Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

With Just a Single Word I Was Married

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

With Just a Single Word I Was Married

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM GUTTERIDGE

I COULD never live in New York. It's a great place to stay for a few days (or, as we did last week, for a few hours on our way home from Los Angeles), but the extremes of temperature would soon drive me into air conditioned madness.

The winters are freezing and the summers are like a permanent steam bath.

Joanna and I weren't exactly prepared for the icy blasts down 5th Avenue. We only had clothes for 75-degree California, so we looked incongruous dressed in layers of T-shirts while everyone else wore overcoats.

My first trip to New York was a result of young love. In my first year at university I'd fallen for a girl called Mary and, having pledged eternal devotion, my world fell apart when she won a scholarship for a year at a New York university.

Mary-less, I pined for about six months until my mother, despairing of all my moping, lent me some money to fly over and spend the summer vacation with my beloved in New York.

So, with clean socks and underwear, I set off promising my worried mother to contact her as soon as I arrived.

New York in June was in the 90s, both in temperature and humidity. It was pouring with hot rain and the moment I stepped off the plane I was bathed in a thick mask of perspiration. Mary was sharing an apartment on the Upper East Side with a neurotic actress, three cats and no air conditioning. It was hell, but somehow through the jetlag, despite the sweaty nights in a single bed, we seemed to be getting on okay.

So I dutifully sent my mother a telegram (it was 1972, well before the days of International Subscriber Trunk Dialling or the fax machine).

Mum had given me strict instructions to report three key facts: Had I arrived, where was I off to and how were things with Mary? The trouble was, telegrams were charged by the word, and I could only afford 12. …

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