And I really DO know I am American. I don’t go swanning around using my faux posh bird accent when I pop into the Piggly Wiggly.
I still feel a true swell of pride in the old USA when I sing The Star-Spangled Banner. Even after repeated trips to Mt. Rushmore, I would still feel a tear come to my eye And I say “ya’ll” which is definitely an Americanism of the southern persuasion.
However, I was speaking earlier this evening of a television production on one of the premium channels that had been renewed for a second series.
He cast a gimlet eye at me. “Here in this country we say second season, dear.” Oops.
I suppose he expects his ladywife to start talking of car boot sales, riding on lifts, minding the gap whilst on the Tube and tossing a spanner into the works. Not to mention enjoying a cuppa, having a proper kip, or talking about how many stone I want to shed. Getting my fringe trimmed, varnishing my toenails and avoiding getting my knickers into a twist. And, OK, sometimes I use British spellings instead of American spellings. Doesn’t make me a disloyal American, now, does it?
I have mentioned to him that quite a few of my RA friends are, not surprisingly, British, not to mention the Aussies, Kiwis and Canadians. And a number of other nationalities who studied British English rather than American-style. And I try to write fanfics/fiction with English characters using British spellings and phrases because it seems the proper thing to do.
The fact is, I love my country but I also love England and have since I was a child. I eagerly read stories set in England (one called The Snowstorm by Beryl Netherclift was a particular favorite) and devoured my older sisters’ Agatha Christie mysteries, Jane Eyre, Daphne DuMaurier’s works and assorted and sundry gothic novels, many by British authors.
And then there were the imported British television and films. I started watching Masterpiece Theatre when I was nine or ten–Upstairs, Downstairs, Poldark, and many other British productions over the years. The summer before my 10th birthday, my older sister went overseas as an exchange student for six weeks. She spent four of those six weeks in England, studying at Oxford–was it Balliol or Christchurch? Sis, help me out!–and visiting various places on the weekends.
I eagerly awaited those blue and white air mail letters and faithfully wrote back each week in those days long before emails. I loved her descriptions of the cities and towns and countryside, the food (she missed ice-cold Cokes, American hamburgers and Hershey bar chocolates) and the people. I knew that one day I wanted to visit there, too, this country I had explored in books, short stories and films.
I got that chance in 1999 with a small group of students. So much of what I saw in London, Canterbury and the surrounding countryside seemed ever so familiar to me. Of course, these were places I had read about, heard about, seen before in photographs, films and TV; but it was more than that. I felt curiously at home there, as if I had been there before. My sister, who has been back several times, says the same thing.
We speculate that it is some sort of imprint on our genetic memory. Our ancestors–Irish, English and Scottish–came from the United Kingdom. So perhaps it’s in our blood–or at least, our genes. And now I find myself totally gobsmacked by this brilliant Brit actor who is dead sexy and can act his cotton socks off.
Little wonder I am such a thorough Anglophile. It’s the company I keep. And I love it!