How I Went to America. 1965

Here’s how it happened.

I think I have said that I was left £7000 for a “university education”.

When I was 17, our family went on a skiing holiday in Southern Germany.

We stayed in a resort hotel with a lot of American families from the military bases in Heidelberg and Frankfurt.

One evening, when we were sitting having dinner, I saw a girl sitting alone with her family.

She was very attractive.

After dinner, I went over to her table and asked her parents if I could invite her to dance.

“Better ask her”, said the father.

So I did. And after a few dances she joined our table.

I saw her for just a few days, but I knew I wanted to be part of her world.

So I said to my father: “I want to go to America”.

To my surprise, he said: “Well you have some money.  Let’s ask Malise to help.”

Malise was a distant relation, always spoken of as a bit of a ne’er do well, who lived in New York.

He turned out to be an interesting and pleasant man, a minor painter, in the New York school.

While he was always very nice to me, he clearly did not want me hanging around him in New York, so he suggested a big, Midwestern university. He must have done some research or had some sort of contact there. I never found out.

So that September I was saying goodbye on the Liverpool docks to my sister and a few friends who had come to see me off to New York in one of the last Atlantic crossings.

Two weeks later, I was enrolling in classes when a blonde girl came up to me and said “I’m Julie. I’d like you to invite me for coffee”.

I was British. The Beatles were famous. It was all so easy.