It started with reading books about places near and far. It didn’t matter where it was – Meggie wanted to go there! She had a little suitcase that had belonged to her older sister and she was always ready for adventure. Whether it was a visit in the family car to see her grandmother in Pennsylvania or a day trip to the beach, she was the first one in the car saying “Are we there yet?” After she read Alice in Wonderland she wanted to go to England and see hedgehogs. When she was nine her family moved from Massachusetts to California and they traveled on Route 66. Meggie liked seeing the mountains, the desert and the interesting places to stop along the way. And after all these adventures she still likes to travel!
Meggie started her collection with postcards of Lexington, Massachusetts, her hometown. Then came postcards of nearby towns like Concord. When her family went on a trip to see relatives in Pennsylvania and New York she bought postcards from there too. She also liked little pamphlets about these places. Soon she had quite a collection.
When friends, neighbors or relatives went on trips she would sometimes get postcards from places she hadn’t been, which was pretty much everywhere. She would go to the library and look at volumes of the World Book Encyclopedia to find out about the cities or states. The more she learned about different places the more she wanted to see them herself! And after she read about Mrs.Tiggy-Winkle she wanted to go to England to see hedgehogs. She kept all these postcards and was determined to see all of them in person someday.
Meggie has always dreamed about travel and it has been as wonderful and exciting as she thought it would be!
Years ago when Meggie was a student, her teacher asked the class a question. “Would anyone like to have a pen pal from England and exchange letters with them?” In response, everyone (including Meggie) raised their hands. The teacher handed each student a slip of paper with the name of someone to write to. Meggie’s paper had the name of a girl named Philippa. Then the class was given an assignment to write a letter, put it in an envelope and bring it to school the next day. The teacher would put stamps on the letters and put them in the mail.
Meggie couldn’t wait to write a letter and tell her new pen pal everything that she thought might be interesting. She began to write:
“Dear Philippa, My name is Margaret but everyone calls me Meggie. I got this name from the book “Little Women”. Do you have a nickname too? My dog is named Missy and sometimes my Mom calls ME Missy!!! Do you have a pet?”
At this point Meggie thought she should rewrite her letter because she didn’t want to misspell any words. Also she was mixing everything up with pets, activities and books.
Her letter was ready the next day to take to class. She rewrote everything so it seemed more sensible. And her dog Missy almost ate the letter when it was sitting on the kitchen table! Luckily Meggie grabbed it in time and put it safely in the plaid book bag that she had gotten as a birthday present. She handed in her letter to the teacher and so did her classmates. The teacher told the class the letters would be mailed after school that day. Meggie couldn’t wait to hear back from her new pen pal.
One Saturday afternoon Meggie went to a friend’s house for a tea party. The tea was served in tiny floral cups with gold trim on the handles. It was so mild she thought it was like drinking warm water. Along with the tea there were delicious cookies (“blscuits” as her friend’s English mother said.) Everything was so perfect Meggie asked her mother for a tea set for her birthday or Christmas, whichever came first. But this was a long time to wait, so she asked, “Mom, could I have a teacup to practice with?” Meggie got an old teacup that she could fill with cold or warm water. One time her mother gave her some real tea to drink, but Meggie thought it needed lots of milk and sugar to make it taste good. Since then Meggie has always been fond of teapots and teacups. And she saw these when she was in England!