|Taking off for Heathrow!|
I must confess to more than a few goose bumps as Steve turned into their property which housed the 390th some seventy years ago. Spotting that control tower – the same one Dad flew over on so many missions – was positively surreal, like stepping back in time. I could hardly wait to visit the museum which it now houses.
Just so you know, writing may now be my profession, but I’ll never find the adequate words to express how unforgettable our visit was with Lydia and Steve and their three adorable children – Fliss, Tommy, and Betsy. They’d decorated their home both inside and out with American flags and “welcome” banners to boot! Shortly after we arrived, Lydia served us a traditional “Sunday Roast” with all the trimmings - including Yorkshire pudding. SO good. We were astounded to each have our own room in their lovely home. Can you imagine having that many guest rooms?
|(Standing) Peter Kindred, President of the Parham Airfield Museum, with Dad and a museum visitor|
The next day we visited Framlingham Castle, the iconic 11th-century structure that was such a welcoming sight for the crews of the B-17s as they returned from missions. On a side note, Dad’s brother, my Uncle Ralph, researched our family’s genealogy several years ago and traced us back to Sir Roger Bigod, the Earl of Norfolk, who built the castle. Small world, eh?
Tuesday evening we ate fish and chips in the quaint village on the North Sea called Aldeburgh (which, pronounced to our Yankee ears sounded just like Oprah, keeping us confused to say the least.) Afterward Steve and Lydia took us to see The Late Edwina Black, a “whodunit” at Aldeburgh’s summer theater.
On Wednesday, we stopped by the Framlingham Church where in 1995, on a trip here to commemorate the 50th anniversary of VE Day, Mom and Dad attended services. (No, the building isn't leaning ... apparently the photographer was!)
We fell in love with Framlingham!
Later, Peter took Dad and me to the building which housed the 390th's chapel/movie theater. Talk about stepping back in time …
Then, on our last evening, Lydia had arranged a dinner river cruise on the Lady Florence. The weather was perfect, the captain’s running commentary was fascinating, the meal in the boat’s dining room was lots of fun, and the sunset … the perfect ending to a day of memories.
|Aaron Bradshaw, Hannah Moody, Peter Kindred, Lydia and Steve Kirk|
|Dad, signing Peter's copy of The Story of the 390th Bombardment Group|
(also known as "The Blue Book")
Shortly afterward we had to say our goodbyes.
|Tommy, Steve, Fliss, Betsy, and Lydia|
Later that morning, we made sure Dad was taken care of for his flight back home. Afterward, Hannah, Aaron, and I checked in at a beautiful rental home in London where we stayed for three more days to see the sights. More on that next time.
Of course, I’ve only skimmed the surface here, sharing highlights of our visit, but thanks for letting me share them. I had a feeling this would be “the trip of a lifetime” – and oh my goodness, was it ever!