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Theater in London

Winter term. At FPC there were four-month terms in fall and spring. The month of January was Winter Term. For that one month you focused on a single project instead of regular course work. I was a theater major as a sophomore. English and theater were my two declared majors before I found my way to Jefferson House. Study abroad was a popular option, and for my sophomore Winter Term I chose Theater in London. It cost a lot extra but my parents didn't complain, god bless 'em.

Onion rolls. I had my first real bagel in London. Wolfies must have had bagels but I don't remember them. I always bought a loaf instead, preferably still warm from the oven. The bagelery I frequented in London often had still-warm bagels, marked with a little sign when they first went into the glass counter. I immediately fell in love with boiled dough smeared with plenty of cream cheese, lox and paper-thin red onion rings. Exploring further I found their onion rolls, to die for. Sweet gummy rolls topped and filled with minced onion and poppy seeds, just heavenly. Alas, I never got to taste the exemplary onion rolls at Ratner's. I tried for years to recreate those onion rolls at home, and came up with some decent tries. But I could never get the flavor just right. The onions were too sweet or the texture wasn't just so. I could never get it right. Nobody can. Those onion rolls had the one seasoning no one can ever duplicate: the flavor of nostalgia.

Judi. I fell in love with the artistry of Judi Dench in London that winter.

Like most of the world outside Britain I'd never heard of Dame Judi, Britain's National Treasure. But there at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theater and the Old Vic was a tiny woman with a husky voice who made all the other actors seem small. I saw Alan Bates as Hamlet that winter and he was great but he didn't begin to measure up to Judi.

Heat tax. I was billeted into a little flat with a couple of other guys. The rest of us were in the same building. It was a nasty cold damp winter, par for the course I guess. Heat was provided as parsimoniously as possible: you fed shilling coins to the heater. You'd think if you were rich you could keep your flat warm by surfeiting the heat miser with coin. We soon found two shillings did not twice the heat give as one. I was awash in Shakespearean syntax and prosody that winter. Multiplying your heat tax brought steadily diminishing returns. Shilling at a time was the best deal by far. Whoever came up with that should be freezing in hell by now. Freeze on, bro.