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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Citizen Me: Now We Are Seven

1953 was the first year I would really understand that the world was larger than mine! The first event was in January of that year and was the inauguration of Dwight David Eisenhower as President of the United States. I had just returned home from school and my mother had been listening to the radio. We did not have a television. She told me that there was a new President and that there was a big parade in Washington, D.C. I was not only at an age that loved parades, I was in an age where everybody loved a parade -- they were a big deal. Anyway, what she couldn't wait to tell me was that there was a baton-twirling majorette who had thrown her baton three-stories high and caught it! I loved majorettes -- big time!!! That is my memory of the President's inauguration. I was 7 and one half years old!

The second event  was two weeks before my eighth birthday -- The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, June 2 1953! It was a big deal -- even in the Colonies! I had heard all about the two sisters, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret who lived far away in England where it rained a lot. My mother explained all about the coronation and that she would be crowned with a crown she would only wear once, that the crown was  very heavy and most importantly that the it would be broadcast on the radio. That was when I learned that England was five hours later than where we lived so that meant that it would be on the radio very early in the morning-- four or five o'clock. Mom promised to wake me up in time so that I could listen to it all on my radio -- I was so excited!!!

My mother had explained to me that in England the people spoke with an accent, an English accent. For example, they didn't say 'been' to rhyme with 'gin' like we did,  but English people said 'been' to rhyme with 'queen'. I was so interested in this! There I sat at that hour of the morning listening to every single word to see if she would say 'been' to rhyme with 'queen' ... and she DID! I was so happy -- even then I waited to hear if she said it again ... nope ... just the once. But I was not disappointed! Now I couldn't wait to see the movie when it came. Then I would see her say 'been' to rhyme with 'queen'!

Before that, however, came Life Magazine and it did not let me down. Never, never, never in the history of magazines has one been so perused as that issue was by me. I wish I still had it -- I would look at it right now...

And so it all began ...

18 comments:

  1. Ah memories! We were taken to the cinema to see a full color documentary of the coronation..I think about a month after the actual event. This was the usual way, before the advent of TV in everyone's home, of seeing what was happening in the UK. I was totally captivated by the new Queen as was the rest of Australia...and, although her accent was pretty much the same as mine, I did like the beautiful way she so carefully enunciated each word.

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    1. I too was taken to see the movie not long after the event. It was mesmerizing! A lot of Brits, including my husband's family, used the Coronation as the excuse to buy a television. Even if we had had one, in those days we would have to wait at least 24 hours for the film to get across the Atlantic! That was still the case when Princess Margaret got married in 1960!

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  2. Broad, having posted last Monday about my early memories of the Queen's accession and coronation, I'm fascinated to read your vivid memories of the coronation, as well as your own President's inauguration. I must say I admire the dedication which would make an almost eight-year-old wake up early to listen to it on the radio. :-)

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    1. But what an amazing and memorable day to have been a child in England!

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  3. I remember sitting on the floor at a neighbor's house one day after school and seeing black and white footage of Queen Elizabeth's coronation. I remember questioning what I was seeing and being told what was going on. I was shocked: I'd just recently come to believe that kings and queens were only in fairy tales.

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    1. To be honest, Kings and Queens still sound like fairy tales!

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  4. Lovely anecdotes. It is fascinating that you have such a clear recollection of how things struck you as a child. And you began to put the big jigsaw of life together....

    When I was very small my mother made me my own Coronation robe (!) giving me ideas above my station - I must have seen an image of it and been very impressed ... unfortunately I can't remember if so, but I do remember the robe!

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    1. Your own coronation robe!!! I would have been so jealous! Fantastic...

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  5. Dear Broad,
    Oh, I so enjoyed this posting. I could feel the excitement of that 7 1/2 year old whose mother told her that the baton went three stories high and that the majorette caught it! And I could just see you leaning toward the radio waiting for that word. This was a wonderful posting. Thank you.

    Peace.

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    1. Isn't it funny the things we can remember from 60 years ago!!

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  6. How odd that I should be reading this, I'm just stirring my tea witha coronation spoon that I was given when I was born.

    One day I'll get to see the New York Thanksgiving Parade, it's always been a dream.

    SP

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    1. You know, I hadn't seen that parade for years and years until 2010 when The Man and I spent Thanksgiving with my Mom... I really enjoyed it. My lucky sister has relatives with an apartment in NYC along the route of that parade and have been able to watch it in the flesh. Apparently they make quite an occasion of it. The parade I would really love to see is the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, where every inch of the magnificent floats must be covered in flowers.

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  7. What beautiful snippets of you and your mother, and how information was passed down, how Life Magazine illustrated so much of what was happening. Yes, I can connect with you through that perusing too, spending hours on end going through old issues at the neighbor's house.

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    1. Oh, I too can get lost for hours with old copies of Life Magazine. American culture really lost something when they stopped publishing.

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  8. How things have changed. Today, anyone interested enough would be glued to the TV for a coronation. My recollection of 2 June 1953 (6 days before my 8th birthday - yes, I beat you into the world by a week, Broad!)is of watching a giant bonfire in a paddock behind the local showgrounds stables and a very amateur (by today's standards) fireworks display. Later that year we were dragged off to the city to catch a mere glimpse of the passing Queen Elizabeth during her first visit to New Zealand. My mother told me it might be the only opportunity in my lifetime to see a reigning monarch!

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  9. So far I've never seen the Queen. The closest was seeing Princess Margaret-- we'd both attended the same performance at the theatre -- sometime in the 80's. Maybe I'll get to see her if she comes to Liverpool...

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  10. Just caught up on this, both parts, and it's a fun read. Will you be giving us all of the details concerning how to become a citizen there? I'd love to hear it all. I always find the differences (and similarities) between nations fascinating in such things.

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  11. Ah, yes. The British have such a way with propriety and pagetry, in things like coronations and all. And a great show this year, with Her Majesty being on the throne for 60 years. Imagine, having the same job for 60 years. That would be "interesting."

    And we're celebrating in the colonies, too. Off to a good start, with more to come, including a visit to Canada from Charles and Camilla later in the year.

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Receiving comments is a joy and I thank you all for taking the trouble and showing your interest. Makes me feel all gooey and stuff!