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Oh to be in England

I have a master’s degree in English literature, so when we planned our first trip to Europe in 1979, I was thrilled that the first country we were to visit was England. As we approached Heathrow airport, I was thinking of Robert Browning’s poetic exclamation, “O to be in England, now that April’s here.”



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After signing into our hotel, we boarded the double decker bus to take a three hour tour led by the most knowledgeable guide I have ever had; geology, history, architecture, information about famous people, buildings, parks…


The next day we, along with hundreds of other tourists, visited Buckingham palace. I was mesmerized by the changing of the guards; the precision of the horses and visual impact of the red clad guards was an impressive scene.


Westminster Abbey was my most meaningful experience. I had not realized that so many of my favorite poets and authors are buried inside the Abbey. Overwhelmed with emotion, tears streamed down my face as I saw grave site after grave site of poets buried in Poets’ Corner: George Chaucer, William Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning among others.


Among the novelists: Charlotte Brontë, author of Jane Eyre; Emily Brontë, who wrote Wuthering Heights; Agatha Christie, master of mysteries; Jane Austin, Pride

and Prejudice.




Westminster Abbey


Another day we took a tour to Stratford on Avon. I was teaching a course on Shakespeare to high school students at the time. Around the wall of the theater were displays about Shakespeare and his plays. So I proceeded to explain to Lloyd about the folios when I got a strange feeling and turned around to discover I had attracted a group of tourists listening to my “lecture”.


Seated close to the stage and with scripts in hand, we enjoyed a production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.


Oh to be in England again, now that April’s here!

Wilma Gundy

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