Then later as my parents went through divorce, we would metaphorically flee to Florida (by this time we had a holiday home there) and my Mum would spend her (what I now presume was healing) time, staring out at the Gulf of Mexico and wondering what the future held. Yet despite the inherent sadness that must have weighed on our family at that time, I have some of my fondest memories. My Mum, as a newly single parent would take my brother and I across the Atlantic; now that I am a parent I see the braveness of that decision in the days when travel wasn't quite so embedded in our psychology as it is now.
This childhood exposure to America did shape me. I was the one who longed to go to proms and studied the American high school system through films like 'Pretty in Pink' and 'Can't Buy Me Love'. I was the one who at University and at great expense, had American magazines like 'In Style' and 'Glamour' shipped to me. And this in the days before Internet where that meant corresponding with American Conde Nast begging them to make an allowance for an English girl who needed American input! I was the one who continued to spend summer holidays in Florida with my Mum, well into my teens, meeting up every year with friends from Indiana and being pen-pals in-between. I was the one who looked into studying at the American College in London just for the opportunity of doing a gap year in the States.
|...lovely photographs, all by Stephanie Rausser|