December 25, 1961 – England

Washington Hotel, London, England – Clear, frosty and cold

     Edith and I slept late because we’d had such trouble sleeping last night due to the cold.  Edith and I ordered room service and I was excited when I found out that Eggs Benedict were on the menu here.  After breakfast Edith and I made ourselves ready to travel to spend the holiday with my relative, Lt. Leroy Chambers, his wife, Joan, and their children in Braintree, Essex.

     I called my cousin Leroy so he could give me directions to get to his house.  Edith and I bundled up made our way down to the lobby where I asked the clerk at the front desk if they could get us more blankets or additional heaters for our room.  I was glad when they said they could accommodate us.  We asked the door man to call us a taxi to take us to the train station.  It was very cold and we felt it hit us full in the face as we walked outside to get into the vehicle.  The temperature was around freezing and even though the sun was shining it didn’t melt the heavy frost on the ground or buildings.  Leroy had told me which train we needed to take but had cautioned me that we would need to change trains and then get off at Chelmsford.  Leroy asked me to call him when we got there and he would come pick us up. 

     We met a nice boy on the first leg of the train trip and even though I was pretty sure we could find our own way I was ecstatic that he helped us get to the right train for the final leg of our trip to Chelmsford.  Once we arrived at the depot I made a call to Leroy.  If the boy, John, hadn’t been there to help us it would have been an ordeal for Edith and I to maneuver by ourselves.  John even waited with us to make sure we were all right till Leroy arrived to pick us up.

     It was so nice to see Leroy again since the last time had been when he was a child.  Leroy’s wife and children were wonderful and had invited us to share their turkey dinner.  We had a delicious traditional meal with them and then visited for several hours before Leroy took us back to the train station and made sure we got on the right train.  Our trip going back wasn’t nearly as complicated as our trip going to Essex and we met a really nice family traveling back to London too.  We visited with them about our trip and they were interested in knowing about the various places we had been.  It felt good to finally understand the language again.  Once we reached the London train depot we were able to catch a taxi easily to go back to our hotel. 

London from Hotel

     Edith got out of the taxi ahead of me and walked off to the entrance without waiting for me to get out or offering to help pay for the fare.  Since she just looked away and kept walking I pulled out enough money to pay for the whole fare.  I was going to be glad to get home so I wouldn’t have to spend all my time with Edith.  Once I was inside I refrained from talking to her and I noticed she avoided any reference to the taxi ride.

     When we got to our room I found they had brought us a few more blankets and an additional heater and I knew we would be a lot warmer that night.  Once I’d taken off my coat and got settled all I really wanted to do was just relax for the rest of the evening. 

     Edith and I ordered soup from room service to eat for our dinner because we weren’t exceedingly hungry.  Then after we ate Edith wanted to play cards but I was tired and begged off.  Instead I took a long bath and went to bed.


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