What We Did On Our Vacation

Gosh, was it MAY when Sam and I did our great trip? And didn't I promise I would tell all about it? Oops.

Well, first we went to Atlanta for the Baptism of my gorgeous and perfect Godson, Lil' Jimmy. The moment Sam and I arrived, Sally drove us to her house WHICH IS A MIRACLE! Sally being on time was only due to months of abuse and threats from me, claiming that I would be on the next flight to England if she wasn't there waiting at the airport!

We spent the night making mountains of delicious food and giggling. The next morning, we traded clothes, panicked, and went to the church where Little Jimmy was the perfect Baptismal Baby and gazed at the lovely Irish Priest in rapt fascination.

Afterwards, everyone came back to Sally and Jimmy Sr.’s house. And I mean EVERYONE! Jimmy’s family is huge, and so is Sally’s. Jimmy’s family came from the Ukraine, and his grandmother Baba is full of fantastic stories (much translated and argued over by the entire family, in speedy Ukranian and heavily accented English) of her life in the Ukraine, working in Germany, “I vas a SLAVE on a farm” escaping to a “Displaced Persons” camp, having her baby Steffi, and being welcomed to America in spite of having a baby and husband… England only took childless people at that time, and Canada only single men. “GOD HELP TRUMAN!” she repeated, blessing him over and over again, with her eyes and arms raised to heaven. She had seen such horrors, and knew what would have been in store for her family if they had been denied a new life in America.

Baba’s new life in America provides more fodder for wonderful stories: “He vas a good boy. He sella de dope, you know? But I still say he vas a good boy. I have old washing machine, he sell it FIVE TIMES. I go to his funeral. He vas a good boy.”

“ De landlord, he vas Italian, Mr. x. he tell me he rent me da place, if I give him a kiss! So I kiss him! And my daughter, she say, ‘Mama! Why you kiss dat man!’”

“Da baby, she had pneumonia on da boat, and de nurse say DON’T TELL DEM! So we bathe da baby, and say no, no, she wet because she bathe, she not sick. So dey say, Okay.”

I wish I had taken notes while I sat there, asking questions and listening to the heated incomprehensible discussions and final English explanations. The time eldest daughter Steffi (Jimmy Sr.’s Mum) took all of the little sisters down to the river so that she could meet some boys, and the littlest fell in… or was pushed in… by who? More heated argument! “The Hudson River! Imagine! So dirty!” There was a whole Book's worth of stories that day, if I had only thought to start writing it down.

We went, later in the week, to the Aquarium. The Atlanta Aquarium is the coolest place in the world. We went there with Sally, baby Jimmy, and Sally's niece Kristien. Sam was Amazed, and so was I. EVERYONE must go there!

We spent the rest of our time there eating Strawberries, Blackberries, Cherries, Rasberries, Blueberries.... and Sam had Cocoa-Bombs Cereal or something for breakfast every day. They turned the milk into syrup. We watched "Cash Cab", and kicked a ball around. We slept in every day.

It was interesting to visit Atlanta, the new and shiny, with it's wide streets and modern architechture... And then go to London, where the buildings are older than Columbus, the streets are narrow, and double decker buses wrap themselves around impossible corners. Sam LOVED traveling in London: Buses, The Tube, the Buskers, and miles and miles of walking.

In London, we discovered that ICE CREAM DOESN'T MELT when it's as cold as a fridge outside! (That's Sam and Aunty Beens eating icecream.) And, we witnessed Chelsea Fans first hand, up close and personal. They had just lost to Manchester, barely, and we had to go through Chelsea on the tube that night to get home from "The Lion King" which Sam and Beens had been to see. The Chelsea Hooligans were almost cooler than the Lion King Musical! Spending time with his special Aunties, Beens and Ailis, made Sam feel very special.

We stayed with my aunt and uncle in Putney, which is the perfect place to stay. It's close to everything! We ate well, slept well, and had a great time with cousins. Every day we took off into the wilderness of London and came home pooped!

We also went to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, where we had forgotten that it would be cold. We wrapped up in all of the layers we could find, and laughed through "A Midsummer Night's Dream". It was excellent.

The London Eye! it's REALLY REALLY TALL! It was pretty cool to look at the streets we had been completely lost on, from the air. I liked seeing the little foresty hills in the distance. From the air, London looks old. You can almost imagine what it was like Long, Long Ago.

We went to Bournemouth with Ailis to stay with our Grandmother Margo for three nights, and we had A SUNNY DAY at the beach with friends! It was good to see my old friend Cherise, and Sam had fun with the other kids in the group.

Margo, our Gran, is ninety-three. She has recently sold her upstairs flat, and moved into a building where there are bells to ring for help and handles in the bathroom. Every so often, the manager goes around to check on his tenants. Margo is redecorating. When I am ninety-three, I want to move to a new flat, too, and have a thing or two to say to the contractor about the work in the kitchen. And, I hope to be able to move furniture around to see if that chair would look better by the other window. I hope that my sense of style is as timeless as Margo's. She is amazing.

I want to go back! The trip was good for me, and great for Sam. It would be really nice if I could do it every year.

I am glad to have this post finished, it's been in "draft" for weeks and I kept forgetting about it! I will be away from the desktop for the next few weeks, so it is good to get the housekeeping done here. Notice the Blog Frog Buttons, all done down there. As promised!


GirlBlue said…
Finally! I thought you would never get around to this.

"He vas a good boy. He sella de dope, you know? But I still say he vas a good boy"

Why did that part remind me of the parents in Laventille when their good boys get shot..only difference is that they leave out the he sella de dope part.
Unknown said…
Wow. And you even got a trip to Blicks in there, too. I so love London. There are only two places (that I've actually been to) I think I would like to live if I had to leave Chicago - San Francisco and London. And I would have a small place in Galway county, somewhere near the coast, as a retreat, that I could go to when I needed to paint in solitude.
Anonymous said…
I really enjoyed reading your pages. So glad that you enjoyed your trip here.Come back soon.
Anonymous said…
gorgeous photos!
Theresa said…
Baba reminds me of hubby's grandma. She 80-something, survived a goulag in Siberia, and talks, talks, talks and talks. She is a real character.

Glad you finally got around to this :)