Celebration time-46 years later…


Lake Placid. New York State

Lake Placid. New York State

Today, March 13, 1967, my family and I first set foot on the shores of this United States of America after a fairly uneventful trip over from England.The reasons for emigrating were several but I remember that the one that finally pushed us into making the decision to move was probably the least important.

I received a letter from my Mum, who had come over just after WWII to marry a GI she met in England and it went something like this. “Well, it is 8:00 am and the temperature is already making its way up to 80 degrees. It’s going to be another beautiful, warm day. I can have your apartment ready in a couple of weeks and Hermie, (her GI Husband) said you can have his old car”. We were just coming off three weeks of non stop rain and it was miserable and cold as only the English weather can be and my Morris  Mini car was developing a slipping clutch among other things and I turned to my wife and asked what she thought. Six months later and we were getting off the ship at New York harbor on the famous Pier 11.

Queen Mary

Queen Mary

We traveled over on the Queen Mary, almost the last voyage that beautiful ship made. Shortly after, that grand old lady was taken out of service and retired to a dry dock in Long Beach, California to end her days as a luxury Hotel. On our trip, the crew outnumbered the passengers.

For most of the voyage, the weather was fine and although the ship had stabilizers, it did tend to rock and roll a bit especially below decks. It was a bit disconcerting to walk up or down the stairs (and there were many of them) only to find that the next step had either dropped away or had risen up to meet your foot. Very strange sensation.

We did run into a storm on day 6 which blew us off course causing us to dock 12 hours later than scheduled. The food was fabulous although the only ones to enjoy it were my step-son and myself. The others in the family, three girls and my wife, just couldn’t get their sea-legs and spent a lot of time between the toilet and the bunk. Oh yes, we even brought over our Cocker Spaniel who was in a kennel on the top deck.

A little town in upstate New York

A little town in upstate New York

We drove up to a little sleepy town in the Mohawk Valley, named Fort Plain in Upper State New York about 200 miles from the city where we would spend the next ten eventful years and many adventures and stories later. My Mum had sent me a picture of the house in the winter just after a snow storm. I looked at it and thought how pretty it looked with the wind making a huge snowdrift that went from the ground to the top of the roof on a two-storied house completely blocking in the garage doors. It never occurred to me that someone would have to dig a way out to get the car out or to do anything else, or that it would get cold, very cold and that winters lasted 6 months of the year.

That night, as though the weather was there to welcome us, it snowed thirteen inches of wet snow. I had never seen that much snow in one place and had to wonder just what we had let ourselves in for. It was too late for any regrets as we were well and truly, lock, stock and barrel committed to making a go of it. All of our worldly possessions were with us in trunks, and suitcases and there was no going back.

That was 43 years ago. I spent ten years in New York State and after the marriage failed, some of which was caused by wife’s homesickness for her family in England, decided that I needed to be somewhere warmer. By that time, I had re-married a younger woman so when the opportunity arose, we happily packed our belongings into a U-Haul truck and made the long drive to Austin, Texas. No one told me what a 100 degrees feels like not just occasionally but day after day for most of the summer but I have to say that I much prefer the heat of an Austin summer to the cold of a New York winter.

In truth, the move to Texas was an immigration in itself with the only difference that we didn’t leave the American shores or get to pass the Statue of Liberty.

Snow in New York State

Snow in New York State

Now at age 77, three wives and six kids later, I live quietly alone with my five dogs and two cats spending my days working in the garden or writing in my blog. I have a lot of stories to tell with new ones almost every day and many of my earlier years have already been posted in this blog. I personally have no regrets in the move from England to the U.S. although I can’t speak for those who made the trip with me, my wife and the four kids. I’m sure they have their own opinions on the subject.

I wonder what the next adventure is in store for me? I plan on living an active life till I’m 120 or so. Just as long as we don’t get thirteen inches of wet snow here in Texas tonight.

Still plenty of time to see lots of changes…

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An Adirondack Mystery-Chapter 1


Adirondacks in Essex County, New York

Adirondack Mountains

Life in a small town can be very interesting as I found out after I drove through the Adirondacks in Upper New York State one Autumn day.

My name is Mike Bennet. I earn my living as a Project Engineer and I work for one of this countries largest Construction Companies. It’s one of those sort of jobs where I spend anything up to four years in one place working on a project. I build interesting things like skyscrapers and very large buildings.  Once, I was a very happily married man but my wife, whom I loved very much, got bored with the time I spent away from home and even though she could have come with me, prefered to stay close to her family in Texas. She finally left me for another guy. I guess that I only have myself to blame but I was so much in love with this lady that I saw through any faults that she may have had. I should have known that life was too good to be true and should have suspected something was amiss when she no longer ended our phone conversations with “I love you” as we used to do.  I was away for long periods at a time with my work but was usually able to manage a month of vacation every year and spend it with her.

Such are the perils of women. They have this way of sucking you in and then spitting you back out after they have chewed you over and get what they want. I suppose that I am being a little unfair as not all ladies are like that. Just my luck that I happened to find the one’s that are. It can’t possibly be my fault can it now…

I should have known better as here I am going on fifty, losing my hair and already in the clutches of wine, women and song having led a pretty boisterous life travelling around with the construction company.  My work had taken me all over the good old U.S. of A and had shown me all sides of life, some good, some bad. I had found myself temporarily out of a job as I was in between projects and the next one was not ready to start for three months. I was due a long vacation not having had one in almost a year since the last job ended and having been pretty prudent in the past, not withstanding what the wife had cost me, had some money saved to where I was very comfortably off.  I did not have a regular fixed home anymore as I was always away with my work and my marriage, had cost me any chance of retaining the home after the Judge had finished with me.
I was a little bitter at the world and women in general and blamed them for everything. Of course the fact that I was stupid enough to like them had nothing to do with it.  At least I was lucky in one respect that my ex-wife had been unable to have children so at least there were no kids to suffer the indignities of being divorced.

My last project had been a high-rise in Buffalo, New York and after wrapping it up, I decided that I would drive around for a bit stopping wherever I felt like it and seeing where I would end up. I found myself back in the Adirondacks which is a beautiful place to be except in the middle of winter unless you like the snow and cold. I came across this little village that composed of a group of houses with a few shops and a couple of bars and restaurants. I had no timetable to be anywhere and I stopped at the first restaurant I saw aptly named the Steak House and it appealed to me enough to stop to get a decent meal.

I walked inside and the waitress seated me and gave me a bright and cheerful smile. I ordered a beer to wash down the food and was busy studying the menu when into my lowered gaze stepped the most beautiful pair of legs. In my mind, I knew it was not my waitress as I already knew what her legs looked like as I followed her to my a table.

“I have brought you your beer” she said in a pleasant voice. “Let Grace or me know if you need another”. Grace it turns out, is the waitress. I thanked her and watched her as she walked back to the bar area, a thing of beauty from behind… especially from behind.

I ordered my food from Grace and thought about how things were for me at this moment in time and what I might do to change it. I finished my meal and wandered over to the bar at the end of the restaurant where the same waitress who had brought me my beer, was working and sat down on one of those tall stools. You know the ones I mean. You almost need a step-ladder to get on the thing and once there have to move very carefully as they don’t provide parachutes and it’s a long way down.

I watched the barmaid as she went about her business. I took a guess as to how old she was and figured her to be in her mid to late thirties. She had long blonde hair, legs that wouldn’t quit attached to the most beautiful body you have ever seen which got me wondering how much of it was real and how much due to modern-day surgery. She moved like a model and had a quick smile for all of her customers. She spotted me at the end of the bar and came over walking in a slow lithesome way that trained models use.

“Did you enjoy your meal”?  she asked ” and what can I get you this time. Another beer”?
“Yes, the meal was very enjoyable. No more beer, got to watch my figure” I said “I think I will have a scotch on the rocks” and watched her as she went about her work moving with an easy grace and a ready smile. She came back with the drink and said, “My name is Julie if you need another drink”.
I thanked her and made a mental note of the name.

Click on Chapter 2 for the next episode

An Adirondack Mystery – Chapter 11


I made my way over to the bar. It was pretty quiet as it was early and the usual night crowd had not yet arrived. Julie was not behind the bar but the first waitress I met, Grace was filling in. “Hello Grace, where’s Julie”? I asked
She looked at me and said, “Whats the matter, don’t you want to talk to me instead. Am I not cute enough”
“I’m sorry” I said, “That didn’t come out right at all. Of course you are just fine to talk to”.
She laughed and said “I was just kidding, don’t take it so seriously. Relax a bit, what do you want to drink”. So I ordered a scotch and sat there watching Grace as she went about her work. It seemed an awful familiar scenario me drinking watching Grace instead of Julie and mentally comparing the two. Grace seemed different from when I first saw her. She appeared much more confident and I couldn’t help but notice how her shape had changed from when she first served me in the Restaurant. She was much more sexy and looked more like Julie than I first noticed. I shrugged it off as not paying enough attention the first time, drank my scotch and headed for the door back to my hotel. I planned on moving out in the morning although I didn’t really have any plans of where to go. Definitely somewhere warmer, I thought as the cold night air had frost about it and anywhere to get  away from the horrors of the afternoon.

There was a knock on the door. I looked at my watch which said it was 2:00 am. “Hello” I asked, “Who is it”?
“It is me , Julie. let me in its freezing out here”
I hurriedly threw on a shirt and pants my mind in a whirl wondering why Julie was visiting me at this hour of the morning and unlocked the door.  Julie stood there looking as beautiful as ever.
“Can I come in” she asked, “I’m cold”
“What are you doing out at this time of night and yes come in, come in”.
Julie slid through the door and even though she may have been cold, it didn’t stop her from moving in a provocative way which I was very quick to notice. I also noticed that she had more than a vague resemblance to Mrs Duncan but thought that was ridiculous. She slid over and sat on the bed taking off her coat as she did. She seemed more beautiful than ever but at the same time didn’t quite look the same. “You know that women, especially beautiful women, don’t usually knock on my door at 2:00 am in the morning. Although I am flattered, I am thinking that there is more to this than meets the eye. What gives”? “Nothing gives” she said “I just wanted some company and you are attracted to me so I figured I would visit you”.
I couldn’t believe my luck that this beautiful women who I had admired for a month was ready to share my bed as I could think of no other reason she would be in my Hotel room at 2:00 am in the morning. Being a true red-blooded male, I sat down next to her on the bed and she turned towards me with a look in her eye that was so inviting. I leaned forward and kissed her to see what would happen. She enthusiastically returned my kiss and before long, we were under the covers all involved with the heat of the moment.
After, she lay back and said, “I heard about what happened today at Mrs Duncan’s house. Jack filled me in. I told you to stay away from her but no, you just had to barrel on in to find out for yourself. You could have been killed and she would go on living for another 50 years looking the same as she does now”.
“How do you know so much about her” I asked fearing the worst.
“Because, she was my sister and we are two of a kind”  she said as she leaned over and kissed me.
I tried to pull away from her but as before, I was back in the dreamland of not moving, not fighting totally under her spell.
“It is unlucky for you that you have stumbled in to this small town. I tried to tell you to leave while you had the chance as I knew Fiona was going after you. I couldn’t warn you as you would have not believed me. Lucky for you, Jack and Bill were trying to protect you but they are not here tonight. They suspected Fiona was being very careless and leaving too many loose ends so they were watching her or she might have led the humans to discover who we really are. The reason they know about me and Fiona and now Grace is because they too are a part of my race. The whole village is. We are from a different world many light years away and have been here for many years. We all need human sustenance to continue living and undiscovered. I did not want you to give me what I want without me giving you something in return and I know you wanted me. Sorry Bill” she said as she turned towards me and kissed me as she folded herself around me and absorbed my body into hers…

She left the hotel as she had arrived, silently with no one to see her. She made her way to Mrs Duncan’s house and as she walked over the threshold, she changed to look exactly like Mrs Duncan as Fiona was reborn. Back at the bar, Grace looked more and more like Julie as she gradually became her and a new Grace was the waitress.

Such is the life in this small sleepy little village in the Adirondacks.