper clipping! We took a school trip to York and for whatever reason, we ended up eating at a Burger King! I still have the bottom of my fry box (it read Made in USA) in my England scrapbook!! I also remember coffee vending machines in the school. That’s where I got my first taste of white coffee. Yum! Now I’m not a regular coffee drinker, by all means, but I do like the occasional coffee, and I like it white and sweet.
One evening, JM came over and we were studying in my room (with the door open, it was the rule). For fun, I decided to do the blind man and the deaf man walking joke. You know, where you start with a B & D on your hand, draw a “wall” and then you draw the blind man walking. Once the blind man gets close to the wall, the person you’re writing on says stop and you stop. With the deaf man, you keep drawing, because well, you know, a deaf man can’t hear you say stop! so I ended up drawing all of his arm! 😀
While in England I rang the church bells with my cousins, involved in the local theater behind the scenes and participated in the 22 mile Bridgnorth walk (Cousin B walked the 22 miles 3 legged with another friend). I did this in canvas shoes and my feet survived. We got a shirt for walking, but I’m not sure where mine is. Odd! LOL 😀
I went to a couple movies while there. The two that I remember seeing were King Ralph and Dances With Wolves. I remember a brief intermission. B and I went to one of the pubs frequently as well, The Shakespeare Inn, to play darts. I still have my T-shirt from there. As expected, the lettering on the 20 year old shirt is quite faded.
The theater, (theatre?) was called The Theater on the Steps. I worked the curtains (tabs) for two different events. One was for Jane Eyre and the other for The Red Nose Revue for comic relief. My photo was in the paper for this. Yes, I still have the marked up script, my red nose and the newspaper article. It is a cute red nose. It has hands! One of the performances someone else had done the tabs so that I could actually watch it from the seats. That was my first date.
While there, I walked. A lot! I walked to school when I woke up late. I walked home for lunch some days. I walked along the Severn River and to Daniel’s Mill. I did the 22 mile Bridgnorth walk and walked to town for lunch on occasion. Spent time on Castle Walk. Flik’r photos of the places from my walks are on the right side. added 1/23/08: In preparation for the Bridgnorth walk, JM, B, B’s bf and I went to Chruch Stretton and climbed. Photos are included.
Edited 1/25/08: While there, B, B’s BF, JM & I went to Alton Towers. It is an amusement park. I remember that it was quite a drive and we probably should have left earlier than we did. I seem to remember not being there very long. We did ride on the log flume. The log flume is one of the few thrill rides that I can do. I don’t like roller coasters at all! And yes, I still have my ticket and photo from the ride in my scrap book.
It was also here in England where I started a little braid with beads behind my left ear. Whenever I got my hair cut, I’d leave the braid. It was kind of like a rat tail, but on the side. I had beads for all occasions. Red & Green for Christmas. Red, white and blue for Independence day. I bought many different beads in England and I believe I might still have those. I have since cut the braid sometime in college.
Edited 1/26/08: Towards the end of my stay, one weekend JM was being an ass about something which really upset me. B & I ended up going to an afternoon movie for what we called cousin bonding time. Oddly enough, I don’t remember the name of the movie. Anyway, about half way through the movie, JM came in and apologized.
Since 2006, Aunt A has sent me a Bridgnorth Calendar. I treasure this. It it a reminder of my stay in England. I have not thrown these out yet. Maybe soon I’ll take the pages out and frame them.
I’m sure there’s more and maybe I’ll remember more soon.