Rolling Back the Years
Rest in eternal peace, Queen Elizabeth II, in well-deserved respite from a life of service. May you walk hand in hand with your beloved. May you embrace and crack wise with ancestors and friends who waited for you so patiently. And may a platoon of smiling corgis forever be your honor guard.
At times like these, scrolling through endless photos, reading biographies and eulogies for someone most of us never met but who was a constant our whole lives, our own pasts can bubble up as we make connections in our minds.
As a Canadian, my own memories offer portraits of Her Royal Majesty gracing every classroom, every government office, every bank, and many private businesses. Although Canada was confederated in 1867 and was its own nation for nearly a century by the time I was born, it recognized the British monarchy and continues to do so.
Royal visits were an opportunity to show respect and gratitude.
Today, while watching a Smithsonian show, “Honoring the Life and Legacy of Queen Elizabeth II,” a picture of a two-year-old Elizabeth impressed on me that her face never changed through nearly ten decades. I wondered, is that true for all of us? Do we keep the same face from infancy to old age? And, like our faces, do our passions and talents persist through decades?
We grow up. We get older. And we don’t change. Not in any significant way.
Barb at five — a baby poet
Long before essays and prose, I was a poet. In first grade, Mrs. Brownridge asked us for a sentence to the prompt, “What I see in the Clouds.” She got this from five-year-old me:
I see in the clouds some white, white air
I don’t know what nice things could be up there.
There may be angels with beautiful crowns
Dancing merrily above the towns.
There was much more of this, a page and a half single spaced if I recall, but I’ll spare you the rest not out of mercy but because I only remember bits and pieces.