I have lived my entire life in Johnson County. A product of suburbia, I am absolutely enamored with the city. The lights, the honking, the people, the chaos, the fashion, the magnificent buildings; big city environments are to me, captivating and inspiring. New York and Chicago are two of my favorites, and I knew that following Spring Break 2010, London would soon top my list. As expected, London is my new favorite city; I’ve already talked of going back, and I just returned to Lawrence! Though the city will always hold a special place in my heart, I must admit that it was while traveling outside of the city that I was able to envision my future.
The City of Westminster is home to Abbey Road. Possibly the most famous road to ever be traveled, home to Abbey Road Studios where the Beatles recorded their hits that forever changed the face of music, this stretch of asphalt and zigzagged white street paint is iconic. This place is somewhat sacred to billions of music lovers around the world. Similarly, there is a place just two blocks around the corner from Abbey Road Studios that will someday be very important to me as well.
Located on Circus Road, there is a two-story brick home with white trimmed windows. Ivy creeps up the left-side of the house and the detached garage. Both home and garage are separated from the rest of this perfectly English neighborhood by the black, iron gate that runs the length of the front yard. Admiring this picturesque home, I could not help but imagine the gate wide open, young children preparing for their walk to the nearby elementary school, mother preparing for her routine trip to the local market to pick up vegetables for the evening’s meal, all while the family dog chases cars back and forth, back and forth. The scene is the same every morning. It is classic; just the way that I envision my future home.
Separated by a park that is complete with a walking trail, a large pond, and fantastic bench spots, New and Old Highgate are both equally charming. Yet, Old Highgate is the area with which I fell in love. Winding down a hill from the infamous cemetery, known as the home to Karl Marx, I stumbled upon this area, which at first looked rather ordinary, but was chock full of character. First, and namely my favorite, was “Forks and Corks.” A double-wide storefront, one could tell this was a Mom and Pop joint, the left side of which was “Forks,” the right, “Corks.” Though we didn’t venture inside, by the name of the store alone, I understood the whole town. Cue the movie music: a mid-thirties aged Englishman, tall and dignified, saunters down the hill from his cottage and stops at the vendor on the corner to pick up his morning paper, just the right amount of reading to keep him busy during the 20-minute tube commute to his office in the heart of the city. Paper in tow, he stops in “Forks.” A few minutes later, he emerges, coffee and pastry in left hand, paper tucked under his right arm. Fast forward ten hours. Rounding the corner from the station, he makes a slight detour into the self-named flower shop just to the west of “Forks.” Now with a bouquet of lilies, he bounces two doors over to “Corks.” Here, he makes conversation with the store owner, who has become one of his close companions, and fifteen minutes later, he waves goodbye and shouts “See you tomorrow!” as he steps out the door; this time having picked up a bottle of red wine. Content and smiling, he wanders back up the hill. Swinging open the cherry red front door, he sets the wine on the table and the flowers he arranges into a vase for his wife. End scene. Someday, I will live in a town like Highgate. Someday, I will frequent “Forks and Corks.” Someday, this man in the gray suit will be my husband.
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