Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

November 16, 2012

King Arthur's Castle

When Mona was twelve her parents put her on a plane and told her that she was going to spend the summer at King Arthur's castle in England with her maiden aunt.

"They were always getting rid of me every summer," sighs Mona, "but this was something different - I was going overseas and I was going to visit a place I had actually read about in history and fantasy books and I was so excited!"

"My father had come from England originally and was always flying back there either alone for business or with my mom for pleasure," says Mona, "but I had never been there before and I had never met any of his family."

"He told me that my aunt was about 50 and had never married but was very nice," says Mona, "and she was all of those things and more!"

"She picked me up at London airport and drove me to Cornwall where she lived," says Mona, "and I was a bit disappointed to see that I wasn't really staying at King Arthur's Castle like my dad said."

"My aunt's place turned out to be the quaintest little cottage I've ever seen," laughs Mona. "It was very small and had exposed beams everywhere and must have been hundreds of years old."

"I was taller than my aunt and had to stoop to get through some doors," laughs Mona, "so I can't imagine how small the people who built the house must have been."

"She lived in a little town near the sea called Tintagel and it really was close to King Arthur's castle."

"To get to the sea you had to walk down hundreds of steps carved in huge cliffs and as we walked my aunt would tell me about the smugglers and the pirates that used to haunt the area."

"The Cornish people are very different from other English people," says Mona. "My aunt told me that a lot of Spanish smugglers got shipwrecked here many years ago and never went back. I suppose that's why I didn't see many tall fair haired people - they all seemed to be short and dark haired."

"There was a huge surf at Tintagel and I was surprised to see guys out at sea on surfboards," relates Mona. "There was even a surf club with lifesavers - I didn't think England had that sort of thing!"

"We visited Merlin's Cave and the place where the Sword of Excalibur was supposedly pulled," says Mona, "and my aunt told me all the stories about King Arthur and Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table that I had previously only read about. It was easy for me to fall in love with the place."

"I didn't want to go back home," sighs Mona. "I really loved staying with my aunt and wished I could have lived with her permanently."

"She died a year later of a mysterious disease so I never saw her again," sighs Mona, "and my dad sold her house so I never got to go back there."

"Now that I'm older and free to travel wherever I want to go I've thought about going back to Cornwall," says Mona, "but since it will never be the same without my aunt I think it's better than I cherish the magical memories of the place rather than try to re-live them."

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