I have dozens of albums that I cart with me from one house to the next. My favorite contains what I call the London Times.
Like most of the population, I have thousands of photos. Albums full. Albums that I cart with me from one house to the next, albums that sit in boxes or on shelves in my closet. And then there’s the album containing what I call the London Times.
So I’m sorting through the photos. Editing. Keeping the ones that make me smile, laugh, groan, think. And the ones that break my heart.
The year’s 1990, the place, my favorite city, London. I lived on Gower Street near the Goodge Street tube. There I am in the center, just to the right of Sarah (white sweater). She came from the States to spend several months in the city, and she wasn’t going to let anything — severely limited financial resources or blindness — stop her.
There’s Dilly, whose independent streak kept her from hanging with anyone. And Jenn, a raspy extroflirt who could make you laugh on your downest day. Meri and Roxanne, who I ran into randomly in Amsterdam on fall break. Scott Pence, the smartest and funniest guy in our tribe, also the one I got along with the least. Leah, who had a formal streak when it came to her speech. Kate, a Harrisonburg native who came to hate the depressing stage productions we saw night after night. Margie, our RA, grinning ear to ear, never a negative word or a frown.
There I am, just to the left of Melissa, the fun-loving gal who helped to make my time in London so fabulous. She wanted to go everywhere, do everything, and she always felt as if she was about to throw up. One day on a bus ride to nowhere, Melissa, Mary, and I met Rob and his friends, all of whom were called Paul. Rob and the Pauls. It was the start of a grand adventure.
Mary is to Melissa’s right, peeking over her shoulder. Mary has hung with me for 30+ years through my happiest times and shittiest periods. She’s unflailing. Strong and true.
The London times. I love you and miss you.