Monday, April 01, 2013
I would like my friends to know the story.
April 2nd was the beginning of an adventure for DH and I. It turned out to be a totally different lifestyle, and nothing we ever thought about. It just happened.
DH and I were newly married and we decided to look for another place to live. We were living in England at a time when the air was grey and polluted. Most of the buildings were the same color just a dirty grey.
We lived in a major industrialized area and we just wanted to find another place to live and raise a family. We wanted to live where there were trees and grass. Where we were living was a concrete jungle.
We actually had a park right outside of our front window. It was just a big patch of grass with a high railed fence and a path along all sides and there were 4 gates. There were no flowers, just grass and it was just a place to walk to escape the concrete. The houses were all joined together in long rows and they all looked exactly the same.
DH and I decided as soon as I had finished my exams we would look for another place to live. I finished my studies and passed my exams so now I could find another job too.
DH looked in the paper and applied for 2 places. One in England where we were and we looked for a job in Stratford -on-Avon, much further south and much less industry there. It had so much more countryside and plenty of clean air and trees.
DH wrote to his friend and told him he was hoping to work elsewhere. The friend was from the same area and he had been DH boss when they worked together. His friend had looked for a job in the US and he brought his family to Augusta Maine USA. DH friend wrote back and offered him a job in the US.
DH and I discussed it and we decided to go to the States and make some money and then we would be able to buy a nicer house in a better location than the one we had.
We had to go through so much Red tape. We were sent to the US embassy to apply for a visa. That was a 2 day ordeal answering questions being checked out for endless medical conditions. We had X-rays and blood work and questions from several people. We did pass all of our tests but we still had to be sponsored. The company DH was about to work for agreed to sponsor him for 2 years. DH had to agree he would work for two years and they had him sign a contract with them.
Then we were given our GREEN CARD, we were ready to begin our adventure.
We originally were to come to US by ship. The employer wanted us sooner. They wanted DH to fly out but I refused to stay behind and travel alone I had never even thought about flying till then.
The tickets were bought by the company and the date they gave us was APRIL 1st. I told DH in no uncertain terms I will not fly on a plane on April fool's day.
That is why our anniversary of Coming to America became April 2nd instead.
That was why we flew instead of coming by ship. We were only coming for 2 years so we left almost everything behind in England and brought only our clothes with us. We did ask for our linens and dishes to be sent by ship at the company's expense. I put very little in to that crate and we left most of our belongings behind.
April 2nd was a foggy day. A real Pea Souper as those foggy days used to be called.
We left in a very small plane and flew to London Airport. My very first flight and I was terrified but excited. I had never seen London, seeing it from the air was very interesting. Seeing so many other planes in the sky with us was definitely not to my liking. I was so happy to be back on the ground.
We went to the BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) baggage area and there was no-one there.
They were all on strike !.
At that point DH decided we were not going to the US we would stay in England.
I saw a man in uniform, obviously a pilot and I asked him if he could tell us what to do.
He was a Pan-Am pilot and took us to their counter and had our flight changed to Pan Am.
The plane was half empty because the strike had been on the radio some people stayed away. We had not thought to listen to the radio. We were too busy leaving to think about checking to see if the plane was on time.
The positive side was the plane was fully loaded with food and drinks and they were taking off on time with very few passengers. There were enough seats for people to sleep on. They just put seat belts on and slept across three seats.
We all had extra hot dinners and anyone wanting liquor could drink. The lady who sat with us had taken Dramamine and she drank and was fast asleep the entire flight.
We arrived in Boston early afternoon. Our friends picked us up in the biggest car we had ever seen. It was all so impressive.
We drove North to find a restaurant so we could relax for a while. Our next stop was in Maine at the L.L.Bean store in Freeport Maine.
I had never been in a store that is open ALL THE TIME, 24x7, every day of the year including Christmas.
It was such a big adventure. Driving up North and seeing miles and miles of road with no houses in sight. That just blew my mind.
There was still snow on the sides of the road , exactly like it is now on the same day of this year.
We drove in to their street and the little Cape Cod houses made of wood was such a surprise. I had only ever seen Brick houses in the UK or stone houses but never rows of wooden houses.
We went to bed in a room with baseboard heat and it was a cold night. We had never had a home with heating like this. We both had homes with fireplaces that used coal. Those baseboard heating units kept us awake all night. They also kept us way too hot and we did not like to open the windows.
The following day our friends took us to the apartment that they chose for us. We went in and they followed. As soon as they got in to our apartment they called their house to talk to their kids.
DH and I had NEVER had a telephone in either of our homes. Our friends gave their daughter the number to call back to be sure it was correct. It was correct.
They left us to explore our new home. Almost as soon as they left I decided to look at the phone. I picked it up and put it to my ear and there were people talking on it.
I slammed it down and DH was sure I had imagined it. He picked up the phone and listened and he heard a woman shouting in his ear, then he slammed the phone down and we just left it alone.
The phone rang a couple of times and we just ignored it. A while later our friends were back and asked if we had been out they had phoned several times. We told them the phone had a problem and it must be hooked up wrong. DH’s Friend laughed and apologized for not explaining we had a temporary PARTY LINE.
Needless to say they had to explain what a PARTY line was.
Memories from that very first day of coming to America.
Pat still in Maine in the same city for 48 happy years AUGUSTA.