Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 4, 1976 · Page 100
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 100

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 4, 1976
Page 100
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Page 100 article text (OCR)

by Robert G. Deindorfer LOWER SLAUGHTER, ENGLAND. B ntil the day it happened I hadn't - ever worried much about feeling homesick for America. Month after month, for three years, life in a small stone cottage in the soft English countryside unfolded exactly as we hoped it would. ' At the ticktock age of 50 it had struck me that it was time to write a couple of books, kill my quota of trout and salmon and generally unwind in a leisurely atmosphere. Lower Slaughter, population 191, a picture-postcard village out beyond Oxford in the English Cotswolds, seemed ideal for our purposes. "f\ change, that will be a very nice thing," my wife Joan remarked once we were aloft, jet engines screaming, rising over diminishing rooftops and the metropolitan sprawl, with America soon only a speck out the window. Until the day it happened rural England turned out to be a perfect setting for our family daydream. Among countless other pleasures, we saw swans drifting down twining rivers, fox hunters in formal dress following the hounds down misty green hillsides, remnants of antique castles leaning against the speckled skies. England was also a convenient launching pad for sightseeing trips to France, Scotland, Holland, Wales, Switzerland and Italy. No culture shock Fortunately, we managed to adjust to our new surroundings without registering the culture shock several American friends had warned us we might suffer. Our 8-year-old son adapted so comfortably, in fact,that he simultaneously led his school class at both merit marks awarded for superior achievement in courses such as mathematics and penalty marks for breaches such as kicking a soccer ball through a window during phys ed. Until the day it happened the novel environment even blotted out some absolutes I thought we'd never forget. One evening we sat pleasantly groaning after a memorable feed of smoked salmon, filet steak and chocolate souffle when the genial innkeeper stopped by our table. "A pleasant Thanksgiving was it, Mr. Deindorfer?" he inquired. "How's that?" I blankly said. "A pleasant Thanksgiving. Your Thanksgiving. Today is your American Thanksgiving, you know." If I felt a belated wrench at having forgotten, it wasn't only for the traditional drumstick and pumpkin pie but also for the traditional football game on television. Voices of home The day it happened was typically British, gray and tentative, a day that couldn't quite make up-its mind. Driving a back road toward the nearby village of Upper Swell, I saw a wide car, an Illinois license plate, fellow citizens, two adults and three teen-agers, the parents spreading a picnic cloth in a field, the youngsters talking, playing, whooping with laughter. Since we had encountered a number of other visitors from the same familiar country before, it wasn't really unusual--yet somehow it was enough. All of a sudden I longed for America so much it caught at the throat. I've been chronically homesick for the fa- continued Ready to give up their placid life in England for the hustle and bustle of the U.S. is the Deindorfer family of New York, seen here in front of the stone cottage that they've occupied for three years. loan and Robert stroll through the streets of Lower Slaughter, where the pace is unhurried and traffic problems are non-existent. Its a great place to unwind but a little like living in a picture postcard. 22

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