On the Street Where We Live: A New Old British Icon

an iconic British phone box now on our street

an iconic British phone box now on our street

Our street has been graced by the addition of a freshly-painted red telephone box, relocated from a nearby corner to within view of our apartment sometime while I was in the U.S.

The Brits are so brilliant at preserving their icons, from red post boxes and telephone boxes to village greens and seaside piers to historic pubs and walking paths, castles and country homes and of course, their magnificent gardens.

So I was tickled when I walked onto our balcony and Clive said, ‘Look over there.’ Something about the cheery red phone box makes me smile.

I’ve read of multiple villages which have turned their community telephone box into a lending library; others maintain them as a focal point for local announcements and community bulletin postings.

For me, I love the fact that so many cultural, historical and just plain fun icons are preserved around the country; love the way the red phone boxes stand out against the green countryside and, especially on a day like today, the grey sea and sky.

For a truly delightful ‘salute to all things that make the English countryside so very special’ I recommend Icons of England, a wonderful collection of short, enlightening and amusing pieces edited by Bill Bryson, a fellow American living in the UK.

* * * * *

On a completely different subject, I can’t post my weekly letter without acknowledging an event many of us had been expecting but dreading. Our beautiful friend Laurie died Sunday night at home in Virginia, after a valiant year-long battle with brain cancer. I’m so thankful her beloved partner was by her side, as were several close others, and my heart grieves for Laurie and her partner. Perhaps I’ll write more about this amazing woman one day. I have so many memories and photographs of our college years at University of Michigan and countless get-togethers since then, and of my last visit with Laurie this past May (thanks to Mary, who’s also in the photos below). I will also always be grateful beyond words for Laurie’s support and love for my son and their own friendship in Washington, DC. A superstar lawyer, an astute intellectual, a distinguished contributor to causes around the world, she was above all a caring and committed friend. I was blessed to be one of hers. Rest in peace, dearest Laurie.

women young, photo aged -- Laurie on left, Boston Common, 1975

women young, photo aged — Laurie on left, Boston Common, 1975

photo recent, women a bit older -- friends for 40+ years, with Laurie and Mary in Virginia 2013

photo recent, women a bit older — friends for 40+ years, with Laurie and Mary in Virginia 2013

Thank you for reading. Next week’s letter will be from Felixstowe.

One Response

  1. While it is so hard to lose friends when you know these remarkable women still have so much to offer, the gift of their friendship over a long period of years is a precious and loving memory. Even when we have kept up with these dear people and have seen them with more than a few gray hairs, although perhaps artfully disguised, college friends never seem to grow old, and when we are with them, in real life or in our dreams, we are forever young.

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