Page 11

In the London Rain by Helen Chappell

Forty-five years ago I found myself in London, walking blocks upon city blocks through a wall of rain in the British f loods on a quest for a legendar y bookstore. I emerged from the underground at Charing Cross and found, to my horror, that my Oz was still a mile away. It was my first trip to London, and I didn’t have enough common sense to hail a cab, if one could be found in the rain, or to get back on the underground and find a closer stop to my destination. From time to time I’d ask passers-by for directions, and my goal always seemed so far away, lost in the relentless downpour. But, what’s the good of a quest without obstacles? Pneumonia would be a small price to pay for reaching heaven ... my idea of perfect heaven. I’ll never forget that rain, because there’s nothing quite like the rain in the British Isles. For one thing, it’s a constant, like Eastern Shore summer humidity. It has the ability to soak through your raincoat, your hair, your clothes and your boots in a matter of minutes. It drenches you down to your bones. I probably looked like an American drowned rat, judging by

I was born wanting to read. the looks I was getting from the city folk. And what, you may ask, was the object of my quest? What drove me on for what seemed like hours through that pouring rain? What was my Oz, my Shangri-La, my Land of Milk and Honey? Foyle’s Bookstore! Before I could read, I wanted to learn so badly that I would try to spell things out on cereal boxes and newspaper funnies. I just wanted to read. I just knew in those hieroglyphs there were all kinds of ideas just waiting for me to decipher them. I loved picture books, but I carried around a grown-up novel pretending I could read it. I guess I was born wanting to read. Then, when I finally learned in first grade, I announced to my parents 11

November 2013 ttimes web magazine  

November 2013 Tidewater Times

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you