Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sailing Away

We've arrived back in California welcomed by blue skies, friends, and predictably easy access to root beer. Before we left London, we decided to give our 14 month stay in London a little symbolic closure, so we took a stroll across the river to Rotherhithe. What's so special about Rotherhithe? In August 1620 a certain notable ship left from Rotherhithe with a contract to pick up a boatload of people fleeing religious persecution and a few profit-seeking venturers in Southampton and carry them to a certain faraway shore. The ship was, of course, The Mayflower, and the faraway shore was later to become the birthplace of root beer, cranberry sauce, the corndog, and Huey Lewis.

Thames panorama from Rotherhithe extending from Shad Thames and Tower Bridge to Wapping (it gets quite a bit larger if you click on it)

The Captain of the Mayflower, Christopher Jones, lived in Rotherhithe and was buried there only two years after the Mayflower voyage in an unmarked grave at St. Mary's Rotherhithe (the church has a very good pilgrim history page here). Today, there is relatively little left in Rotherhithe to indicate this historical departure apart from a riverside pub called The Mayflower, an engraved memorial tablet to Christopher Jones inside St. Mary's, and the occasional wandering American looking for some connection to the past.

The Mayflower Pub

Plaque on the Mayflower Pub

While Maggie and I were certainly not persecuted by the English (at least most of the time), we were, in our own way, leaving England and heading to America in search of a new start with a fair degree of uncertainty about our future, so it seemed a fitting end to our London adventure. We had one final can of root beer left in our fridge, so we snagged this and brought it along to have a mini celebration on the waterfront and raised a toast to our silly-hatted forefathers.

No comments: