I’ve been to or through many parts of the U.S. except for the western states. But I never ventured outside the country until last winter. Friends were incredulous when I told them that I would be using my passport for the first time. “That’s not possible’, they said. “ You were in the Navy.” “Join the Navy and see the world.” That’s what they say. It seems I missed out on the free trip around the world.
Stephen and I had talked about and planned to go to England to see his mum. Circumstances always prevented it and just after he died, his sisters asked me to come to England for a visit. It didn’t take much time for me to make a decision and I flew to London within a few weeks. His mum and siblings were wonderful and they didn’t seem to mind that I asked so many questions. Although the language is (mostly) the same, their culture is a little different from American culture. But I knew that from living with Stephen.
I not only travelled a distance but I also traveled into the past. Stephen’s past. I didn’t care to see London and the usual tourist sites. I wanted to see Stephen’s home for the first 30 years of his life. Brother and sister were kind enough to drive me around Devon to see the houses where his family had lived, his schools and the sites where his family went for their holidays. Stephen had told me many stories of his youth and I could almost see (in my mind’s eye) the adorable blonde, blue-eyed boy enjoying his childhood as we visited the scenes from his past. Of course, I remember his stories he told of his mischief as a child and thought better of repeating them. What mum doesn’t know won’t hurt her.
I stayed for a week and you can imagine the disappointment I had stepping off the plane in Newark when I realized that I was home again in New Jersey. England seemed much more comfortable to me – like home.