Home for the Holidays, by Thomas Kincaid

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sweet Memories of a Time Gone By

All the current news coverage of the upcoming marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton this week must bring back to many people who are old enough to remember the incredible fervor surrounding the marriage of The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.  I was in college at the time, attending Brigham Young University, and living in the basement apartment in the home of a sweet older couple.  One of my closest friends, Ruth, lived with her family around the corner from my house and we were all huge Anglophiles. The afternoon before the big day, a handwritten invitation appeared at my door, penned by Ruth's mother, inviting me to attend the royal wedding at their home that night.  Such fun!  I remember going to bed extremely early and then awakening around 2 a.m., getting dressed and then running full speed to Ruthie's house, where we lay on the floor in front of the TV for hours, watching the pageantry unfold.   It was such a sweet time, because of course, like most people, we believed this was a love match and I adored Lady Diana and how virtuous she was when she married.  These are lovely memories of so long ago...

Of course, over the ensuing years the whole thing fell apart, but I still loved to peruse pictures of The Princess of Wales, admiring her fashions and the warm way she had with people.

Fast forward to another memory.

It was 12:30 a.m. on August 31st, 1997.  I was lying in bed, timing contractions I had been having for the past hour with my second pregnancy, which were with my son, Robert.  My husband, Mark, was watching TV in the living room.  The contractions had gotten to be close enough apart that I went out to tell Mark that the baby was coming and that he needed to take me to the hospital.  As I came into the room, Mark turned around, having just heard the news report and told me that Diana was dead.  Utter shock and disbelief.  After waking our close friends and neighbors, the Langstaffs, to come over and watch our daughter, Sarah, who was 2 years old at the time, we got in the car and drove to the hospital.  Once in our hospital room, we turned on the television and watched news coverage until my labor became so acute that it was time to turn it off.  To this day, I remember so well the incredible jumble of emotions I was feeling at the time and whenever I see pictures of the crashed car in the Paris tunnel, it brings it all back - horror, disbelief and also the incredible awe and joy of having a child, all of that all at once.

One week later, I watched the funeral with my newborn baby in my arms.

Now, this week, the nuptials of Diana's son, William, and Kate Middleton.  It is great fun for many, I am sure, but I do wish the news media would refrain from referring to their relationship as a "fairy tale", which of course it is not.  I hope it all goes off without a hitch and that the son will be luckier in love than his mother.

But I cannot help remembering an earlier time, when my body was full of youthful vigor and my heart and mind were full of romance and I went running to a friend's house in the middle of the night to celebrate what I thought would be the wedding of the Century.



Myrnie said...

What a sweet set of memories! They were married before I came along, but I was babysitting the night of the accident. I remember watching tv and trying to stay awake when the story came up. It was so surreal and shocking, I felt like I should be calling people to wake them and tell them the news.

Sybil said...

It was a very exciting day for us all the day our lovely Princess married Prince Charles. even at the time some of us had our doubts as we had heard rumors...later proven to be true...I had teh great priviledge of meeting Princess Diane (I think I may have told you) when she visited our flat, she was wonderful. andn ow I wait and watch as her beloved Son gets married to his Kate, a marraige that I truly believe is a love match..She woudl have be so very very proud of both her boys. what is the saying " give me a child until he is 7 and I'll show you the man " I am so glad that she was able to use her influence on them in their young years.
Much Love Sybil xx

Alexandra said...

I remember watching as well - I was in high school at the time. I'll be up early tomorrow to watch!. I already told my husband to make a strooong pot of coffee. ;)

Grammy Staffy said...

Dear Elizabeth,
That memories you have. I, like you, was so excited for the "fairy tale" wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Di. The way it turned out broke my heart. William and Kate seem to really be in love. I hope that their marriage will be happy and endure all the publicity.

What mixed emotions you must have had during your labor with your second baby. What an experience for you to go through. I had an experience that is not the same but is somewhat similar to yours. I was up late tending to my firstborn the night Robert Kennedy was shot and killed. I watched the TV with horror as I held my precious babe in my arms. I will never forget it.

Lets hope that William and Kate will find the happy ending that Lady
Diana never did.
Have a nice week end.