MABEL WREN was born in London, England. When she was five years old her parents took her to see the Mauretania 11, known as “the largest vessel ever to navigate the Thames and use the Royal Docks,” according to the Cunard Archives.

The docks were open to the public for the festive occasion. The ships coming in and out of London docks and permanently docked in or near the Thames were her visual aids for geography and history. The President Peron and the Eva Peron were beautiful white ships and she was awed at the sight of them even before she knew anything about the people whose names they bore.

When eight years old she decided to visit another country by ship when she grew up. She didn’t know then that one day she would cross the Atlantic on the Queen Mary on her way to a new job.

But before she could travel she had to have a career. She studied and received her elementary teaching credential from London University. After teaching for five years in London she applied for a teacher-exchange position in the USA. She had to agree to go anywhere in America.

Her exchange was arranged with a first-grade teacher in Trinidad, California, on the coast, near the Oregon border. She could only find out the highest and lowest temperatures, annual rainfall, and population ( two hundred!) for her new residence. She’d committed her savings to this new adventure and these facts did nothing to reassure her she’d made a wise investment.

She soon arrived in a beautiful, small fishing and logging community on the Pacific coast. Problems arose because when she spoke English the locals heard American English. When they spoke American English she heard English. When she heard all the parents were upset because she’d burn down the school, she knew they needed to talk. Relief swept the community when they learned she only wanted each student to carry a flashlight on the stage. She’d used the English word “torch”.

Today she has retired to about three thousand feet in the coastal mountain range of Trinity County, California, where the deer, mountain lions, bears, and skunks have the right-of-way.