Letters From England Update


Priscilla Murray my mother at her best on the Barnstormers stage with Dan Rubinate.

I am well into writing Episode Two. I put a picture of my mother up here, because Eileen Livingston is based on my mother. I will get to that scene in a moment.

The second episode has gone very well and I would like to think I have created a great character out of Gordon Bennett. He’s full of confidence and bravado. We had met Gordon’s character Glynn at the end of Episode one. Episode two is how he gets this crazy plan off the ground. We meet the man in full. A Thomas Hardy fanatic, I made Glynn an Oxford Rhodes scholar. So he’s been to England long before this trip. Taking his sabbatical in England to think some things through. We don’t see he’s troubled, but he is and a lot has to do with his future at the college. He is the man in charge of Academic Affairs. The college is sinking and he is tasked with a plan to save it. He finds his idea through a young man he meets in a pub playing darts. His name is Ivan Trickler, loosely based on a man my Dad and Ted Walker had discussed. Ivan is the best darts player in the pub, by day he’s an Estate Agent. Glynn is impressed with his darts game and decides to challenge him for a small wager of one hundred pounds. Trickler is egged on by his mates to take the challenge and pops down his own hundred. In a wild darts scene, played out to The Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz(I couldn’t resist using that song. It set the tone.) Glynn manages to win his two hundred pounds and he and Trickler become friends. Trickler is an opportunist who is curious to see how he can take advantage of someone. In Glynn, Trickler finds his perfect foil. He manages to lead Glynn to his idea, which is studies abroad. Trickler knows the perfect place. He takes him to Sussex to meet the property owner, who has tasked Trickler to sell this former girls school for him. The man happens to be none other than our antagonist Lord Francis Atherton-Hall.

The price of the campus is too high for Glynn and he wants to haggle. Haggle is a uniquely American word, which gets under Atherton-Hall’s skin because he believes American’s are far less superior to the English gentry. He refuses to sell. Glynn plays his last hand in a speech about what education means, which involves his idea. He leaves with one morsel for the Lord to be tempted by, a seat on the Board of Trustees. Atherton-Hall never a man to resist an opportunity for power agrees to the deal.

Now onto a scene with the Livingston’s and Eileen based on my mother. The scene is interesting because Blake has to tell the family they are moving. He butters them up with gifts. Ned, receives a red double decker London bus. (Oddly it was the gift my Dad gave me upon his return, but at the time I was eight.) I had to put myself in the mind of a fourteen year old receiving such an odd gift. Blake becomes flustered at Ned’s reaction and tells him to put it on his shelf or something. After the gifts have been handed out, Blake blurts out with excited glee that the family is moving to England. Ned isn’t sure what to think. Darcy is not okay with it at all and has a small tantrum and Eileen is full of questions.

The next scene, is rather interesting and I rather enjoyed what came out of it. It is essentially the story of how my parents met at Emerson College. I never head this story until my mother’s memorial and is rather humorous. I never imagined I would write a scene, about my mom and dad talking about this move to England. My Dad’s main advisor in anything was my mother. The scene has Blake and Eileen lying in bed. Eileen and Blake weigh the pros and cons about the move. She has her own thing going as a Speech Therapist and she really doesn’t want to stop doing that, because she enjoys her work. On the one hand, if this is an opportunity for both her and Blake, she doesn’t want to pass it by without putting some good thought into the idea. When Eileen throws out the fact that she would need a job, Blake tells her that Glynn has already thought of that. Eileen would be the Bookstore Manager. Eileen reflects on her past experience running a bookstore. The conversation then leads to a wonderful scene, where Blake and Eileen reminisce about the first time he asked her out, which was at a bookstore. This leads to when Blake first saw Eileen at a wild, sorority party. Blake was returning with this girl and she made a sarcastic comment about my Eileen. She was being particularly obnoxious and her comment to Blake was “Oh, isn’t she pretty.” This made Blake reflect on how pretty she was in regard to the girl he was with. Certainly, Eileen’s personality was more captivating. After the date ends. Blake decides he’s had enough of this boring pretentious girl and decides it’s time to end it. Five days later, Blake runs into Eileen managing this bookstore and he asks her out. Eileen then rolls into Blake’s arms and makes her decision. “A Bookstore Manager would be fine.” End of Act Three.

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