Surely it’s impossible not to be even a little bit moved by the pomp and circumstance today. Whatever you think about the monarchy, Elizabeth II was an extraordinary woman. I didn’t get up at dawn, as some friends did, to watch the funeral, but I did watch replays all morning. Where else on the planet could we get spectacle like that – uniforms and swords and plumes in that magnificent abbey, the glorious music, the parade of mourning coats and black hats, the ancient rituals going back many centuries, the horses, the millions of watchers outside, throwing flowers …
Kings and queens, crowns and castles — what century are we in? Surreal, isn’t it? Bread and circuses.
Today I celebrated my own ethnic background, Jewish New York on one hand and the doughty yeomen of Britain on the other, an apartment on West 79th for him and for her, a thatched cottage. What good fortune to have sprung from both these diverse communities. Hybrid vigour, as my father the biologist used to say.
It may be the monarchy will not survive Charles and Camilla. His mother he is not. I think as we mourn her, we are mourning who she was — steadfast, restrained and private, dignified, dutiful, outward-looking, uncomplaining, honourable. Rare in our increasingly ugly, vulnerable world. She lived her entire life in the public eye and barely ever put a foot wrong.
She was three years younger than my mother, who grew up with her. I wrote to my kids to say, Could you arrange a funeral like that for me, please? An abbey, gorgeous choirs, lots and lots of praise. I’m sure they will.
Today Sam is coming over with his best friend from high school. Tristan lived here on and off for months during a particularly unsettled time in his life; he was so scrawny, I called him Ratboy. But of all Sam’s friends, he knew what he wanted to do. He went to art school, immediately began work in film as an animator and designer, and has been extremely successful, working recently with James Cameron in New Zealand. Last week, he was at the Emmys where he was part of a team nominated for design work. They’re coming over so he can tell me about the Emmys. My Ratboy. What a thrill.
I’m working on my talk for the library Thursday. Too much to say in an hour and a half!
Yesterday’s harvest – pesto and sauce coming. I will have lots of green tomatoes. It’s still very hot today, but the leaves are turning. We’re here, my friends. We’re still here.