Saturday, June 20, 2015

After The Ordeal

By the 12th of June, 1990, my belated letter to Lady Darley has finally found its way to her. And with school out, both of us have finally found some peace. I also gather I sent her one of my graduation pictures and told her about the fun day the seniors have for graduation while the underclassmen continue to toil.
Hello Chris,

Thanks for your letter. It was nice to hear from you. Your photo was good too, thanks a lot. We don't have anything like that. We only have a morning when we go and fetch our results. August 23rd. Ooo er, I will be saying, I can tell you.

I have finished school now, except for my exams, till September 6th. My last exam is on June 21st so believe me I will be very pleased when I can cross off the day on the calendar.

[Your Raytown friend] wrote to me a couple of days ago. She said that it was o.k. for me to go. I'm having a break from revision tomorrow afternoon to go down to the travel agency to find out all my particulars, you know, flight times, when I arrive in Kansas City, flight back times, when I change at Newark, and my big, big price. Have you met any of [your friend's] friends, from school I think. I think their names are Jay, Ben, Kristen, Lynda, Tommy, Murray, Jason, Linda, Karl, Rochelle, Christine, Raina. They look like nice guys. But, can you give me your opinion on them. What are the like, are they nice people or what?
Reiterating from day one: Not having saved copies of my letters, I do not have any of my side of the conversations, except what I can remember, and I can't remember a whole lot. What I know is that I don't know any of these people, and if I do, I don't know enough to give an opinion on them. It doesn't help living a different city from them either. Neither does introversion.

Another thing not helping me: that darned ACT. I have taken it a second time, and I am still that one elusive point short of the Bright Flight scholarship money.
Sorry about not getting your ACT again. But I'm sure if you really did try again, you'd pass, kind of like a third time lucky syndrome.
I remember writing back to her about the news coverage I'd seen on England's poll tax, pointing out one report described the critics as "have-nots."
I think a lot of my friends at school have been listening to their parents point of view on the poll tax. I don't think the people who complained about the poll tax in England are have-nots. In my area, it's pretty middle-classed and we are worse off financially.
I told Lady Darley about the huge deck we'd added on to our old house and the one still to be built on our new one.
What is a deck? We don't have this word in England. What do you mean?

Yes, sure when I was working in half term I was pretty sick. But now, my bank balance is a lot higher. I'm pretty pleased, only about fifty pounds off my flight and spending money.
On the subject of possibly getting out of my finals if I had A's in my courses...
I'm sure you won't need to do your finals. After all, all A's will be so easy for you to achieve. So I shouldn't worry about it in the slightest, OK? But I can imagine that you will still worry anyway, won't you?
By the time this letter arrived, I had already been through the two finals I needed to take (only because college credit required them) and aced them both, but not without some sweat -- and worry.
If it's 80 degrees in May then maybe it will be very, very hot when I hopefully come to see your country. It will be 100 degrees and it will really feels as there am I frying. In England it only gets to 80 degrees in the middle of a high summer.

Is Raytown really that small? Do you think I would be bored in Raytown? I've told you before that I really think the U.S. holds a deep fascination for me, why I don't even know. But I hope to have a really good time and have lots of fun. One thing that does worry me is whether I will get on with [your Raytown friend's] friends. They look pretty wild, and I am far from this at most times.
It may get boring in Raytown, yes, but let's think bigger towards greater Kansas City and points beyond. Nevertheless, if Lady Darley were to visit me know and we both confined ourselves to Raytown, I would have to take her to some of the places that have been around since my childhood, like Fun House Pizza.

And Fox's Drugs, the one with the grill, even though I've never eaten there.

Maybe we'd slip down the street to the pool hall. Then again, no. It's hardly the place for a refined English lady.

I can tell Her Ladyship is still nursing an arm injury.
Most of the time my arm doesn't even hurt. It's only really when I carrying heavy vehicles, I mean boxes. But that's just pressure on it I guess. I hope I never really break anything.

I will probably do this type of thing when I finally do end up going to college. I'm still undecided whether to go into journalism or to teach little mini children. Both aspects of a career. Really interest me, but obviously I can't do anything, I mean really both of them. Are you going to give me the address of your college so I can write to you at college? I presume you will be there a lot of the year. True?

Your wishes for my birthday did come early. They arrived about a week early. But thanks anyway. I like it when people send me birthday wishes. You could send me either of the following albums if you think that is easier:

But Seriously - Phil Collins
New Kids on The Block - N.K.O.T.B.
Cuts Both Ways - Gloria Estefan

I can't get that New Kids album over here and personally I like them.
Speak for yourself.
I didn't mean to be so rude about hinting about my birthday. I guess I was just a little frustrated. Sorry. I hope you don't think I'm typically a rude, pompous English girl.

I'm sending a telegram to [your Raytown friend] tomorrow asking her to ring me on Wednesday after my exam. If she wants me to go, I can go and book it on Friday. Then when I come, maybe I could ring you up.

I realised when I saw the picture of [your friend's] friends what a cultural difference U.S. kids and British kids have. Maybe I won't fit in, I hope I will.

Write soon,
Love [Lady Darley]
I can only imagine the anticipation tinged with anxiety. Lady Darley is about to make a huge journey through great distance and cultural divide, but will it be worth it?

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