My husband has a job in which he often travels to Europe. One of the best perks of his job is being able to live for a bit in Brussels, and also bringing the children on frequent trips to Europe. My husband and I felt lucky that we were able to have our children experience much of the world, at little cost to ourselves. While my husband worked, I became an expert at finding free museums and the cheapest ways to eat and travel. Both my daughters, Evelyn and Aynsley, loved to travel then, and have kept that love into adulthood.
In 2005 my younger daughter Aynsley and I were set to travel to London. My husband was needed there to work, and I knew London has wonderful and free museums. We arrived in London, via the Chunnel (itself an adventure where people new to it go “wait, is that it?”). The day we arrived was July 8,2005. July 7, 2005, the London Tube (or subway) had been bombed. As we took the Tube to our hotel, I began to cry. When my daughter asked me why, I said “Because when I grew up, everyone knew the London police did not carry guns. It was a source of pride. I never thought I would see armed police everywhere in London.” Still, we felt very safe. Every entrance had a soldier or policeman. Guns were in sight everywhere, and the people of London were doing what they do best. They were going to work. They were shopping. They were living their lives as usual, following the motto “Keep Calm and Carry On“.
My husband went to work. My daughter and I made a game out of trying to figure out how to ride the Tube where we needed to go. Several stations were closed, but people were very nice about helping us figure out to get from out hotel to the Victoria and Albert. The British Museum was also a must. Carnaby Street, if just for the chance to teach my daughter about the 1960’s, was also on the agenda. My husband and I didn’t even discuss if my daughter and I should use the Tube or not. I did talk calmly with my daughter about what she should do in case there was a bomb attack. The choice for our family was never to not ride. My daughter held herself a little taller, I think, as we used public transportation that day. I later took some flack from relatives who could not believe we would even take our daughter to a “city under attack”. I firmly believe the strong person that she is today is in part because of what she saw and experienced in London.
Keep Calm and Carry On. The people of London had more to share with my daughter than just their museums, and for that I will be always grateful.
- The Story of Keep Calm and Carry On (thingsimloving.com)
- Where Did That Keep Calm and Carry On Poster Really Come From? (gizmodo.co.uk)