36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

003: The English Couple


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

After Vienna
Two Years Later

003 — The English Couple
July–August 1972

Written April 28–29, 1974

The English couple eventually stayed about a month with us. They lived in the basement. They had come to make some money, and found us. They were really very nice, pleasant to talk to. The guy was Graham. I can’t remember the girl’s name.


At Kennedy Airport. Do you remember my last journal posting from Vienna? I am at Kennedy Airport, having just arrived from Vienna. I have like $2 in my pocket and am frustrated. It was a surprise, my not having told anyone I was coming home. After calling my brothers to pick me up, there is another surprise.

Surprise. I remember this rather well. I am at the phone booths at the airport and I strike up a conversation with a young English couple also getting off the phone. Obviously, they have an English accent and are from England. We trade stories, and needs, and I graciously offer to give them a ride to Manhattan where they said they were headed. After all, it was on the way.

Somewhere along the timeline of this event, not sure where, it ends up that I offer to put them up for one night in our basement. I think they admit they have no place to actually stay in New York. Mind you, me, Mr. International Traveler, has not told my brothers or mother about this. Nor asked their permission. My brother Frank is surprised when he arrives to drive me home.

Home. When we get home, not only do my brothers and mother get to see their long-lost brother and son, but they get to see two total strangers (and Graham was a little gruffy looking). Well, my mother feeds them and puts them up for the night—tomorrow, they are on their way to New York City for their travel adventure.

The English couple. Well, as you know, Graham and his girl, stayed with us in our basement for about a month. They found jobs and worked during the day. My mother fed them at night. I remember it being very pleasant and feeling good about it. My brothers and mother were very kind to them as well. Even today, I don’t think we were being taken advantage of—I was actually in the European hospitality mode that so many people offered me during my year abroad. We were really just helping them. It’s just that I should have asked my mother first.

We did learn from them and talked with them every day over breakfast and dinner. I remember Graham, seeing my brother Frank’s friend’s new car, saying that few young people in England could ever afford to buy such a nice car.

What if your kids came home today with total strangers? Would you let the visitors stay? It’s a much more difficult question in today’s world.


- - - -