“What is a weekend?”–A Letter To Downton Abbey

My Dear Ladyship, Dowager Countess—Downton Abbey, England.

We do hope that the letter intended for the Dowager Countess does not fall into the wrong hands.  Here is where it needs to be posted.

We do hope that the letter intended for the Dowager Countess does not fall into the wrong hands. Here is where it needs to be posted.

Please excuse the intolerably long amount of time it took me to answer your delightfully simple question. I simply don’t have enough weekends in my life to take time to tell you about these things.

You see, Countess, there are usually two days off for working class people, traditionally Saturday & Sunday, that regressive governments & the cultures that support such things, want to take away from those who must earn a living. Later in the history of both our countries, you had Margaret Thatcher & we had Ronald Reagan. Both deplored the concept of being able to enjoy such benefits as time away from work. They were a sordid couple–much worse than George & Martha of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Oh, I am so sorry, that’s well after your time. Let me get back on track here!

As you probably don’t have much to do with staff scheduling, it’s likely that only a calamity would disrupt the day-to-day services that you have come to expect & enjoy.

People do many things for you, and you just are in no position to notice. It’s not your fault. If you had been more properly raised, your parents (if you had any) would have encouraged you to volunteer your time for the benefit of others. Had they done so, they might have seemed revolutionary, or stuck in some other dreary or awkward category. As it seems, you have not been exposed to life lived by the other half, and that’s why the writer of your show is in such a predicament now. He presented you as a one-dimensional character, and that’s all you’ve got to show for it: by asking such dumb questions.

You needed to explore your world a bit more. Princess Marie Bonaparte would be a good example for you, though she’s a bit after your time, she had curiosity, and did break through the Imperial ceiling a bit, saved many Jewish people from death. There were a lot of factors that led her in this direction, but a credible interest in life is a good guess as to what motivated her. Let’s hope your writer grants you that, belatedly, so that the question gets answered to your satisfaction. This may get you a stay of execution. If you want to know what that means, our French history is full of them. Have a nice long chat with your producers, but be nice.

One hint: Those two precious days go by very, very quickly, so don’t squander them!

Yours, Most Sincerely,

Her Imperial Highness, The Princess Melita Bonaparte.

The Dowager Countess Has A Question. Would you like to help answer it?

Princess Melita Bonaparte has tried to answer the Dowager Countess' question, but fears that there may be other answers out there for her.  Please, by all means, add yours!

Princess Melita Bonaparte has tried to answer the Dowager Countess’ question, but fears that there may be other answers out there for her. Please, by all means, add yours!


Virtues of the Dowager Countess of Downton Abbey-From You Tube

The Futility of the Feud-Au revoir, Joan Fontaine…

In the end, it comes down to the same thing for each & every one of us, a final curtain, a fade-out. If we are lucky, someone will miss us, and there will be a rolling out of credits, either as a memorial or funeral or some type of gathering of family & friends.

While I was not in the company of either Joan Fontaine or her sister, Olivia de Haviland, I do understand the lasting confusion of two sisters who became estranged & would not speak nor visit with each other. They were not glamorous nor famous. But they were sisters, our mother, Betty, and her sister, our Aunt Mary Louise. Sibling rivalry, going back as far as their early childhood never ended, till that sad March day in 1996, when one of my cousins called me to let me know that her mother (the eldest) was no more of this earth. No one wept nor grieved more profoundly than did my mother, who would fade away not too long afterwards, due to the ravages of Alzheimer’s Disease. The day after my Aunt’s funeral, I can still remember my mother, tearfully saying to me, “I can’t stand to think of my sister’s body out there underneath all this awful snow.” The pain of the separation was simply expressed in that statement, but the lost years could not be brought back. They both missed out on so very much.

If I could write a letter to Olivia de Haviland, it would simply be to say, “Let it go. Embrace her children, her grandchildren, her legacy, for the rest of your days. Let the wounds heal. You both got to live out many of your dreams, and left superb legacies in the process. It does not get better than that.”

For me, going back to attempt to visit with my mother & fit it a visit with my Aunt (and I adored them both, in different ways) was like attempting to deal with a divorce. Yes, it does seem that sisters can divorce, but the trade-off is just not something that I would advise, nor wish on anyone.

I always thought it was because they were so much alike…but will never really know.

May this visual tribute to Joan Fontaine inspire those who have estranged family members to come together, celebrate what you have in common, and let the stuff that is not important go.

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