Saturday, February 20, 2016

Forty Plus and Fancy Free - Emily Kimbrough

When she was in her early 50s, Miss Kimbrough and several friends took a trip to Europe.  She was an author, journalist, and had a radio program on CBS radio.  She's probably best known for the book Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, written with Cornelia Otis Skinner.  CBS asked her to broadcast the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.  So she and her friends planned a few weeks of vacation in Italy and France before the big event.

This was in the days of travelling large.  One of the women has five trunks with her.  One woman doesn't want to fly, so she takes a ship and meets them there.  They stop in Paris for a while before travelling on by train.  It used to be so easy!

This is a chatty, personal trip across several countries.  Some things seem to be the same, others have changed.  It's the kind of book I read with my lap top handy to look up places she mentions that I don't know, which are many.  I've been to Italy twice.  We spent a week in Venice for an anniversary about fifteen years ago and we spent a day driving from Austria to Switzerland just to have lunch in Italy.  I will NEVER drive on those roads in the Alps again!!

The ladies travel in a fairly social atmosphere, and by that I mean that they had friends in 'society'.  They attended plays and operas in the cities they visited.  And they shopped.

I enjoyed her account of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.  If you read my blog with any regularity, you'll understand how much I liked this bit from near the end of the book.  While waiting for the coronation to begin, this announcement was made over the P.A. system:

"Will all householders who are leaving their homes today please make sure their pets are safely inside and off the streets?  And will all those driving in from the country make sure their domestic animals are being properly fed and watered?  However, should an accident befall there are mobile units for animal care traveling within a radius of fifty miles of the city.  One of these may be reached by ringing up (a number was given) and should be at your service within half an hour.  One other notice, if you please, and this is very important.  Do not light your bonfires tonight until you have ascertained there are no birds' nests in them."  I love England!


  1. This sounds an interesting read, I would have been the woman taking the ship! In my mind I amended the last bit to - I love Britain!

    1. It was a fun book, a look back into another era. I, once again, did a disservice to this book by switching back and forth between this one and a couple of others. I must stop doing that!

    2. And I'm sorry, I should have said 'Britain'! Forgive me?