Saturday, July 27, 2013

In Which She Muses about Mewses

I spent my undergraduate years in this Hall of Residence. Lindsell Hall was located in Swiss Cottage and there is some pretty spectacular architecture in that borough and the neighboring St. John's Wood and Hampstead. Obviously Lindsell is not a shining example. The bay window on the top floor with two heads in the window shows how the large rooms were divided to make two smaller rooms—the heads are in different rooms. It was in those rooms that little groups of us gathered late at night to drink coffee and to plan our future lives.

My little clique included Jane King (Chemistry), Audrey Ashworth (Classics, and that's her head in the middle row), Sylvia Smith and Jackie Walker (Geography), and Gillian Levesque (Biology).  There must have been more and if I could only find a photo I have of one of our gatherings, I could come up with more names. One of our plans, influenced I am sure by the local real estate, was to graduate and move into a cozy mews. I suspect a Mr. Rochester look-alike with a nice income came into it somewhere, and for some reason we thought married life included dinners of duck a l'orange.

The graduation part came and went and some of us stayed in London. No mews for me, but a share in a shabby apartment across the street from the former residence of Dr. Crippen. We kept in touch in various ways with some of our late night coffee drinking friends and I knew Gillian married her long-time boyfriend, Colin, right after graduation. I also knew Colin was working as a teacher and I think Gill was too. One day I and probably Sylvia, though I can't remember, received an invitation to dinner with Gill and Colin. They were living in a lovely little mews cottage and—you guessed it—we had duck a l'orange for dinner.

I have tried frequently to get in touch with Gill and she came back to mind a couple of weeks ago.  I love the Friday Arena section of the Wall Street Journal where they describe real estate both in the States and all over the world. I have read avidly about luxury developments in Hong Kong and New York, condos in Miami, stark residences in San Francisco and cozy cottages in New Hampshire. The editors are very fond of writing about London and the expensive developments with floors excavated below ground, and the other week the subject was mews. A mews, two mews ? Two mewses?

Can you read that? $10.49 million. Gill and Colin were such modest people and I do wonder what happened to them.

Gill Levesque, where are you?

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