| This week Jinny’s article will be written by her daughter, Adele Anderson.
My son, Chuck is an anglophile. He loves all things British. He is particularly fond of British mystery detectives in literature, movies, and television. I decided that he inherited this from my mother, who is also an anglophile. All the years I was growing up we were frequently lectured on British customs, history, and literature. She still insists on telling me all the latest news on the British monarchy, in which I have no interest whatsoever.
Chuck has read every Sherlock Holmes mystery Arthur Conan Doyle ever wrote. We also rented all the splendid BBC episodes of Sherlock Holmes that were produced over ten years in the 80’s and 90’s. Along with Holmes he has also read Dorothy Sayers great mysteries which take place in the 20’s and 30’s, with her hero, Lord Peter Wimsey and seen all the BBC productions of her stories. If it has a British accent, we’ve seen it.
Chuck is sincerely drawn to the elegance of the dialogue, characters, and atmosphere. He likes the way that Lord Peter is always impeccably dressed and wears evening clothes to dinner. He loves the formal manners of the time and the perfect diction of the actors who play his favorite characters.
Chuck’s dream vacation is a trip to England. I’d take him there tomorrow if I could. He has no more interest than I do in what the British royal family is up to, but he wants to walk down the street in London and drive through the British countryside. He loves the accents and can mimic everything from the most refined English public school drawl to the rough tones of a Cornish farmer. He has also perfected Australian and New Zealand accents as a bonus. Sometimes, when we have been immersed in some British mystery for an hour or two, he walks around talking in a British accent for awhile until it wears off.
I am also very good with accents and I have found that it goes hand in hand with a knack for languages. This is being borne out by my son, who excelled in his Spanish and French classes in Middle School this year. It also seems to go along with having a musical ear, which he has as well. He is fascinated by other languages and how English is a conglomeration of so many different ones. He can’t wait to take Latin, which he thinks is particularly fascinating. I tell him that if Latin were a sport, it would be golf and just as difficult to be good at. He doesn’t care; all the best characters in his British mysteries can speak Latin, which means that it must be an important part of the whole vibe.
This year in school the 6th grade class did a contest that was set up to be like a TV show where ordinary people audition and usually make terrible fools out of themselves. Evidently, this show is wildly popular. I’ve never watched it, and neither has Chuck to my knowledge, but there is apparently a judge on the show who is British, and particularly brutal to the ridiculous contestants. When they went to choose students to play the various characters they chose Chuck to be the British judge because he could mimic him perfectly. Chuck got to use his British accent and horribly insult the kids who have picked on him all year without getting in trouble. I think that it was the very best day at school that he has ever had.
Who knows, Chuck says that he wants to be a robotics engineer when he grows up. Hopefully, he will achieve his dream. It’s always good to have something to fall back on, though. If he washes out of Engineering school he can always be a linguist or an actor. Sadly, there is no paying career I can think of for Anglophiles. If there were, my mother would be living in a Villa on the Italian Mediterranean next door to George Clooney.