Monday, May 27, 2013

Next month will mark the fiftieth anniversary of a major turning point in my life.   At McGraw-Hill I turned in my resignation, ending a stressful period in New York publishing.  I ventured into the unknown--a new lifestyle in a new country.  I wasn't totally without resources, as I had a Fubright Award--later extended for a second year--to London, where I was nominally attached to the University.

Those were the days before "swinging London" took off.  The general atmosphere was remarkably soothing and placid, and I spent most of my time soaking up learned lectures (there were no formal classes) and going every day to the British Library (then located in the British Museum).  Under the great dome I read in all sorts of subjects, fantasizing that my industriousness prepared me for a special purchase on life--disregarding the more basic fact that it is life itself that so prepares one.  So I became a know-it-all, to the displeasure of many.

In London I embarked on my first stable relationship with another guy, who was also an American student.  Nor having any other models, we aped heterosexual couples, whom we eagerly and pleasantly had to dinner.  We ended up staying in London for four years.  When I finally returned to these shores in 1967, I had to "translate" dollar prices I saw in stores into pounds, shillings, and pence!

Time elides many things.  There have been vast changes.  But somehow it is as if those years in London were only yesterday.


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