I have a story today. It’s rather long, but stay with it. You won’t be sorry
For a long time I had noticed little things I had in common with Elizabeth. I had never met her but I had seen pictures of her and read about her. I knew that we were both born within the same year nd married within the same year. We both had our last child in 1964. Although considered elderly now, we are both in good health and very active.
When I was in the hospital with my first child I overheard a conversation in the hallway outside my door and learned that Elizabeth’s father had died.. I knew how much her father meant to her and knew how much her life would now change.
When we were young and again as we are old, with matching silver hair,we looked just enough alike at times, or from a certain angle, that people noticed. Once when I bought some bathroom tile I was asked to return the next day to pick it up, and to call for it in their office. When I walked into the office the next day I was greeted by name. I asked the office manager how he knew who I was, and he said the store clerk had told him to watch for someone who looks like Elizabeth.
Anyway I thought of her one day, out of the blue, and without a second thought decided to send her an early birthday greeting along with a copy of my book Playing Life by Ear. I knew some of the stories and poems might interest her, if she read them. And if she was not interested, at least I had wished her well, and I sent her a note to say so. I also told her, briefly, the stories I have just told you.
The other day a cream-colored envelope came in the mail and I didn’t open it until later. I put it in the advertising stack because the envelope was some kind of heavy paper and was simply addressed. Toward evening I picked it up and tore it open with my finger while heading for the wastebasket. What I drew from it was also on heavy cream colored paper, and as I started to read the message I realized it was a thank-you from Elizabeth. Well, she had some help but it really was from her, and it bore her seal.. Here is the letter:
Dear Mrs. Markland,
The Queen wishes me to thank you for your message and the copy of your book entitled Playing Life by Ear which you sent as a gift in advance of Her Majesty’s ninetieth birthday.
Although unable to reply to you personally The Queen was most touched by your wish for her to share your memories and greatly appreciates your kind words of support.
I am to thank you, very much, for your thoughtfulness in taking the time to write to Her Majesty at this time and to convey The Queen’s warm good wishes to you.
(A personal signature)
Lady in Waiting