“Half memoir, half travel, A Yank Back to England...is an absolutely wonderful book, not only about going home again but also about love and family and tradition and the passage of the years.”
—Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic (Washington
To see the entire quote, click here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Full steam ahead, part 1

I found it strange to travel by car to a coastal region in England. Holiday trips with my parents, Jessie and Lew, always started at one of London’s main-line terminus stations, usually Victoria for the South Coast or Paddington for the West Country. As I drove I remembered those large, glass-covered edifices, filthy from the soot of train smoke built up over the great age of steam, a gummy brown legacy of time gone by. When I was a kid steam trains were still in service and I could easily recall the loud engine noise as they scudded to a halt, wheezing smoking, billowing steam and sounding like metallic raspberries. But it was the smell I remembered most, the smell of grease, oil, and coal. These were the ingredients that fueled adventures far from my home in Dagenham.

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