I don’t particularly relish the fact that the Queen of England is celebrating her 60th year on the throne. It makes me feel darned old! I remember – very vaguely but I do remember – watching her coronation on the tiny round black and white screen of our console TV. It sat in the corner of the living room, green-leafed wallpaper on the wall behind, the wood vent of the floor furnace to my right, wide venetian blinds on the windows and tan carpet on the floor where I sat cross-legged at age eight.
The young woman slowly moved down a long church aisle; her crimson velvet, and ermine edged robe carried by six maids of honor flowed behind her. It was like watching a fantasy wedding, and when they placed the crown of jewels on her head and proclaimed her the Queen, every eight year old girl with a television had goose-bumps.
I don’t remember for sure, but I’ll bet that Sue Sue, my one-year-older friend, and I played coronation in my back yard for days after. We reenacted every thing we saw, as kids for generations always have – that wonderful world of make-believe. We try on different personas, different lives, finding ourselves. When I wasn’t Sky King’s daughter, I was a teacher, movie star, wife and mother, and later a woman throwing one of three coins into the Trevi Fountain in Rome, or a private investigator on 77 Sunset Strip with Kookie as my partner.
Oh, my, the world has changed. Or has it?
Westerns are pretty much out of vogue, Monster dolls have replaced Madame Alexander, and Sean White took Kookie’s place as a the cool dude with long hair. We’ve been through Star Wars and actually went to the moon. Hoola hoops and jump rope are now interactive on Wii and PS2. Playing “teacher” now requires a smart board and computers, not penmanship. But good news — Strawberry Shortcake is back and Hello Kitty (no, not Wyatt Earp’s girlfriend) is in every store in Europe.
We may have fought Englandfor our freedom, but Americans are still quite taken with royalty. Last year little girls everywhere, including me, were glued to their 42’ plasma color televisions as they watched Kate Middleton marry her prince in that same Cathedral where Elizabeth was crowned Queen of England. Kate’s long white nine-foot train trailed behind her, a Cartier tiara held her veil. Just today news is that Pippa, Kate’s sister, upstaged a bride at a wedding over the weekend. Last week Charles stepped in as a weatherman on local news. Yes, we have a “thing” for the Brits as much as we criticize the Royal’s wealth and attention.
So now, for a full year, we will watch the celebrations of the queen’s sixty-year reign. It is her Diamond Jubilee, and she’s doing it up right. At 85, she deserves a big hullabaloo. And honestly, now that I think about it, I’m almost excited to tell my kids that I saw Queen Elizabeth crowned in 1953, as old as that makes me sound.