“The secret to any long standing relationship is communication … there just shouldn’t be too much of it.”
Lest the Ol’ Philosophizer be accused of using a fine quotation without proper attribution, let me, a retired teacher and grammarian extraordinaire, set the record straight. He didn’t quote it, he wrote it, many years ago. What’s more, I agree with it. This is quite possibly a first in nearly 37 years of marriage, and at the same time an explanation for said 37 years. But I digress, before even starting. A bad sign.
My husband has coined the handle “Ol’ Philosophizer” for himself, which perfectly describes his fondness for rambling on waxing humorously philosophical about any number of different topics. Mine, Elizabeth R, refers to one attribute only, but it’s a biggie. I am an incurable Anglophile, and have been since 1953.
Something very special happened in June of 1953, when I was not yet six years old. Elizabeth II was crowned Queen of England, and the whole grand spectacle was shown (black and white, but still…) on our brand new console TV set. I was mesmerized, even more so when it dawned on me that I, too, was Elizabeth II, because my Granny’s name was Elizabeth, just like mine! Later I noticed that the Queen was also referred to as Elizabeth R – also me, because my last name began with R, too. (I thought “Regina” was a pretty silly last name until I discovered it meant queen, and then I thought it was merely redundant.)
My Anglophilia grew ever stronger over the years. Always a reader, I sucked up Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins – and later the Chronicles of Narnia and Oliver Twist. Later came the British Invasion in pop music and I wallowed happily in the music of the Beatles and the Stones and other lesser British lights. Monty Python was not only offbeat and hilarious, but they all spoke in that accent that I so loved.
And so it continued, lurking in the background during the long and largely happy years consumed by child rearing and teaching, but always there, not quite below the surface. During a particularly stressful time encompassing potty training with one child and teething with the other, I even memorized all the kings and queens of England and their dates. (it didn’t help – somehow, “I’ll bet Henry VIII could use the potty when he was 3!” fell flat)
Some time in 2007, we were visiting our younger son, Ben (I would like to say we named him after Big Ben in London, but that would be an uncalled for literary device, and it wasn’t true anyway) and he announced that his company was transferring him to London. Ol’ P accepted the news stoically, knowing that a young man must do what he must to further his career. I, on the other hand, drove my fist in the air and exulted “yesssss!” What kind of a mother delights in the fact that her child is soon to be moving 3,000 miles away? In my defense, had the terminus of those 3,000 miles been California, I would have been suitably heartbroken. So began many summer trips to Great Britain visit our son, engendering a plethora of offbeat anecdotes that will undoubtedly find their way into these pages.
I am now a much more fulfilled Anglophile, and my library at my end of the house has become a shrine to the mother country, filled with books, maps, pictures, magazines and DVD’s originating across the pond. And thanks to a wee mishap last summer in the Queen’s Great Park resulting in the amputation of my left ring finger, as much of England as I have amassed here in the USA, I can honestly say that a little part of me will always be in England.