Crossing the Pond, After Half a Century (Almost)

September 9-10 

Crossing the pond, to London. I debated whether to blog. After all, my followers are used to exotic trips in which I need to start with a map of where the hell I’m off to now. Would they be interested in something as, well, mundane as England?
And then, I remembered that I write these as much (or more) for me as for others, and I wanted a record of this trip. So, if this doesn’t interest you, please skim and I promise you something exotic next May.
To be honest, I’m at least as excited about this trip as the more unusual trips we take. Those other trips explore new horizons for us. This one explores old horizons. In a real sense, it’s like time travel.
In1967, I graduated from law school. The Vietnam War was raging and my classmates and I were subject to being called up, dependent on the vagaries of the draft lottery. I explored taking a year “off,” studying at either Oxford or The London School of Economics. Carol wrote to Anna Freud’s clinic in London and was told that they were not at all sure they would be doing anything this year for people who wanted to spend only a year there. Ultimately, I decided that I wanted to be In London, so I turned down Oxford to go to LSE. After meeting with my draft board and disabusing them of the mistaken view they held that I needed their permission to go to London, Carol and I took off for England, both of us for the first time.
Carol wound up having a terrific year at the Anna Freud Clinic, which, after interviewing her and reviewing something she wrote at their request, decided they’d offer her a tuition-free program designed by them specifically to fit her interest. One of the highlights for her was the intimidating experience of delivering a paper to a large audience that was critiqued by Anna Freud herself (Miss Freud liked the paper).

I had not gone to London to improve my mind, and I succeeded in that objective. My masters of law (LLM) program consisted of four unrelated classes that consumed five hours a week. By far my favorite was a class in 16th Century English Legal History in which my four classmates and I with our terrific professor, returned weekly to the world and language of 16th century England. One other class, British Antitrust Law gave me some background for an article that I wrote with my good friend and Northwestern Law School classmate, Steve Sugarman, who was also in England that year. Our piece was published a year later in the Stanford Law Review on the British antitrust response to the American business invasion. Despite the embarrassingly little effort I put forth, I did receive an LLM degree, which may or may not still be around in a closet someplace.
What the year in London gave Carol and me most importantly was a year, free of responsibilities, to soak in life in a foreign country, to overdose on theater, music, opera and ballet, to make some of the friends you’ll hear about on this trip and to foster a lifelong passion for travel that had been whetted on an 11-week honeymoon in Europe and Israel two years earlier. In short, our time in London was life changing, an experience I would not have traded for anything. Going back now affords an opportunity to recall, if not to relive, that magical year.
I am going to sprinkle the blog with some photos from back then. The photos are old, were not very good to begin with and are reproduced here by photographing them in our album with my iPad. So, don’t expect much.
Here I am, leaning against the door of our flat at 69 Canfield Gardens, followed by photos of Carol in our very narrow kitchen and me sitting rather imperiously in a living room chair. Carol is seated on a bench by the Thames, engaged in a book, rather than paying attention to the photographer. And I’m blowing bubbles and sitting above a river.

Though we were residents more than tourists, that didn’t stop our engaging occasionally in tourist activities.

Carol’s parents came to visit. Here we are having a picnic and, in another photo, her dad and I are dressed for our outing to the Royal Ascot races. At my request, Carol’s parents purchased and brought with them my first “real” camera, a Nikormat. You can see that I’m totally engrossed in photographing a rock, oblivious to the beautiful Cornwall coast in the background


So, apologies if this is more nostalgia and old photos than you need.  But it does give you a taste of what life looked like to us long ago, when I was much younger and thinner, and had hair in a couple places I no longer do.

8 comments to Crossing the Pond, After Half a Century (Almost)

  • Cool, Boppp! I love the last photo of you with the camera and the one of Gee-Gee reading!

    I hope you have a great trip to London!



  • Jodi

    this is great. love, J.

  • lauri pollack

    Nice surprise. Loved it. Thank you lots. Have a wonderful time.

  • Jean Zunkel

    Arnie and Carol…..I love the blog and I absolutely adore the old photographs….What a dapper pair the two of you were (not sure if dapper is right for Carol but I still love that word)…..Have a great walk down memory lane…Let me know if you can possibly get up to Combermere Abbey in Shropshire…You would love it.

  • Ahdina

    I loved seeing the photos and reading this!!

  • Oh, my goodness! Oh, my goodness! As one of Miss
    Hannigan’s orphans famously said, over and over again, in Annie. And what a wonderful blast from the past! Just when I was wondering where my peripatetic brother and sister-in-law might be.

    Have a really top drawer trip and do ring me up, when you return!

    Love, Barbara

  • Paul Woo

    Aha – Great narrative as I would always expect from you. The photos from your youth are so terrific. Thanks for sharing this introduction to this trip and Melanie and I will look forward to more from your blog. Cheers!

  • Wendy Snell

    I love this! I love the photos! Hoping you’ve saved some of the old ones for other posts cuz they’re really great.
    We’ll be eager to hear more about both the past and the present . . .

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