Category Archives: American School in London

Babycham Monday

Like Champagne for Little Girls!

When the IRA was bombing London and a couple of threats were called in to our school (The American School in London) we had to evacuate and so went to the pub nearby and tried, with the biggest platform shoes and the greatest amount of lipstick, to look old enough to order Babycham, Sparkling Perry.

Originally called “Champagne Perry”, Babycham was invented by brewer Francis Edwin Showering in Shepton Mallet, Sommerset, England.After the French complained about the use of the appelation Champagne, the name was changed to “Sparkling”.  Perry is an ancient alcoholic beverage made from fermented pears traditionally popular in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and parts of south Wales as well as in Normandy and Anjou, France. 

Despite its juvenile fawn mascot and name, Babycham made us feel like grown-ups even as the real grown-ups in our world were acting like children. 


Bands of Roaming Expat Kids

Clowning in a photo booth in London with my friend Lynn. 

While our parents were partying it up 70s style, my friends and I at ASL were roaming the city of London going to concerts, stores, restaurants and, on one occasion, sneaking into the Osmond Brother’s hotel so one of us could meet Donny.  Thanks for the photo, Lynn! 


ASL — The American School in London

Our old school in London, ASL (The American School in London).  The school was started in the 50s but this building, where Robbie and I went was begun in 1968 and finished in 1970.  The cornerstone was laid by Ambassador Walter Annenberg and The Rt. Hon. Margaret Thatcher, MP, then secretary of state for education and science (aka at that time, Margaret Thatcher Milk Snatcher) spoke at the dedication.

The campus is in St. John’s Wood.  I’m guessing the fortress-like street presence was developed to counter terrorist threats.  In the early 70s, for us, it was the IRA who called in a couple of bomb threats to the school.  We were happy there amongst the army, oil, CIA and State Department brats.  We were the swinging divorcee brats and got to see Elton John and do our first acting.

I kissed Sam Robards in my first play — strictly a stage kiss.  And was seen by Alan Parker and asked to audition for a movie he was making: Bugsy Malone.  I didn’t get it; Jodie Foster did.

But I wasn’t disappointed.  With Mother happy and occupied by new people and parties and songwriting, Robbie and I were free and for a couple of teenagers in 70s London, that was easily as much fun as making a movie.


Saturday Night’s Alright

One of my musical heroes and great crush when I was a girl…

Here he in Central Park in 1980.  I first saw him at benefit at my school ASL in London.  Kiki Dee opened. It was before their “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” duet.  Our concert was in the fall just after the release of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road which of course became a very important album for me.  He appears briefly in CHANEL BONFIRE or at least his bottom does!


Out of Africa

When we were at the American School in London, a Thames Television show called Magpie sponsored  us on a flamingo-tagging trip to Lake Nakuru in Kenya.

We flew into Nairobi and took a buss to Lake Nakuru.

We had to wear paper underwear because there was no way to do laundry.

And we discovered that the woman our science teacher had brought along was his mistress.  Oh, and many flamingoes were tagged.  

Thanks to my friend Lynn Williamson for the pictures.  As anyone who’s read the book can imagine any pictures Robbie and I had didn’t survive.


Rags to Riches

From Kansas City to Versailles in one blog post!

A much quicker version of my mother, Georgann Rea’s journey from Iowa orphanage to Kamsas City Plaza dweller to Minneapolis actor’s wife to Dakota dwelling Broadway Producer’s wife to wealthy American Divorcee in London!  Thirty years from there to here and in ten more she’d be broke again.  

Here we are on an ASL trip to Versailles.  Note the crazy 70s styling.