For Christmas when I was seven years old, I asked for, and quite thankfully received an alarm clock. It was red metal with two charming brass bells on top and an unabashedly cheerful yellow happy face. It lulled me to sleep with a marvelously sure and steady tick. Though I didn’t really need and alarm clock at such a young age, as I was a naturally early riser, it came in handy. I was an enormous fan of Jerry Lewis, and for reasons unknown to me at the time (but of which I am well aware now), his movies only came on at odd hours when everyone else was sleeping. So I’d happily set my alarm, hear the pleasant ring, and go upstairs to cuddle under one of Great Aunt Mary’s crocheted afghans on the sofa and laugh and delight at Mr. Lewis, and if I was lucky, his friend Dean Martin. Sometimes my brother Chris would join me, and we’d laugh together at Jerry falling upstairs or infuriating Dean.
Then, in 1980, I became obsessed with a certain preschool teacher named Diana and her handsome Prince Charles (Yes handsome, and I still find him so). Once again, I wound my clock, and the bells awoke me to a brand of pageantry previously unknown to me. This happens in real life? There are actual carriages? Enormous dresses with twenty five foot trains? Trumpets? Balconies for kissing? I was charmed. I spoke often and fondly of the Prince and Princess. I’m pretty sure I even wrote the couple a letter or two. I definitely collected books of their great day and honeymoon, and even had my own scrapbook filled with photos and news articles that I and my grandmother and whomever else I could enlist collected.
Then, in 1997, I found myself coming full circle, sleeping on the living room futon (Why do young people make the mistake of buying these? Don’t do it! They really are terribly impractical and even less comfortable!) in our apartment in Denver, to rise early one last time for Diana. I cried a lot that morning, mourning a treasured part of my childhood as well as the unimaginable void in the lives of her two heartbroken young sons.
And to today. I did not rise early but did manage to have perfect timing with a full recap of all the splendid moments. Kate looked lovely (her dress exquisite and perfectly tailored), the Prince quite handsome (the red!), and both incredibly nervous and happy. Bless their hearts, I can’t imagine having the whole world watch my wedding, though they would have gotten a good laugh when the ring would not go on the hubster’s finger and the judge whispered, rather pleaded, “Help her!” A glorious day! If only we’d had use of the Aston Martin with that JU5T WED plate. That would have been the tops!
So my heart, as usual, is full. I’ve seen the promise of a new life together, and illuminated bits of my own happy past, but I’ve one more, and it is rather good. At my tenth high school reunion, my friend Kelli Edwards (now Capra) made a point to tell me she thought of me when Princess Diana died. For me, it was the highlight of the trip. She’d remembered after all those years. I was deeply touched and remain so. It is amazing how events like these touch our lives, adding something immaterial yet so tangible and dear. Here’s to starting a new cycle of memories, ones to cherish, for sure.
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