An envisioning. . . . railway into London and a bright summer day in 1915.

Oh to be there.

Up early and a big breakfast downstairs with Mama instead of upstairs in the nursery. A housemaid called up for war work and another one off to become a nurse. Not enough help to carry trays all the way up anymore.

Food like Sunday in Devon at the big hotel. Bacon, kippers and all that with a little bowl of oatmeal somewhere but easy to ignore.

Mother’s parasol fetched and out the door to wait for Papa to bring up the car. Off to the station and into London.

A treat. Home mostly. Papa needing the car and the army having taken all the horses to send off to France. Cabs yes, but not for a child. No, for a Christmas fete at the church perhaps but otherwise a pair of sturdy boots and one foot before another. That and girls all right until they stuff you in a corset. A cab then at least if there’s a beau around.

But everything fine. No rain for a treat and little brother bouncing on the seat. A new elephant house and maybe a giraffe. Lunch at the café inside and home when it begins to get dark.

But a stop at the shop at the gate and a postcard. The gate and all trees and sky.

Something to keep forever  . . .a treat day and a memory made to live forever and ever in your heart . . .

"London - the Zoo - Main Entrance." Vintage postcard.
“London – the Zoo – Main Entrance.” Vintage postcard. via

An envisioning . . . 1915 and the ice garden by the Biltmore for tea.

Oh to be here.

New York City, Christmas shopping and the stores filled. War yes but in Europe. Cousins in the officer corps in Britain but not called up yet. Scary but only kissing cousins. Related to everyone somehow but not a way that anyone can remember. No, someone gone up to Northumberland on that trip and invited in for tea but nothing more. All the way back nearly to the revolution that ancestor was, anyway.

More in America maybe but not yet. One of those German U boats coming up from the bottom and giving everyone in Baltimore a spook but gone back down to the bottom of the sea and off to someplace else. A good thing, really. Uncle’s ships filled with things for Argentina and Brazil taking up half the docks when they came in, so close that tourists tried to scramble on to watch the German crew wave the kaiser’s flag.

But New York fine. No U boats the paper said and the grandchildren coming for Christmas. A tree to be bought and ornaments hung but all that for the maids and the housemen to do.

All the packages loaded into a cab and sent uptown for someone else to take in. Tomorrow to write out the notes and have the lady’s maid wrap them up.

Tea at four at the new ice garden. Inside the Biltmore the last time but outside now. A new thing to go with the skating rink. Funny. Summer wicker chairs with winter slipcovers,  a big fireplace roaring along and big windows. Ferns in baskets and skaters to applaud even though they cannot hear.

Four friends and together. Bridesmaids for each other and bonded for life. Something different later maybe but all right for now . . . .and hopefully next year too.

Tea room, the Biltmore ice gardens. ca. 1915-19.
Tea room, the Biltmore ice gardens. ca. 1915-19. American. Byron and Company, maker. via Collection of the Museum of the City of New York. via