Sunday, September 15, 2013

Excerpts From John Kercher’s Fine Book “Meredith” #1 Including Her First Happy Ventures To Italy

Posted by Hopeful

This is a series we will continue throughout appeal to keep front and center who the real victim is here.

John Kercher in the foreward to his book, “Meredith”, said it had not been an easy book to write, but…“I hope it is a portrait of which she would have been proud.” Mr. Kercher has painted an excellent portrait, not only of “the enchanting, generous, kind person that Meredith really was”, but of a happy and vibrant family who showed Meredith all the joys of living during her 21 years.

Meredith’s love affair with Italy started at age 1 1/2 years old when Arline and John took her to Rimini which is north-east of Perugia on the Adriatic coast. That was the family’s first visit, and they pushed her and Stephanie through the streets in a double stroller (pushchair).

Then when Meredith was 8 years old, they returned to Rimini for another holiday and “she was much more aware of the place…. She was extremely amused at the way the Italian waiters always offered her and Stephanie the menu before the rest of us and treated them like young ladies rather than children. The waiters would often wink at us as they went about this sophisticated routine.”

Meredith was awed by real Italian pizza, “amazed at how the cooks made them in wood-fired ovens and retrieved them with long poles.”

(Page 17) “All of this must have made a big impression on her, because when she entered senior school at the age of 14, she elected to study Italian, and later went on to study the language at Leeds University.” (She also knew French.)

(Page 32) “what a happy child she had been”. She and Stephanie as children would open Christmas presents by the fireplace “in one of the living rooms in our old house in Coulsdon.” Mr. Kercher said “I would pull some ash into the fireplace and draw small footprints with my finger to show that Father Christmas’s boots had landed there as he climbed down the chimney. Meredith and Stephanie would put out a glass of sherry and a mince pie for him—” and even a carrot for the reindeer.

(Page 33) Meredith was born in London at Guy’s Hospital on a freezing cold day. Mr. Kercher driving to the hospital with the older children (ages 9, 7, and 2 at the time) found his car’s radiator frozen and had to abandon it for a train at Purley to take them to the hospital, where he warned the nurses she would be born within 20 minutes of Arline starting labor. He was right. She weighed only 4 lb. 12 oz and he could almost hold her in one hand.

Meredith loved winter “especially when it snowed and she could get her plastic sledge out and whizz down the slope in the garden, or make a snowman. Nor did she mind occasionally walking the mile uphill to school with her mother, beside three-foot snow drifts when it was impossible to drive her there. Or we would go to a large open area in Old Coulsdon called Happy Valley, a park with 1,500 acres of snow that Meredith loved to play in.”

(Snow fell in ethereal tenderness in the Kristian Leontieux music video “Some Say” as Meredith appears in the video.)

Careful to give Meredith a chance at some warm weather birthdays not possible on December 28th, her mom and dad would arrange an event for her in the summer similar to Stephanie’s birthday, so that Meredith could also invite her friends for games in the garden. They also gave Meredith a bit more birthday attention at the New Year, so as a child she wouldn’t feel overlooked due to the Christmas celebrations. What caring parents!

Meredith loved bedtime stories and Mr. Kercher would oblige. He used to make up stories every night for her and Stephanie. “One was about Meredith going to a forest where she would meet a fairy. The fairy would spin several times, then there would be a flash of light and Meredith would be transported with the fairy into an adventure.” (Page 35) Once as he started the story, Meredith’s quick humor surfaced as he asked her what would happen next. “She was sick because she was dizzy!”

“Stephanie’s own story was about being transported on a bird’s back across forests and fields. There was never any jealousy or animosity between them. They would lie there listening and giggling or adding bits to the stories. They really got on well together, and even as they grew older they would share confidences, along with clothes and cosmetics.” (Page 36)

The stories had stopped when Meredith was about 10 years old, but at age 14 she still asked for them. Mr. Kercher was living separately then and he would go back to his flat and write her a story and read it to her over the phone. He made Meredith the central character and she wanted him to do it every day. “Even when I went to Spain for a week, I would write some of it on the beach and then call her from a payphone in the evening and read it to her. Eventually, it became a 60,000-word novel, which I gave to her. It is called “The Strange Case of Miss Carla”.

Mr. Kercher’s “Miss Carla” was based on a sweet elderly neighbor lady who lived next door. Stephanie and Meredith visited her often. They adored her. Her name was Muriel Babot and she would invite them in to do jigsaw puzzles with her or visit them and bring photographs for the girls to look at. Mrs. Babot’s son-in-law Paul was a steam railway enthusiast. He lived a few miles away and he had “transformed his garden” with miniature railway tracks that ran all around it, “with proper signals and lights.

He had several trains powered by steam, and he would sit on the engine and people could sit on the back.” Several times a year he would open it up to the public and invite other enthusiasts to bring their engines to put on his tracks. Mr. Kercher says, “We were always invited, and Stephanie and Meredith loved riding around the garden.” (Page 37)

“In the novel Miss Carla is quite a mystical character, and she travels through time, becoming younger as Meredith becomes older.” (Page 37)

As a child Meredith went to junior school at Keston in Old Couldsdon and then to the Old Palace of John Whitgift School in Croydon. She went on to Leeds University in Yorkshire and became an Erasmus scholar, then brushed up her Italian at Perugia’s University of Foreigners and then enrolled at the University of Perugia.

A two month happy beginning then ended in calamity, but I prefer the chapters in Mr. Kercher’s book that detail all the happy days, such as his taking a 15-year-old Meredith to shop at Selfridge’s on Oxford Street in London and laughing at himself for expecting her shopping spree to take only an hour. She shopped her heart out for four full hours while he finally waited on a chair, and after a respite for lunch, she wanted to return to shop for few more minutes which turned into another hour. It was her day and she loved all the beautiful fashions.

(Page 43) Mr. Kercher recounts another fruitful shopping spree when he took Meredith and Stephanie on the Eurostar to the French town of Lille. Meredith was about 14 and they lunched at a cafe when the girls discovered some clothes shops that sent them into serious retail therapy. They sent dad to the ATM to fund their whirlwind of buying and they all laughed when they had to pile all the coats, skirts, and shopping bags into a supermarket trolley to rush back to catch the Eurostar barely in time to return to England. He says they were all “laughing our heads off”.

Good times, good times! How refreshing to hear of the Kercher family’s good times! John Kercher has done the world a big favor by recounting them for us, and this excerpt is just a tip of the iceberg of Meredith’s many happy moments with a loving family.

The family loved the coast and Meredith did, too. “And as we were only a short drive from Brighton it was a place we visited regularly. Sometimes we had a picnic on the beach but at other times we would go to a restaurant that specialised in fish ‘n’ chips. Then there were the Lanes, a maze of narrow streets like a kasbah, filled with cafes, bistros and antiques shops. She was always fascinated by this place, and I often picture her there.”


To help the hard-pressed family there is a link to the Meredith Fund in our left column

Posted by Hopeful on 09/15/13 at 04:17 AM in Concerning MeredithNews media & moviesExcellent reporting

Tweet This Post


“In the novel Miss Carla is quite a mystical character, and she travels through time, becoming younger as Meredith becomes older.”
So my reference to time travel was not at all that misplaced, what a relief!

Posted by aethelred23 on 09/15/13 at 08:18 AM | #

Thankyou Hopeful, and for the reminder of the Meredith Fund. (It’s very easy to do).
Another way we can help the Kercher family is to buy John Kercher’s book of course, if we haven’t already!
I found it well written. There’s not many books that bring me to tears, and I read a lot.

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 09/15/13 at 10:50 AM | #

What a beautiful beautiful photo!

Lest we forget.

Posted by thundering on 09/15/13 at 12:03 PM | #

Yes. Beautiful expression in Meredith’s eyes…

Posted by SeekingUnderstanding on 09/15/13 at 01:58 PM | #

Happy post and enjoyable read!

I am feeling nice and relaxed today.

Thank you Hopeful!

Posted by chami on 09/15/13 at 05:02 PM | #

Friends who knew both Meredith and her sister Stephanie have told us that but for the slight difference in their look they were uncannilly the same and it was hard to tell their voices apart.

The actress Amanda Fernando Stevens who played Meredith in the Lifetime movie (which surprised us, it was pretty good) did a terrific job though later she was worried if she did the right thing. (Hayden Panettiere was good too, showing a self-absorbed and abrasive Knox.)

Stephanie and one other will be in Florence courtroom number 32. Stephanie of course has very good Italian (unlike any Knox-Mellas) and so she can understand what is going on. She demonstrated her fluency recently on national TV when the Meredith scholarship was awarded.

Almost for sure this will result in nobody from the Knox-Mellas entourage showing up; they seem really scared of being in the sample place at the same time as Meredith’s family, and have done so only twice, in court for the outcomes in 2009 and 2011.

At Guede’s trial in October 2008, Curt Knox and Edda Mellas were in Perugia, but for two days skulked up the hill while the Kerchers were in court. This post shows the new courthouse used.

They also sulked elsewhere for the few days the Kerchers were in court mid-2009 for Arline to give testimony on the stand about phone calls and Meredith’s finances. The family was only able to show up at the appeal (which was ludicrously spaced out to help Bongiorno with her baby) at the very end after the decsion was cast in stone.

Meredith is much admired in Italy because of her Mediterranean look and fluent Italian and in almost all minds outshines Knox. Same with the Kercher family which attracts huge attention when they arrive in town and outside the court, and their press conferences are packed.

Here they are exiting the court in October 2008, at that point very stressed.

Contributions really help the family to be there in court as they pay all of their own way. Also check out all the links to posts about Meredith at top-right. The London and Leeds posts give a good idea of the excellent education she had throughout.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/15/13 at 05:45 PM | #

Wow.  It’s easy to see where Meredith’s & Stephanie’s smiles come from - Mom.

Posted by sherrel on 09/16/13 at 02:10 AM | #

According to this report Sollecito is now on the run somewhere in the Caribbean…—Amanda-Knox-reveals-refuses-return-Italy-face-retrial-murder-British-student.html

Couldn’t act more guilty if he tried…

Posted by Spencer on 09/16/13 at 03:55 AM | #


Yup, it seems they’ve both realised the likely outcome in Florence (or they’ve been given the heads up) and are now totally focussed on the extradition issue.

How has the Prince of Darkness managed to enter anywhere in the Caribbean for crying out loud? He had to dissemble to get into Switzerland - this was the reason he was eventually thrown out.

Posted by Odysseus on 09/16/13 at 02:38 PM | #

Bet knife boy’s supporters are happy that he is mounting such a “vigorous defense” with their hard-earned.

I’m sure the British colonies throughout the Caribbean are equally delighted…

Posted by Rocket Queen on 09/16/13 at 03:14 PM | #

Nikki Battiste has written another press release for the Friends of Amanda on the ABC News website:

She can be contacted via Twitter:


Posted by The Machine on 09/16/13 at 09:44 PM | #

Why we consider that our happy times are always small and insignificant but the sad times are all pervasive and overshadow all the happy times for all times?

We give importance to wrong things in real life.

Posted by chami on 09/17/13 at 06:33 PM | #


It’s that damn puritan ethic again, if you ask me, in which God is a stern father who demands we live in fear and trembling of his vengeful wrath (yup) and, as original sinners, we must be always be diligent and anxious about tomorrow.

In the UK I think every November 5 we should replace the effigy of poor old Guy Fawkes on the bonfires with one of this nasty old testament God. We might see some changes then over time.

Even though we like to think we’ve thrown off religious claptrap many of us still relinquish the present and work neurotically for imagined material security and freedom from anxiety in a future that never comes. How sad is that?!

“Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today”

Posted by Odysseus on 09/17/13 at 07:50 PM | #

Thank you, for getting me on track!

I was thinking of Omar Khayyam, but was worried that if I quote an Iranian, someone may put me on the no-fly-list!

“Ah, Love! could you and I with Him conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits — and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart’s Desire!”

Posted by chami on 09/17/13 at 09:44 PM | #

@chami, Snap!

Lets agree to quote Edward Fitzgerald…:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on; nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

I’m sure many of us have been thinking the same.

Posted by Cardiol MD on 09/18/13 at 12:02 AM | #

Thank You, hopeful.

That is a beautiful photograph of Meredith, Stephanie and Mrs. Kercher !

Sending thoughts to the Kercher Family.

Posted by MissMarple on 09/18/13 at 01:07 AM | #

Greetings all.  Thoughts are with the Kerchers now.  Here it comes.  Daybreak (UK breakfast TV) has an “exclusive” with Amanda Knox this coming Monday.  The interviewer, Lorraine Kelly, is to journalism what Britney Spears is to classical music.  She’s more at home doing fashion makeovers with members of the general public.  It will probably be a PR slam dunk for the Meloxes.  The nerve of these people:

Posted by Earthdog on 09/18/13 at 12:48 PM | #

How classical Britney is, people will know in the very future.  How wrong journalism is today, we all know now.

Posted by Helder Licht on 09/18/13 at 01:07 PM | #

How dare Amanda Knox even consider using UK TV networks as a platform for her lies and claims of victimisation.

Never have I seen such vile audacity from a murderer.

Posted by thundering on 09/18/13 at 03:20 PM | #


She dares because she doesn’t think she’s done any wrong. Doesn’t really understand all the fuss. So someone got their throat slit. And?

She thinks she’s victimised because the prosecution are making a big deal of a little murder, for heaven’s sake. As she says it could have been HER, but it wasn’t and she’s still here so what precisely is the problem?

Boy would she like to come clean and tell them she did it, O.K.? So what? Get over it. Instead at the insistent and ridiculous prompting of Edda,Curt, Chris and the rest of the team she has to make the so BORING rounds of TV stations, interviews etc, while being careful to remember the PR advice and not to let it slip what a bunch of jackasses she thinks everyone is on this issue.

She’s done no wrong, that’s how she sees it. Unfortunately someone should have sternly told her
a good few years back just how wrong it is.

Posted by Odysseus on 09/18/13 at 05:17 PM | #


Unfortunately it is not helping her.

Now the “sweet damsel in distress” movie is over, people are going to ask questions. What she believes is of no consequence.

No, we are not trying to make a big deal of a little murder. But if she cannot answer questions, what we think does not matter any more either.

There is only so much that money can buy.

The sooner she realizes this, the better. For her and the knife man.

Posted by chami on 09/18/13 at 06:18 PM | #


Absolutely. How we all long for closure on this, especially of course Meredith’s family.

Posted by Odysseus on 09/18/13 at 08:25 PM | #

So does this mean she is travelling to the UK?

Posted by thundering on 09/18/13 at 10:55 PM | #

P.S. Amanda Knox claims she hasn’t enough money to travel to Italy for her appeal yet she can travel to England to make television appearances? Where are her priorities?

Posted by thundering on 09/19/13 at 05:49 AM | #
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Where next:

Click here to return to The Top Of The Front Page

Or to next entry More About Meredith With Thanks To John Kercher and Stephanie

Or to previous entry Meredith’s Perugia #34: Startling Sights Of Italy As Selected By Video Editor Alessandro Belotti