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Have Broom Will Travel [memoir]

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Halloween 1995, Batman and me
My history is littered with Halloween fails. Before I became a mother the question of what I was going to be for Halloween terrified me.


1958:  Halloween on a blazing hot afternoon in Tripoli, Libya. Age 5 All the military brats from Wheelus Air Force base were going to a Halloween party in an airplane hangar just outside Tripoli. Lots of civilian kids—mostly Brits and Yanks—whose parents worked on the base in various capacities were invited which meant my brother and I got to go too. Our dad, who spoke Arabic fluently and had been with British Intelligence during the war, had something to do with managing the PX on the base. My brother went dressed as a hobo, his cheeks smeared grey by my mother with a piece of burnt cork, while his friend, the older boy who lived next door, dressed up as a woman—a pillow stuck down his sweater shaped into clownish balloon-sized breasts and big red sticky lips. I went as Minnie Mouse in a cheap, cellophane-thin, store-bough…

Baker Street Station—Sherlock Holmes was there

Baker Street Station
The main thing my husband wanted to see in London was London ... as Sherlock Holmes saw it. So our first move, like any fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creation was to take a double decker bus to Baker Street. As it turns out I read the map upside down or sideways or maybe it was backwards but we found ourselves in Putney at the bridge. Very much in the wrong direction. Over half an hour by car, which we didn't have. We wound up taking the tube back in the right direction which delivered us to the Baker Street Station. The station is one of the original stations opened when the Metropolitan Railway—the world's first underground railway—was built in 1863.  While we don't immediately think of Sherlock dashing out on the tube, he very well could have and in fact the rail, train etc is alluded to in several dozen Sherlock stories.

The Baker Street station is situated on the very block where Sherlock lived at 221B Baker Street. Or should I say the fictional 221B Baker Street created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for the world famous detective. A purist, my husband would do little more than poke his head in the gift shop of the Sherlock Holmes Museum, reminding me yet again that there was no such place as 221 B Baker Street, it was a creation from the mind of Arthur Conan Doyle. It's his opinion that those who put the place together, selling all kinds of trinkets, were simply making a pile of dough and profiting off Holmes legions of fans. Notice the sign above the shop/museum? The first word is Souvenirs.

My husband at the Baker Street station perhaps pondering the presence of Sherlock Holmes' ghost.
"Come Watson, come! The game is afoot!"


Comments

  1. Wonderful! I think it's great (as in 'amusing') that we make visitor attractions out of fictional happenings. ACD got married down the road from me though - I really should do an article about it one day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, he's a bit of the old stick in the mud about it. Yes, Mike, write that article!

      Delete
  2. I got a kick out of the Baker Street station, expecting Sherlock Holmes any minute. But, actually, I was there as part of a tour of the Underground and I learned a lot about the early days of the Tube.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh nice! I think it's one of the loveliest looking ones we saw.

      Delete

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