I have a secret. I’ve been having a love affair for years. This is not a casual affair but a serious affair of the heart. It began as an in innocent infatuation, eventually becoming a mild obsession. Okay, maybe not so mild. There is even a book, sadly not written by me, that sums up my love and desire and tells me I am not alone: My Love Affair With England.
My infatuation began as a little girl learning about pilgrims coming from a faraway land called England where Kings and Queens ruled. Even with the poverty and the burning at the stake it sounded so much more interesting than American history! I read fairy stories and there was always a Prince and a Princess. And then one day a beautiful girl named Diana married a not-so-handsome prince named Charles. I had no idea what the rest of the world thought; I knew she chose July 29 because it was my birthday. I watched the entire wedding with my best friend Tammy and when it was over we spent the next few days building palaces out of shoeboxes and pretending we were princesses. I was smitten by all things English and knew I would someday visit.
I may very well be more versed in English history than my own, even though I do love American history. I have a reasonably good handle on the cobwebby lines of succession, which monarchs went mad and which were murdered, and have read extensively regarding the intricacies and eccentricities of the class system. Nearly all my favourite authors are English; my facebook pseudonym is Jane Austen. I have a master’s degree from an English university and my spell check is still set for UK spelling which is why I spelled favourite with an ‘o.’ I’ve even learned to translate the language differences between speaking American and speaking English and when I am there I can slip with ease into using words like lift, loo and lorry.
My husband took me to England for the first time in the spring of 1999 and I still remember staring unblinkingly out my plane window in anticipation of my first glimpse of Shakespeare's “sceptered isle.” I wrote in my journal that morning: “America may be the home of my birth but England is the home of my soul.” I hadn’t even landed yet! I’ve been blessed enough to return to England many times and my love has not diminished. I love the people, the food, the cathedrals, the cities, the countryside and even the weather. When we lived in Iceland it was sort of like parking an addict within sight of the meth trailer; England was so close and inexpensive to fly to that I went several times a year. By myself, on family vacations, girl’s getaways – any excuse!
I don’t know if the love affair is genetic or if my children are a product of my obsession but they have requested to watch the wedding with me. When queried, my #1 listed his reasons as “1. Because it’s England; 2. It’s the Royals; 3. I want to pretend to be there and 4. It’s a fairytale.” My #2 said, “I don’t want to miss it and there will probably be like 6,475,038 custard tarts that everyone will be eating.” I tried to explain that custard tarts would likely not be on the menu and he stared at me aghast. He quickly announced He was having custard tarts at His wedding!
All of this explains why, at 1:00 in the morning, I am in a cheap hotel in Spokane, Washington that doesn’t even have an alarm clock, confessing my affair. I’m in the hotel because we left yesterday afternoon, spur of the moment for Montana to get our household goods so we can move into the new house on Sunday. I’m awake because, like most of the rest of the world, I can’t wait for the Royal Wedding. I fell in love when Diana married, I wept when she died and can hardly stand the anticipation of waiting for her beautiful Prince to marry his beautiful Princess in thirty seven minutes. I have to wake the boys and then post this later as I have no wi-fi in this cheap hotel!