Today’s tale is of a girl who grew up in Houston, went to college in Houston, and, except for a brief time living in College Station, Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina, has stayed in Houston. Her family went on the occasional trip when she was a child, though to call her well-traveled would be untrue.
She grew up, got married, and told her husband, “before I’m 40, I want to have a passport, and I want to leave the country.” A most excellent man, he took her statement seriously, and two years before the stated deadline, made arrangements for the family to fly to London for Spring Break.
I know. It’s not like I’m hiding my identity all that well. Yes, yes, this is me, and the story is a factual one. A month before my 38th birthday, we went to London and had a marvelous time. I dislike (understatement) to fly but love to travel. In part, I love traveling because the family, on the whole, travels well together. Oh, we’re not perfect, and there is always a point in time on every trip we’ve ever attempted when we all want to strangle one another. But, we also tend to agree: we will shy away from large museums and be willing to wander a bit, try new things, and laugh as much as we can.
One of our wanderings took us to the Brompton Cemetery. The story goes something like this: Beatrix Potter used to stroll through the Brompton Cemetery, and when she did, certain names on headstones clicked with her and became names for characters in her books.
We arrived on a cold and windy day in March, and we never were able to find online any sort of map or directions to find such tombstones. Walking through the space, while remarking (ok, complaining) how chilly it was, we found ourselves overwhelmed. There was no way we’d find what we came looking for.
On the far end, however, there was a small little hut like thing, and when the hubs, who was bound and determined to achieve a certain level of success since we’d come out of our way for this little “field trip” of mine, knocked on the door, a friendly older British man (whom we could barely understand) verbally gave us some tips and pointed us in the right direction.
We found the Nutkin marker, and try as we did, we never located Jeremy Fisher. We pretended to find Jemima Puddleduck and then we ducked into a nearby pub for warmth and some fish n chips. It was a good day. Lesson learned? That the family is willing to go to great lengths for their librarian mother/wife. And…that inspiration might strike a person at anytime, anywhere.
Potter’s story is fun to share with kiddos, especially during a writing lesson. The notion that ideas can be anywhere almost relaxes folks; instead of working so hard to come up with a character name, take a walk! See what might happen! Wonder if a great author will someday spy your headstone and use your name for a character in her book? Weirder things have happened!
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