11 This Must be Heaven

by admin on October 14, 2011

The hotel clerk had been alerted to their arrival and explained that their accommodations and meals had all been provided for by Mr. Dunwell.  The nightmare of their travels seemed to melt into a fairy tale dream of good fortune.  After checking in the porter led them upstairs to their room.  The big oak door opened into a splendid view of unimagined luxury.  A sitting room with a fireplace gave way to a bedroom with two huge beds each covered with the thickest down comforters ever to be seen.  Off to the side of the bedroom was a private bathroom.  (The rowhouses in 1940’s England still had detached brick outhouses.)  Brass fixtures adorned the marble pedestal sink and bathtub.  And there in the corner was… a flushable commode.  The boys dashed over to it and repeatedly pulled down on the handle.  Round and round the water went.  Amazing.

The porter advised the family that dinner was served in the Grand Dining Room promptly at 6:00 P.M. as he exited the room and the door closed behind him.  That was all she wrote Ida burst into tears.  This had been the worst and best day of her life.  After leaving her war ravaged homeland, crossing an ocean and half a continent to end this day this way was just too much to comprehend. Harold held her close and tried to understand it himself.  They each took turns bathing, then Ida washed the boys.  From their suitcases they each put on their best clothes before making their way to the Grand Dining Room.

Waiting to be seated Ida looked around the room.  About thirty other guests were already sitting for dinner.  Most were well-heeled travelers from back East, the remaining few were business-looking fellows on their journeys.  Harold and Ida felt out of place but tried to make the best of it.  The good news was that Ida was fastidious about her appearance and manners.  A trait she had instilled in the boys.  You can’t beat English manners.  The maitre d’ escorted them to a window table for four with a beautiful view of the prairie.

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