About the Author

   
Marie is an instructor of English at Sacred Heart University and recently completed her MFA in Creative Writing at Fairfield University. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children and her faithful English Springer Spaniel, "the artful" Dodger.
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Prologue: Fulham

Oh to be in England now that April’s there. 

-          Robert  Browning

It was two-thirty in the morning; a three hour delay out of JFK, put me into Heathrow well after my expected arrival time. My taxi pulled up to a light green row house with a honey colored wooden door at the middle of the block, a lamp post in the street illuminating a row of lavender along a black wrought iron fence surrounding a small front garden. I paid the driver the sixteen pound fare, noticing the varying faces and colors of the Queen on the bills in my hand, the currency new and unfamiliar to me. A soft, early Spring shower shrouded the empty street in a misty haze, the other row houses disappearing into it as I glanced around before opening the gate of 14 Brookfield Road, Fulham.  I searched my bag for an umbrella; the one-way ticket I saw instead was a hint at just how much I was vested in this trip. The rate of exchange, however, at about 1.65, made it an expensive investment in an unpredictable future. I rang the bell. Daffodils and rose bushes filled the beds along the front of the house; it was reminiscent of every picture I had of an English cottage garden. A light appeared in a third floor window.

 My newly acquired Irish passport, resting next to the ticket, a relic of the charming Irish tradition of granting citizenship to the grandchildren of Irish nationals, afforded me the possibility of an indefinite stay. As I pushed them aside, still searching for my small travel umbrella, I wondered what my grandparents, God rest their souls, would have made of me standing there, having left the “old world”  in their twenties for the promise of the American Dream via Ellis Island and, ultimately,  Brooklyn.  What was a nice Irish girl like me doing in a place like this, I thought, glancing around at the distinctly English landscape before me? I supposed it all began when I first opened up a book of Keats, or Blake, or Tennyson, or Wordsworth.  Wasn’t that how a lifelong devotion to the English literary aesthetic always began? Wasn’t that what led me down the path to becoming an Irish Anglophile? Someone who would leave behind a good job, a full life, everything and everyone she had ever loved and known for a country in which she had no roots, no family, no friends and no job? What was I trying to find? Maybe Irish Anglophile wasn’t quite the right word for me.

 A bleary-eyed young woman opened the door following what seemed to me an eternity in the cool, damp night air. ‘Hello, I’m Sarah, I let out a room here too’, she said in an enchanting accent which I later learned was considered quite posh. ‘I expected you hours ago’. She showed me up the stairs. ‘Top of the third landing to the right, we’ll chat in the morning’. I had arrived at my new home, begun my new life, in London.  I was twenty-seven.

 Looking back, as the memories of those halcyon days of my life in London recede into the background of my current life, they call to mind all of the questions that I had then about living intentionally and with a sense of purpose about my work and my life. The journey, in that sense, in search of answers, continues. The vignettes that follow are my love letters to a city which revealed to me so much about myself.