In mid-October, 2000, I went to England and spent ten days in London at the invitation of, and in the company of, my son, Nigel! What fun we had sightseeing, in the markets and visiting the museums. All the exhibits and paintings are wonderful.
This impromptu visit surprised my old friend, Anselma, whom I had not seen since 1962 but the warmth and friendship with which she and her whole family embraced me were no surprise! I made a surprise call to Richard's friend, Cal and the pleasure he demonstrated towards me and Nigel was no surprise!
One day, I bundled up and went out into the gray day by myself to the Shepherd's Bush Market. I saw here people from the Caribbean, people from India and Pakistan, China and a few English people selling their wares. The close proximity of these stalls and the small road in the middle caged me in and immersed me, so that I could feel their attitudes and cultures and enjoy the reality of this part of London, the real London, where the peoples of its colonies make their lives far away from the sunny shores they left behind to go to the "mother country" for better opportunity. The vendors were happy as they waited for buyers, while it drizzled in the English way, making the streets wet and dirty. Here and there I could detect West Indian accents; here and there I heard Cockney from black faces; here and there brown children spoke with British accents and their parents responded in Caribbean tones. As a Caribbean woman, I was in awe of their struggle in this dreary clime! And yet they persevered, the stalls of tropical fruits and vegetables, which one finds wherever Caribbean people settle, providing them with the tastes of home and the exchanged camaraderie alleviating their exile.
Another day, Nigel and I went to visit a house where I lived in 1957, when Christopher was a baby. After several tube and bus rides, we found the house, in a very lovely area of London. Even though the outside paint was different, of course, there it was, just as I remembered it. There was a Mercedes parked at the side of it and the street and surrounding homes were lovely and lush with trees and plants, especially holly trees. It was beautiful. I my mind's eye, I could envisage Christopher at 4 or 5 months old, lying on a blanket on the back lawn. It all seemed such a long time ago and I felt as if it were not me who lived there once but some other girl, who somehow did not any more exist. I think I felt this way because Christopher and Richard are not living. But I enjoyed the beauty of the place and was glad that Christopher and I had once been there, even though as transients for a short time. In spite of everything that happened before and after, it remained a lovely memory, which I thought I would never re-visit. Nigel was the perfect companion for this visit and now, we, too, share the memory. Life is very strange!
I visited Bath, which Nigel and Marc spoke of so often when they spent tine with their aunt, Shirley, many years ago. Meeting Shirley and Reg there for dinner was a wonderful way to again acknowledge their hospitality.
The boys are now busy with starting their own productive lives, having completed many years of schooling and job-hunting.
Like all other young people, it is impossible for them to keep in constant touch with everyone; only when time and opportunity permit.
In Miami Beach, the weather now is enchanting and will stay this way until about May next year. South Beach pastels have replaced London grayscale!
The azure blue skies and low humidity make lovely bright sunlit days and cool nights; the hibiscus blooms.
Whether it's Gore, or Bush; whether the problems are about Israel or Cuba, Yasser Arafat or Fidel, the Miami Mafia, or Elian - it sure is good to be home again!