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: Back to Piccadilly Circus


One of the places I was most looking forward to seeing in London was Piccadilly Circus. I'd written about here for the Above Ground on the London Underground tour in 7 Things You Need to Know about Piccadilly Circus and touched on it in From the Ritz to Piccadilly Circus. I was excited to show the Circus to my husband, telling him we needed to save it for one of our nighttime activities. All those amazing advertising billboards had to be seen lit up at night.






Little did I know that the lighted patchwork Piccadilly is famous for is undergoing a change. The existing patchwork was taken down this spring and will be replaced by one large screen. In the meantime, this temporary fix looked large but ordinary, paper adverts lit up from above, not from behind. 

Of course the Circus is still a major tourist attraction but for us at least, it didn't quite have that magical glow. It's disappointing to travel, to have expectations, whether it's an idea or an image, that the reality doesn't quite live up to. It's best to be open-hearted and flexible, ready for changes that life brings us every day. While Piccadilly Circus wasn't quite what I was expecting it still felt wonderful to be there with my husband, to see it together with our own eyes. And while I've been thinking of our trip—a month in Europe—as a once in a lifetime experience, we've already started talking about places we'd like to go back to, to spend more time in.
Maybe next time, the lights will be working. 




After all, this is still quite lovely.
Do you have destinations that didn't quite live up to the dream?

Connecting to Joy Weese Moll for British Isles Friday


Comments

  1. I thought I would feel something in the standing stone circle at Avebury. Maybe it was jet lag. Or maybe I'm not as in touch with the spirit of the past as I'd like to be. Or maybe I am and resist it because that's kind of scary when I think about it too much.

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