Letter: My London Fog

Approximately 40 years ago, I left New York to come to Malibu. It was a cold, damp, wintry November morning. I was wearing my London Fog, which I had recently bought from Bloomingdale’s after arriving at JFK. I very quickly boarded the plane. As I got to my seat on the plane, I took off my London Fog, carefully folded it and placed it in the overhead compartment. When the plane arrived at LAX, I took down my London Fog and put it on. On my way to the baggage area, I could not help but notice that almost everybody was dressed in light, summer clothes. When my suitcases came through on the carousel, I picked them up, placed them on my luggage cart and took off my London Fog and placed it on top of my suitcases. I called a cab and had him drive me to my temporary home in the Colony. I hung my London Fog in a closet and there it stayed for about a month until I moved to what has turned out to be my permanent home. There I hung my London Fog in the farthest end of a walk-in closet, not knowing if I would ever wear it again. 

It was April or May of last year when I decided to stop at a doorway in a building on the corner of PCH and Kanan where I had noticed a homeless person. I go past that building six days a week. The person turned out to be a middle aged lady, and when I approached her to offer any  assistance or help that I could give her, she backed away from me with a frightened look upon her face. I got back into my car and drove home. By Malibu standards, it was a cold, breezy late afternoon. I kept asking myself, what could I do to help her? Then I remembered my London Fog that had been hanging in my closet for all those years. I took it down and placed whatever singles that I could find—I think that it was seven—in one pocket and two bars of Cadbury’s chocolate in the other. I drove back to her, got out of the car with my London Fog in hand, opened it up and handed it to her. She turned her back to me, raised her arms and allowed me to put the coat on her. As she turned a little to fasten the coat, I noticed that she had a warm little smile upon her face. She never said thank you to me—she did not have to—seeing that little smile on her face was all of the thanks I needed. I drove back home feeling very good about myself. I drive past that lady every day—she is always wearing her London Fog and I’ve often wondered which she enjoyed the most: the dollar bills or the Cadburys chocolate.

Richard Chesterfield

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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