Thursday, July 1, 2010

Diana: A Celebration...Born July 1, 1961

Among the many artifacts in the the childhood gallery of Diana: A Celebration were several small figurines. I know at least one was a Beatrix Potter character, with its ear or arm broken off. I wish I had written myself a note. For some reason, it is the most haunting memory I have from my May 28th visit to this special presentation at Atlanta's Civic Center. Also quite striking, was the blue HALO vest over a plain white shirt and pale tan jeans that Diana wore when visiting Angola to bring attention to the great dangers of land mines. It was in the gallery with many of her most elegant evening gowns, suits, and matching shoes. We have all seen the images of maimed children, and of Diana comforting them. Perhaps the tiny little figure (no photographs allowed), still much loved and cherished, helped her foresee her future. It stood proudly and left a powerful impression on me, as did her girlhood ballet slippers and her oh so small school uniform.

There are thousands of tributes to the memory of Princess Diana, but on this 49th anniversary of her birthday, July 1, 1961, I thought I would send you to one prepared by the Spencer family. Here is the website of Diana: A Celebration, which closed on June 13th, with the next installation scheduled for Grand Rapids sometime in November. It is beautiful and tasteful, as was Diana. I did not go there expecting to sit in quiet wonder in the gallery with her wedding gown for thirty minutes, but I did. I did not go there expecting to read the hand edited version of Charles Spencer's eulogy and weep for her again, but I did. I did not go there expecting to see a wall of bookshelves filled with condolence books from towns all over the world which were sent to the Spencer family, but there they were! I did not go there expecting to sign a remembrance book, which her brother seemed to KNOW I would need, but I signed it:
" I miss her presence in this world, still ... and every day."

8 comments:

Sandra said...

I agree and think she was the best thing to ever happen to the royals. Her son's are the second best. Last month I visited Kensington Gardens and Palace and saw where she grew up; it was lovely!

FireLight said...

Hello Sandra! How wonderful to see you here and even more wonderful that you were in England. Did you make it to Althorp?

willow said...

I was lucky enough to see this exhibit in Dayton a few years ago. It was an experience I'll never forget.

Of course you may use my poem! I'd be very honored, indeed, dear friend. Happy 4th to you and yours! xx

FireLight said...

I am so glad you have seen it. My daughter-in-law and her niece, ("Our Flower Girl" photo somewhere in my sidebar) invited me to this. I had heard about it, and thought it had moved on. So it turned out to be my first summer outing. It was perfect.

Nana Jo said...

This is such a beautiful, poignant post. It gnaws me in the heart and guts. That little Beatrix Potter figurine was the perfect accompaniement to your words. I hope I have the honour of seeing the Diana gallery one day.

alaine@éclectique said...

I hope it comes here; I'd love to see it. I cried and cried when it was announced that she was gone. I was also quite shocked by my reaction. It's already been nearly thirteen years! The newspapers aren't as interesting these days, with no news of Diana.

Derrick said...

Hello FireLight,

I'm glad you got such enjoyment from the installation. It seems unlikely there will ever be a time when someone somewhere isn't remembering Diana. Happy 4th for tomorrow!

tony said...

The Lady Lives On In Many Hearts.Nice Post.Thank You.

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Recreational scholar, former high school and junior college English teacher. Animal lover (especially horses, dogs, and people), live in the South, sometimes poet and essayist... "Ireland, Scotland, Britain, and Wales...I can hear those ancient voices calling..." Van Morrison from Celtic Heartbeat