Wednesday, July 23, 2008

England Trip - 25 Years Later

Today marks the 25th anniversary of my trip to England. The 22 day adventure was a gift from my Grandma Hildegarde Bader to commemorate my high school graduation. I hooked up with a travel group sponsored by Johnson County Community College that included Tom Rooker, Melissa Brown (later Mrs. Tom Rooker), Mark A., and the two Judys: Judy Oden and Judy Spencer, both Shawnee Mission North English teachers. Our group leaders were Mr. and Mrs. Matt Campbell and numbered about 20 people. We met once a month at the Campbell home for several months leading up to the journey, so we'd be familiar with one another before we got started. All participants received a couple of JCCC credit hours in return for submitting a project of our own design. I assembled a photo scrap book during the voyage. Unfortunately I did not save the negatives nor did I keep a copy of the project. I may have a contact sheet so I'll see what I can find.

July 23rd, 1983 - We left KCI for Chicago at 3:05pm, after a lengthy lay-over where I watched a bag truck trundle past the terminal lounge window and drop a suitcase on the tarmac, we boarded TWA flight 770 at 8pm.

Flight 770 was one of those classic 747s with the spiral stairs that led up to "Ambassador Class", one step above first-class. Two of our group travelers, a nice middle-aged married couple, he was bald with glasses, she was not, found themselves displaced by a seat assignment snafu, so TWA bumped them up to Ambassador class for the trip across the Atlantic. Lucky dogs.

I sat next to another JCCC travel-mate, a single woman in her 20s, travelling alone. I don't recall her name. She was a shy one, quiet, bookish. The in-flight movie was a dreadful romantic comedy with Dudley Moore and Elizabeth McGovern called Lovesick. I watched it without the headphone rental, but that didn't help.

We arrived in London about 9:35am (local time) the next morning. I didn't sleep much. I was too excited. I remember looking out the airplane window and seeing British row houses for the first time. Everything was different and exciting. We landed, picked up our luggage, waited in line at the customs check, got our passports stamped, and loaded a transport bus to our hotel, The Onslow Court, in Kensington.

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