- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 20, 2002

FREDERICK, Md. Among the foreign-born residents of Maryland's second-largest city, only one group offers its native cuisine at the Saturday Farmers' Market. One specialty is a hard-boiled egg, encased in sausage, breaded and deep fried.
It's a Scotch egg, dearie a very British snack from Georgina Shane's Tea-Time Home Bakery.
Over the past six years, Mrs. Shane's booth, decorated with a Union Jack, has become a rallying point for the area's native-English population, one of the largest in the state, according to recently released census data. British women, hungry for a taste of home, have been drawn by her baked goods into a community of immigrants they might not otherwise have found.
"I couldn't believe there were so many British people here," said Jeannette Kingsbury, one of more than 40 members of the Frederick Brit Club.
Miss Kingsbury, of nearby Middletown, said that before joining the group, she had met only a handful of other English-born people during her 36 years in the United States.
The club, which meets monthly from September to June, unites a female cross-section of the area's British-born population.
Census numbers show that 483 persons born in the United Kingdom were living in Frederick County in 2000. Although U.K. immigrants compose fewer than than three-tenths of 1 percent of the county's population, they are its second-largest foreign-born group by nationality, after Germans, according to the census data.
The United Kingdom consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain (or Britain) consists of England, Scotland and Wales.
"We offer companionship," said Mrs. Shane, an Air Force bride who left her native Suffolk more than 35 years ago with her American husband, Richard. "It's a great support group."
Montgomery, Talbot, Anne Arundel, Howard and Queen Anne's counties have even larger concentrations of U.K. immigrants, the census numbers show.
Many of the women in the Frederick group married American servicemen and moved to Maryland because of their husbands' jobs with federal agencies in the Washington area. Others have British husbands whose work brought them here.
Then there are women like Susan Villiere Schuman, who grew up in Sussex, entranced by Hollywood's glamorous version of the United States.
"I thought everyone looked like Rock Hudson and Doris Day and spent all their time dancing on the rooftop," she said.
Mrs. Schuman moved to America at age 20 in 1961, had a business career in Boston and moved to Frederick 21 months ago with her psychiatrist husband for the warmer weather.
She learned decades ago that in America, good English tea is pricey, decent clothes are cheap, there aren't any real pubs or fish and chips, and everybody is in a hurry.
"There's too much speed, too much of a rush for everything. There's no stopping and staring. It's a consumer society you're made to want things," Mrs. Schuman said.
Frustration with the fast pace was a common complaint among the nine women who gathered Monday to share their views with a reporter.
Mrs. Shane found it appalling that some American workers are allowed no vacation until their second year of employment and then only one week.
"That is so disgustingly, revoltingly, disgustingly, revoltingly disgusting," she said.
In England, six weeks of holiday is standard, the ladies said.
They also disdained Americans' reliance on cars and the relative scarcity of public transportation. In England, they said, far more people use buses, trains or bicycles.
"One tends to get kind of lazy when one's over here because you tend to sit in your car," said Gladys Dobson, a native of Croydon.
Mrs. Shane said the distances Americans routinely travel would stun the average Briton.
"Alison drives 56 miles to go to the doctor," she said, referring to another club member. "We wouldn't go on a 56-mile trip in England without spending the night somewhere."
The ladies said their relatives back home are awed by their automotive exploits.
"When I go back, my sister says, 'I could never do this, that and the other' like getting in the car and driving to see people," Kate Creswell said.
Mavis Bauer topped that: "My sister says, 'I can't believe you pump your own gas.'"
But while they miss English pubs and deplore the relatively lenient U.S. gun laws, the ladies said things are looking up. More grocery stores are stocking British salad cream, Marmite and gravy mixes, and a hog farmer in Rohrersville plans to start selling leaner, thicker, British-style bacon at the farmers' market.
Still, the women said they wish Americans would fund a national health care system like Britain's, which covers everything from cough syrup to geriatric care.
"If I can afford it, I'd like to go back to England to die," Miss Bauer said.

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