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day 28: london calling

March 1, 2011

Day 28’s gift was the next installation in the riveting “Gifts to My Fifteen Nieces” series, as explained here.

Meet my ten year old niece, E.  Green-eyed and mischievous, warm weather finds her unselfconsciously running around outdoors in her bathing suit, examining bugs or picking flowers.  Never have I seen a child with such an affinity for animals — all kinds.  When we shared a vacation home with E and her parents over the summer, I commented to E’s mother that our neighbors must have an indoor dog.  I kept hearing frantic barking but wasn’t sure where it was coming from.  “Oh, no,” E’s mother laughed, “that’s just your niece.”  E can imitate dogs barking, cats meowing, and horses neighing with startling accuracy.

She is still a little girl, but she is on the verge of so much.

In three months, E and her family are moving here:

Well, they aren’t moving to Big Ben or to a double-decker bus, but they are moving to London.

I know how I feel about their move — I’m thrilled for their opportunity to experience another culture, I’ll miss them terribly but hope to have a free place to stay in London, I wonder if they will ever move back to the states — but I have no idea how E feels.  I wonder if she even knows how she feels.

I started keeping journals when I was a little girl.  (The first entry I’ve been able to locate was two sentences long, and is dated only “1981.”  In bloated, shaky handwriting I wrote, “I love Grandad.  He will be in my will”).

I always have blank notebooks on hand (lined, because I have terrible handwriting still), and Day 28’s gift is one such composition book for E:

Why take a blurry picture myself when Google Images does such a great job?

I resisted the urge to uglify its cover with scrapbook paper decorations, instead leaving the notebook’s adornment (or lack thereof) to its owner.  I don’t know if E will fill it with her London exploits or drawings of her favorite animals or letters to Santa, and I don’t really care.  I just hope she fills it with something.

In the summer of 1992 I wrote in my own journal, “I promise to write it all down.”  While I don’t demand that same promise of her, I hope E finds a way to document her brilliant adventure.

Cheers, y’all.  Thank you for showing up with me.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Tracy permalink
    March 1, 2011 10:52 am

    Wow. Beautiful, Anne. Tears are flowing. Thank you.

    What a perfect gift…along with making animal noises, E loves to write. In her recent application to a school in London, she wrote that she wants to be a writer when she grows up.

    We will miss you dearly and you ALWAYS have a place to stay in London. We love you!

  2. March 1, 2011 9:19 pm

    Dear Aunt Anne,
    Thanks! I love it! I can’t believe you are gonna get me a journal. I love journals. I also can make great Blue Whale sounds. Will you,Finn, Baxter and Uncle Steve come visit me in London? And maybe we can go on the London Eye together and see Patrick’s office. Well, not see it, but like look at it, but not inside. And I hope we can disover Big Ben together and a double decker bus. I’m nervous about going in taxis and I’m so excited because I’m going on The London Eye. I think it’s gonna be fantastic when we move, but I’m also sad because I won’t get to see Daddy and Aunt Heather and you and Finn and Baxter and Uncle Steve that much.

    Your Animal Noise Maker, Ellie

    • March 2, 2011 4:48 am

      How can we not come and visit you in London? We absolutely have to hear your blue whale sounds. I know you must be partly nervous about moving to London, but you are right — it will be fantastic. Maybe we can figure out how to Skype?
      Lots of love,
      Aunt Anne

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