Growing up in upstate New York, I had two “little girl” idols–Shirley Temple and Princess Elizabeth.
Shirley was a half-year younger than I while the Princess was a year older.
I especially idolized Shirley because she had such beautiful curly hair. Mine was straight!
For years, I treasured a cobalt blue Depression glass cup with Shirley’s picture on it. But somehow, through the travels of life, that treasure no longer is in my possession.
What I still have in my files, though, is a large picture of the young queen—complete with her new crown. I was 24 when she became queen. I didn’t envy her, but I admired her.
At the time of Elizabeth’s coronation, I was teaching in a private high school in Canada. And every day in convocation, we would sing, “God save the Queen.”
I was proud of the Queen. After all, my father grew up in Canada and only left for the United States at age 21. So I sang heartily and respectfully, I thought.
But one day, a student came to me courteously after convo, saying, “Miss Gingerich, I noticed that you don’t stand at attention while we sing the ‘Queen.’”
From then on, I stood erect, with my arms by my sides as I sang!
When I taught in Kitchener, Ont., I already had travelled a long road from upstate New York as I spent blocks of time in Virginia, Michigan, Indiana, and Minnesota.
That’s the way life goes. It makes me think of the book by Dr. Seuss: “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”
He writes, “You have brains in your head/You have feet in your shoes/You can steer yourself/any direction you choose.”
That was true for Shirley Temple and me, but not for the young Queen.
Of course, she could have chosen the route her uncle, King Edward VIII, chose when he abdicated the throne. In his agonizing speech, her uncle said, “You must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility. . . .”
That was Dec. 11, 1936. The young princess was 10 years old and her fate was permanently sealed at that time. One day she would be Queen of England.
She’s been a good Queen, and all of England celebrated her 60 years as their monarch this past weekend.
Queen Elizabeth really had no choice. But Shirley Temple and you and I have had choices. Lots of choices! And we still have choices.
We still have “brains in our heads” and “feet in our shoes,” and we can steer ourselves any “direction we choose.”
That is, if we don’t let age get in the way!
Dr. Seuss was 86 years old when he wrote “Oh, the places you’ll go!/There is fun to be done!/There are points to be scored/there are games to be won.”
“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” is a popular gift item for high school and college graduates. It is very motivational!
So, when you need inspiration, why not read “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”
Always remember your fate is not sealed. “And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”
“And will you succeed?/Yes! You will, indeed!/(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed).”
Write Marie Snider at firstname.lastname@example.org
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