My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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Above Ground on the London Underground: Brompton Cemetery via Earl's Court Station

If you've been following me for awhile, you know I've been fantasizing about a trip to England for ages. In fact for the past year or so I've been posting a virtual tour of London under the heading Above Ground on the London Underground. My husband and I finally took that trip to London 'in real life' and now I'm back after a month long journey which began in early May. We were in the air flying home when the London Bridge attack took place, we landed in L.A. to worried texts from family. My heart goes out to Londoners and no, the threat of a terrorist attack wouldn't stop me from visiting one of the greatest cities in the world.
This week I've got a few pictures from our visit to the Brompton Cemetery in Kensington. One of London's Magnificent Seven, I also visited Brompton Cemetery on one of our virtual walks back in March of 2016 if you want to take a peek.

I can so imagine living in London ... except the town wasn't particularly kind with the weather. Arriving at the beginning of May, I don't think it made it into the 60's once which was a bit tough on my California thin skin.

Here I am at Emmeline Pankhurst's grave in Brompton Cemetery. I don't know if you can tell but I'm wearing a tank top, a shirt, a jacket, another shirt and a heavy black sweater.
And I was still cold.

Pankhurst, the noted founder of the British suffragette movement died 89 years ago this month on June 14th. Her grave is easy to miss, there are no special markers, nothing—except for a small potted flowering plant left by an admirer—to indicate that this is the grave of a woman who really did change the world. Like most of the graves at Brompton, the site is in a state of benign neglect, the grass needs trimming, overgrown plants, trees and aging stones eclipse the names of the dead and buried. Seeing Brompton Cemetery in person was spectacular, a wonderful trip back to the Victorian age while the several people we saw walking their dogs and jogging through the cemetery was a reminder that Londoners live in a world that spans the centuries every single day. 
On another day, leaving the Portobello Road market (pictures another time) we walked by a handsome neighborhood in the Holland Park area of Kensington and I noticed an attractive white stone building with the telltale blue plaque signaling an edifice of some prominence. It was the home where both Emmeline Pankhurst (played by Meryl Streep in the film Suffragette) and her daughter Dame Christabel Pankhurst lived. Built in 1860, the five story house is about 4500 square feet, has five bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and has a current market value of about £25 million. Cat sculptures included.
Oh yes, I could live in London! Except for that darn kid of mine. At twenty three, he's grown up and probably ready for a mother in absentia but I'm not. 

If a trip to London is in your future here's how to find Brompton Cemetery & Emmeline Pankhurst's home:

Connect to Joy Weese Moll's British Isles Friday Meme


  1. You look so happy, I LOVE your photos!

  2. Wonderful! I was in London last weekend - we could've met for a beer...and I passed through London Bridge, a favourite part of town. Enough of that. Loved your photos and narrative. Brompton Cemetery has been on my 'to visit' list for years, but I've not made it there yet; or to Highgate, come to that. Sorry about the weather...really...

  3. We were in London near the 100th anniversary of suffragettes attacking paintings. The National Portrait Gallery had a display that had to tread an awkward line of admiring these brave women but not sound happy to have one of their paintings ripped with a cleaver. The gallery showed the repaired painting and a portrait of Christabel Pankhurst wearing her suffragette sash.

  4. Glad you're safely home and looking forward to hearing more about your trip!

    1. I'm so sad, Joy, about all the heartache the people of London and Great Britain in general, are having to go through. Hard times. And with two shootings here in the USA today, hard times here as well.


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