I lay, upside down, with my new tennis shoes almost touching the back of the chair. I was talking to my friend perched on the matching chair in the living. She had her shiny red View Master and was watching “Africa’s Animals.”
I stopped talking, almost stopped breathing! I saw the bride float down the aisle, her train so long that she was dwarfed by the grandeur.
Thus began the sweetest long-distance relationship I’ve ever had, with the Queen of England, Elizabeth II.
I watched Queen Elizabeth’s reel over and over. She looked like my fifth-grade teacher, Rosemary Webb: dark hair, a perfect setting for the pearls and diamond tiara she wore with such dignity.
I was so enamored with the glory and the pageantry that I found everything to read about her — throughout her life, a silent stalker no nearer than an ocean and a dream.
I found that “Lilbet,” as her younger sister Margaret called her (and consequently the whole family), was not supposed to be queen. The next in the line of royal succession was Elizabeth’s uncle, Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne less than a year after taking it so that he could marry a divorced American socialite named Wallis Simpson.
Edward didn’t have any children, so his brother, Albert (Elizabeth’s father), ascended to the throne, taking the name
George VI and making the then-10-year-old Elizabeth the first in line to become queen.
During World War II, she begged to do “something,” and though barely a teenager, she made encouraging radio clips to the troops; joined the English forces (as a mechanic) and is the only head of state now living who served in World War II. She paid for her wedding gown with “ration stamps.”
During her reign, she has had an assassination attempt and survived a break-in in her bedroom.
I watched as my old friend, who wouldn’t know me if everybody in Gadsden told her my name, stood stoically throughout the long ceremony in honor of the row upon row of those who are forever England’s, the soft, light green ensemble showcasing a true a queen among her subjects.
I wonder if she would be my friend, as I have been hers? (Perhaps she reads my column.)
Russell and Lori Wise of Gadsden were in the audience of “Fox and Friends” in New York City on Thursday — at 5 a.m.!
Dr. Kyle Battles’ birthday was last week.
I found somebody I lost one sunny day after graduation? Remember Alan Dunn? There’s a great article about Coach AD on my timeline on Facebook. He’s now the beloved pitching coach for LSU.
I’ve had enough star-gazing for one day. Good night, old friends. You’re the best kind, ‘round town!
Glenda Byars is a correspondent for The Gadsden Times. Send submissions to email@example.com.