Feb 12, 2012

"Never a cup of tea large enough . . . never a book long enough . . . "

     Sunday afternoons, just before the sun falls and the last little light of evening spreads over our dear valley. Foyle's War and English accents . . . World War II, sweaters and skirts, and leafless trees . . .
     With all these rushing up around you and lovely characters have you imitating their brilliant selves, and socks and shoes and clothes hanging in your closet simply begging you to pretend you're in England, that there are bombs and air raids, and rations and soldiers in flat brimmed helmets . . . what else is there to do but to give in and make believe you're there right along with them? You don't even have a name, but you're there--reading Jane Austen and Sherlock Holmes and waiting, endlessly waiting for those eerie sirens and Wardens in blue and . . .
 . . . it's so FASCINATING!

     Took Toi for a photoshoot this afternoon, our first one ever together with just each other.
But it wasn't a photoshoot. Oh no!
     I was sitting on the steps of my home in London, half ruined by an air raid awhile back,
when a newspaper photographer came and snapped my picture for his story on
how the war is affecting England's people.

      He wanted one with more of what was left of my house. You can't see her, but my Mum is at the window, hiding in the dark. The smile drawn from her lips, absorbed by the weary nights in the bomb shelter, like water soaking the earth.

 The man asked what I was reading. I told him it was my beloved detective on Baker Street, one of the only books I had left after an incindary bomb caught our house on fire and burned half of my room.

     I said, "My favorite is Dr. Watson, though. I wouldn't know about Mr. Holmes or Inspector Gerad if it hadn't been for him. I sometimes go see them at the pictures. But it isn't the same."

     He asked me where I went to school. "It was bombed," I said. "Last night. Along with a whole street of houses, even the flat where my friend lives."

     Then Mum called me in, her voice cold against the glass, and I told the man good-bye. He asked my name, but I couldn't tell him. I had forgotten it, lost it in those nightmares you have when you're at war.

      I made tea. My hands stung with cold. I used the last of the sugar ration and our milk.

      I asked if my brother would like to join me for a spot of tea. It's funny when you're imitating that you're the only one who understands yourself the first time, and all the others have to say, "What?"

      Then Ethan popped by and I poured him a cup.

      And pretty soon Hannah found the Earl Grey quite satisfactory and warmed her fingers with us.

     Dad was delighted with it all. Me in my English, WWII looking clothes from my closet, the apple teapot on the table, the milk, the sugar. Sat down with a smile on his face.

      So did Mama.
     Toi had a marvelous time. She loved the black and white. She loved it when I told them all that I was sorry there weren't any "buttered tea cakes all round", for the sugar ration wasn't enough and our butter needed to be saved for toast in the morning . . . They didn't seem to mind. And I loved them for it.

"Hey Kayla, wouldn't it be just awful if you took a picture of me doing something like this?"
happy laughter
"Oohh! That would be bad!"

     I still love to play. I play all the time. And it's real. Because once it was real. I make it real again. So I won't forget.
     The fires seething out at the dark night across London, eating at the homes of people, the thunder of the ack-ack guns, the spinning world of the bomb shelter when the Jerries try to kill you . . . a little picnic inside with only tea and a family who loves to play, too. It's all part of that wonderful world of make believe and love!
     To C.S. Lewis there wasn't a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit him.

To me there isn't a time long enough or laughter sweet enough to spend and share with those dear to you . . .
Happy evening to you all!

3 comments:

Emily said...

Brilliant, thought-provoking post. I love how you put yourself into the situation. It brought a whole new light to the pictures. And your outfit is perfect, just perfect. This post makes me feel warm inside for some reason, partly because it is so you... Love you, hon!

Kelsey said...

Why are you so awesome?!

Laura said...

Ditto what Kelsey said. :) You are amazing, girl!

I love you!

Laura