One of my very favorite authors joins us today, Marilyn Brant. I loved, loved, loved Marilyn’s book last year A Summer in Europe– review here. Marilyn guestposted last summer- here. She just makes me want to go to Europe immediately.
My quote calendar said, “You never really leave a place you love—part of it you take with you, leaving a part of you behind.” For me, this was never more true than for the city of London.
I fell in love with England’s intriguing capital when I was a very young girl. Years ago, my mom and I had a one-day stopover there on the way to visit my grandparents, so we got to do some short but memorable sightseeing. I sang my favorite song at the time, “London Bridge Is Falling Down,” for weeks afterward in tribute to having visited it. (Drove all of my family members crazy!)
Fast-forward a couple of decades and my history-teacher boyfriend (now husband) and I took our first European trip together. Before we left, I’d told him how fascinated I’d been with that famous landmark, which was why he chose it as his spot to propose to me 20 years ago.
He and I visited England again a couple of times afterward, and my passion for the place only grew. When I wrote A Summer in Europe, I wanted my main character Gwen to love London as I did. To know that her few days there wouldn’t be nearly enough. To feel the same certainty that I felt in knowing she’d need to come back again someday.
Until this spring, it had been 15 years since last we were there. But now we have a teenage son…a kid fascinated by foreign currency and international destinations. A boy who loves Harry Potter, Cadbury chocolate bars and those really cool red double-decker buses. Someone who is completely captivated by the Olympic Games and who’s been especially anticipating watching this year’s Summer Olympics on TV. And, so, for our son’s very first overseas trip, we chose England.
Seeing it through his eyes was more satisfying than I’d imagined, and it gave me an unexpected sense of completion. Every new experience our family had there, however small, was like a private exchange between Londontown and me—from my son’s first glimpse of Big Ben to sharing a basket of fish-n-chips near the Tower of London, from zipping around the city on “the tube” to returning, once again, to my favorite bridge. It was like reuniting a piece of my heart with the whole while, at the same time, witnessing my son falling in love with his first international city and leaving a little bit of himself behind…
I know London waits for him to return again one day so he can make more memories. I like to think it’s still waiting for me, too. That there’s more to our story yet to be written.
What are you reading and where are you going?