Tuesday, January 20, 2015
I think about my parents every day of my life. I wave and say hello to them every time I pass by the cemetery in which they are buried. I totally wished they were still alive to see me now, although that would make them 94 years old and I don't care WHAT anyone says... 94 year olds are no picnic. For them or for their caretakers. I mean seriously... 94 gives a whole new meaning to: home bound. Maybe even room bound. Plus... 10 to 1 most don't really have their mental faculties anymore let alone the ability to care for themselves. Just my opinion, but whatever.
When my parents passed away it goes without saying that I was very very sad. Like I said... I'd kill for them to see me now. Anyway... my parents lived a basically charmed life. Yes, there were ups and downs for them but through it all, they were able to pretty much enjoy very good health, a very loving family and a large amount of creature comforts. Which to tell you the truth... meant that indeed... when they passed away, I was able to inherit some of those comforts for myself. Hence the reason a friend of mine once called me AN HEIRESS. Which totally makes me laugh. Remembering of course the ole saying: the truth is often said in jest.
However... the REAL HARD CORE HEIRESS' were those at the turn of the century let's say, when HUGE amounts of money were made by the Vanderbilts, the Astors, the Rockefellers, etc. etc. Now THOSE were family members who understood inheritances, alright. And, pretty much tax free if I remember correctly. Anyway...
I had seen a commercial for a TV series called THE MILLION DOLLAR AMERICAN PRINCESSES. Lickety split I knew exactly what this show was about. It was referring to what Edith Wharton wrote about in her book THE BUCCANEERS. They were the American young women of millionaires who basically paid for English husbands, and their titles, with very large sums of their father's monies. Kinda like cash for castles and/or estates. Exactly like Downtown Abbey where Lady Cora basically paid for her British home and hubby. A Match.com in the 1900's let's say. Anyway...
The prospect of this series sent my heart all aflutter. I couldn't WAIT to view these shows. TOTALLY up my alley. One glitch, however. One MAJOR glitch. I needed to have the Smithsonian Channel on my Direct TV programming package.
Which uh... I didn't. Talk about a dagger in my heart. In order to withdraw it, I immediately called Direct TV and inquired how I could GET the channel. Some very nice guy named Steve helped me out. He helped me out so much in fact, that get THIS:
After checking a bunch of things, next thing I know Steve comes back on the line and basically tells me... UH. TELL YOU WHAT, LINDA. I'M GIVING YOU THE SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL PLUS 7 OTHER CHANNELS FOR FREE. FOR THE ENTIRE NEXT YEAR, TOO!!! What??? Are you kidding me? Really?? I heard this and right off the bat I say: TIME OUT. LET ME BE CLEAR. YOU'RE GIVING ME 8 CHANNELS FOR FREE FOR A YEAR?? Yes ma'am. I am.
HALLEFUCKINGLUJAH!! I was totally in my glory!! Steve has no clue how close he was to being offered special favors in the name of gratitude! I couldn't believe it. How could I have BEEN so lucky as to have had this good fortune?? Talk about inheriting, alright! And... if you think I was in my glory THEN... well then you should have seen me when actually watching the first show of the series. OMG. I SO thought I had died and gone to heaven. Everything I'd ever read on this topic was right smack there, before my very eyes. Thank you Smithsonian for giving me hours of sheer delight!
My favorite episode thus far has been the one about Consuelo Vanderbilt, daughter of the infamous Alva Vanderbilt. Alva knew from the day Consuelo was born that she was going to marry off her only daughter to major high society and thus groomed her accordingly. Then bingo. Consuelo turns 16 and they head on over to London to find a titled bachelor who wanted bucks. BIG bucks. Plus... Alva would consider no gentleman below that of a Duke. HER daughter had to become a duchess, and nothing less. And guess what. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
Of course Consuelo and her Duke hated each other from the get go, but believe me. That mattered not one friggin' iota to Mother Alva. Don't ask. Seriously... reading about this branch of the Vanderbilt family is way interesting. At some point btw, mother and daughter do indeed become reconciled, all in the name of helping women in America and England claim the right to vote.
As for me... alas, no. I never married a Duke. Damnit. I never lived in a castle nor on an Estate. But... thanks to my parents, I did enjoy some kind of inheritance and for that... I am as grateful as any mother of a married Duchess. Well, almost.