April in Glenwood: In love with Downton Abbey
Growing up, kids always would say, “If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?”
That could be in reference to about anything back then — Bubblicious bubble gum, Cabbage Patch dolls, my Joan Jett and the Blackhearts “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” album. Or even those multi-colored feathers we wore in our hair with roach clips at the end of them. The elementary school kids were oblivious to what those were really all about.
I’m pretty sure the high schoolers had a good idea.
Now that I’m an adult, there are many things that goofy love-it-so-much-then-marry-it theory could apply to, if I still thought like a kid. Two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning comes to mind. The Backspin old-school rap station on my satellite radio is hypothetical marriage material. So is my baby Will’s super-soft blanket, that he keeps close to his cheek to help soothe him when he needs to rest.
Yes, we both love it that much.
Another love of mine is something I will soon lose, a feeling I imagine is a lot like watching kids work their way through their senior year of high school. I know I should be enjoying every minute of the journey that has helped my “love” get this far. But I sense the imminent end.
I’m six episodes into the final season of “Downton Abbey,” a period drama by Julian Fellowes that has me longing for Sundays like a fantasy football player. It’s a show I immediately fell in love with after seeing the elegance and intrigue surrounding the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic staff in the post-Edwardian era. Let’s just say I geek out about that kind of stuff.
Mostly I love the historically accurate depiction of the style of the day — costuming is currently circling around the Roaring Twenties. I’m not sure if reincarnation is possible, but the bobbed hair, Art Deco architecture, and liberation of women of the Jazz Age have always seemed to resonate with me. I imagine I would’ve been the flapper on the dance floor back in that day.
When I was a little girl, I would look at pictures of my Great-Grandmother McAnany and daydream what it was like to be her in the Twenties. Her maiden named was Trimpe, known to have some Dutch lineage, “possibly a metonymic occupational name, from the Middle Dutch trippe ‘patten’, ‘wooden over-shoe.’” This is particularly interesting since she grew up the daughter of a successful shoe shop owner in Indianapolis. I wonder if she loved shoes as much as I do.
Watching “Downton” has that same effect as looking through my family’s old photographs. The romantic in me comes out and I think about how exciting it was to be coming into the age of the “modern woman,” as it often called. A first for many women, shopping at department stores, driving cars and writing for magazines were all now reality for females.
And, most importantly, the right to vote. In this last season, recent “Downton” episodes have shown remaining Crawley daughters, Lady Mary and Lady Edith, enjoying the freedoms of pursuing romantic relationships that best fit their single-mother roles while working. That’s a balance women in that era were experiencing after the first world war. Both were in leadership roles in their occupations, with Mary helping run the Crawley estate and Edith editing a new magazine for women after firing a man who had been disrespectful to her role. After staying up all night, and the help of another female staffer, Edith was able to get the issue out on time.
Been there, done that.
With six seasons of compelling drama, magnificent costuming and countless awards, “Downtown Abbey” has had an impressive run. I will miss my Sundays of watching the passion with earnest, and sometimes crying from all the emotion the liberation of women brought. I hear there may be a movie in the near future, which has me excited beyond words.
April E. Clark is in love with her boys. They know who they are. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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