Louie was a sweet little lady, as prim and proper as the Queen herself, though she had a razor-sharp wit, sometimes with a racy edge, and an infectious, merry laugh.
I had never heard the expression “wherever you go, there you are” until Louie used it. It was September 1990. Peter and I had gone to England to visit his father, John, who’d moved into a nursing home in Plaxtol-near-Sevenoaks, Kent.
As always, we rented a car at Heathrow and headed straight “home” to Hammersmith, a borough west of London. After years of living in the US and driving on the right side of the road instead of the left, it was always scary when Peter got behind the wheel for the first time back in England. But he whirled us around the giant roundabout beneath the infamous Hammersmith Flyover—two traffic terrors worse than any amusement park ride—and into the sudden quiet of the little neighborhood where he grew up on the bank of the River Thames.
Since staying at John’s flat was no longer an option we were booked in at a nearby hotel, but we always visited Louie and Jim as soon as we arrived. Dear friends to John over the years, they were spry seventy-somethings to his Parkinson’s-impaired 80.
“Cup of tea? Biscuit?” Louie asked first thing. She nodded approvingly when we said yes. She served it in her best china cups and watched closely as we drank every drop. “Tea’s always better in a china cup, don’t you think?” she asked.
We’d arranged to take them to Kent that day to visit John, so after our cuppa we crammed ourselves into the car and set off. Jim had given up driving several years before, and Louie, a timid passenger at best, had never driven. None of us had ever been on the six-year-old multi-lane London Orbital, M25, but Jim knew his way around greater London. So with him as navigator Peter launched us onto the M25 “racetrack.” I asked him to slow down a few times, but he grumbled that he had to go that fast or be run over. Louie and I chattered in the back seat, gripping the straps for stability as we zoomed along.
In no time at all it seemed, we’d driven the 30 miles to Plaxtol, whizzed along the tiny one-track lanes for which Kent is famous, and wheeled into the nursing home’s graveled parking lot. Normally a chatterbox, Jim had been uncharacteristically quiet. “This car does have brakes then, dunnit, Peter?” he said. Louie blinked her eyes, took a deep breath, and added softly, “We’ve arrived and to prove it we’re here.”
I laughed, and told Louie I’d never heard that phrase before. She was very pleased when I pulled out my tattered little notebook and wrote her words down. “I’ll bet you’ve never heard this one either then, have you?” she asked, reciting, “‘wherever you go, there you are.’”
I had not, and I told her I’d be sure to use it sometime.
More than 20 years later my “sometime” has arrived. Louie would be thrilled to know she’d inspired the title of my blog even though anything to do with computers and the Internet were beyond her imaginings.