David's Reformed Church Congregation

David's Reformed Church Congregation
Congregation of David's Reformed Church, Montgomery Co, Ohio, Circa, 1900

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Her Face on the Tea Towels


I hope you will indulge me a bit today as I go a little bit off the genealogy trail to share this treasure, for today I am thinking of July 29, 1981.
I had been married myself only a few weeks when Lady Diana married Prince Charles in St. Paul's Cathedral.  I was one of millions who awoke at 4:00 am to watch the festivities.  I had begun my "Diana" collection a few months earlier, quite innocently enough.  Newly engaged, I was watching the CBS Evening News when a brief report began picturing the Prince of Wales and a beautiful young woman dressed in a brilliant blue suit.  As they were shown strolling hand in hand, the story went on to describe their engagement and gave the woman's name as Lady Diana Spencer.  The next day in the newspaper, a photo from that press report appeared and I thought it might be nice to have a copy of it for my "wedding scrapbook" to show something that was going on in the world during the time of our engagement. I thought it would just end at that, but, boy was I wrong!
Lady Diana, the lovely, young, kindergarten teacher caught the imagination of the whole world and "royal wedding" fever began to spread.  I decided to start a scrapbook about the wedding itself and there was no shortage of items with which to fill it.  One scrapbook turned into two, three, four...... 
I also starting buying other souvenirs; plates, dolls, stamps, books and the tea towel pictured above.
After the majesty of the wedding, came the "baby watch" and the births of Prince William and Prince Harry. But, it was soon quite obvious to everyone that the royal marriage was not a happy one.  By the time of the official announcement of their impending divorce, no one was surprised, although it was very sad. Now, we watched Princess Diana begin a life as a single woman; much wiser and no longer the innocent young lady she was when we first came to know her.  When she spoke of the fears she had prior to her marriage, she said her friends had told her she could not back out of the wedding because "her face was on the tea towels".  I have to admit when I read those words I felt very sad.  How trapped she must have felt by the expectations of the entire world.
When Diana died in Paris that Labor Day weekend, I cried my heart out. Her funeral took place during one of my regular work days and those of us in the office sat around the television and watched.  There were several "twenty-somethings" who worked with me and they expressed confusion as to why Diana's death was "such big news".  We had lost famous people before. Why was Diana so special?
I can only speak for myself, but this is what I think.
My generation, maybe more so than any other, was raised on the fairy tale.  The story of the beautiful princess meeting her prince, falling in love and living "happily ever after" was a staple in our lives.  We had the Disney "Big Three" in Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty.  In the 1960's we were even given Rodgers and Hammerstein's brunette version of Cinderella in the form of Lesley Ann Warren. (Who was my special favorite!) So, when Lady Diana appeared, it was almost like a fairy tale come true. It was even spoken in their marriage ceremony, I believe by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who said, "This is the stuff of which fairy tales are made. A Prince and Princess on their wedding day."  We wanted to believe it was true love.  We wanted to see the "Happily Ever After".  So, when it ended so cruelly, so abruptly, it was truly painful.  We felt like we knew her. We were pulling for her to be happy because she had been treated so unfairly and her death was almost too much for people to take. Maybe that's why the emotions were so great.

My scrapbooks became larger over those weeks as I concluded Diana's story.  I'm glad I started my collection almost 30 years ago now,  and I don't think I could ever part with any of it.  It's a remembrance of a special time and it truly is one of my "treasures". 

8 comments:

  1. Lori, I enjoyed this and was just like you. Except I didn't marry that year. It broke my heart as well when she died. You may not have seen my posts about her, and when I saw her in person. You might enjoy the pieces. Thanks for sharing this bit of history.

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  2. Diana died while I was traveling from Detroit to Frankfurt Germany. When we arrived we heard the news, I kept asking, "are you sure?" I watched some of the event on local telie stations, but, was frustrated beyond words, because I could not understand the words, no English speaking stations were available where we were staying. I understand about 3 words of German. The stations broadcast in German.

    Point of comment? None I guess, just remembering her death and funeral from my experience.

    Great post.

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  3. Well said Lori. This was truly a fairy tale that ended an era of believing that fairy tale's all end happily.

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  4. Lori, I couldn't get enough Princess Diana either! When we were in Scotland back in 2005, my husband purchased a woolen scarf for me. The tartan was the Princess Diana and proceeds from the sale went to her charities. It is one of my prized possessions.

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  5. Lori, This was such a wonderful and moving post. I was married the same year as Princess Di and followed everything about her life. I too cried and cried when I found out about her death. You have put into words thoughts that I never would have been able to.

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  6. We must all be about the same age, and certainly from the same generation. I was engaged the year Lady Di married Prince Charles, and of course when I began to look for a wedding dress, all the styles were based on her dress. I was with my daughter at a Girl Scout camp in Vermont when we heard the news. Most of the counselors were young women from the UK and Europe. They were devastated. The whole camp was glued to CNN on the one small TV in the counselors cabin. My daughter, about ten years old at the time, didn't really know who was "Princess Diana", but she'll never forget all the weeping and sadness. Neither will I.

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  7. I have to be different. I wanted prince Charles, does not every girl want to have a prince. I was sad at the marriage because it meant my dreams of him were gone. Though still, crazy over Di as everyone else as the years went on. Later I guess I matured as they matured. And Her death.

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  8. The UK went into "grief overload" that weekend, and I remember speaking to my mum on the phone on the Sunday and her saying "what a waste" about all the money spent on floral tributes and surely Diana would have preferred that the money to go to charity. Sadly, my mum died very suddenly at the age of 57 the following Tuesday - so we knew not to have any elaborate floral tributes, but I felt so sorry for the Princes -at least I was grown up when my mum died, but they were just kids. As the anniversaries come round, I spare a thought for them and their mum too - she would have turned out to be a remarkable force, I am sure :-)

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