Friday, July 14, 2017

Where She Found Her Prince -- A True Story

Hello Dear Ones,

Today a memory took up the (limited) space in my head while I was doing the yard work and other types of chores, and I thought I had better write it down and share it before it escapes altogether!

I chose the above painting (right click for the details) from because it looks so much like the location of this event: Cowrie Point, Tasmania, which I have written of previously on this blog.  We settled there in 1967 and moved elsewhere around 1970, but it was the most glorious experience living in a holiday "shack" with easy walking access to the beach every day!

In winter it was very bleak, and no neighbors, but in summer all the owners came and occupied their little beach houses whenever they could get away from their work in town.  I always looked forward to this because I met so many interesting people.

One such was a young married woman who was sitting in the sand looking out at the summer sparkles on the waves.  She looked over at me, also settled into the sand but reading a book and said she had not seen me there in previous years. I told her who I was and she said her family was from Smithton and that she had come here many summers as a girl and enjoyed the carefree summer days on the shore.

It would have been better if I, as a 16 year old, had kept a diary and written names and dates, but at that age, I thought a lot of things quite trivial--can you believe? After writing some of these memories I realize how unique they were, especially today.

When this lady, whom I will call Elise, looked over to see the title of the book I held in my lap as I sat near her in the sand, she was eager to tell me HER story!

"I see you are reading about a prince," she said, with laughter deep in her voice, "Well, I married one!  I spent 3 years travelling all over Europe looking for him, and then I found him at the beach right here in Cowrie Point.  

"I noticed the title of your book. That was the sort of title that got me intrigued about trying to find a Prince to marry."

I asked whether she would have settled for a common man, a duke, or maybe anyone who was at least a gentleman. 

"Yes, to all those, but here is what happened," she began. "I could not find a prince in Europe even though I stayed three years.  It was not a pleasant time for me, as I was unable to find the prince, so after all that time I came home.

 When I returned home and spent another summer at my parents holiday home here at Cowrie Point, I met him!  He was a home town boy whose family owned the holiday house right next to ours over on the north side of this beach. He had written to me several times while I was away, and kept in touch with me, and even teased me sometimes about finding a prince. When he learned I was coming home he wrote in his last letter, "Coming home to find your prince?"  I thought he was being awfully smug about my empty-handed adventure, and refused to call him when I got back.

I had no idea he liked me, but he came to the door of our holiday house with flowers. My mother knew it was him (I think they arranged it between the two of them) and asked me to get the door. There he with the happiest smile, and he handed the flowers to my mother so I was a little embarrassed  about having reached out my hand to take the bouquet!

(above: painting by Alexander Averin - Learn more of this wonderful artist and see his paintings for sale on the link!)  I chose this painting to illustrate what it was like that day on the beach, as far as I can remember.  It looks like Cowrie Point looked at the time, around 1968.

Oh how I wish I had captured those moments in writing and photographs but at the time didn't think much of it. It was not eventful nor dramatic, and you know how teenagers are (I was one)--its like their brains are asleep, not alert to the drama of daily life!  There she was gazing out to the ocean talking to me about meeting her prince, while I was looking at a book about a Prince (probably by Barbara Cartland).

Elise continued her story. She began to be cool to her neighbor and thought he was awfully bold to give her mother the bouquet, and wondered what he was all about.  He asked her for an walk on the beach, for old time sake; something they had done in the past years during summers.  As she got to know him again she appreciated how thoughtful he was about her welfare, bringing her a cover when the wind turned cold, offering her food and refreshment, or a ride in his car to town when he needed to do something there. "He persuaded me to come along for the company" she said.

She said he was so persistant in his interest, that she finally took him seriously. "Look," he said, why go off to Europe or somewhere else to find your prince, when I am right here."  

"Did you not think that was awfully arrogant?"  I really wanted to know.
"I knew him well enough that I took it as a laugh" she said, but eventually I learned he had been here at Cowrie Point in the summer hoping I would NOT find a prince and come back."

As she filled in details of how they came to be married, I saw him coming toward her with lunch. "I sent him to get some things," she said. "Who but a real Prince would have walked to the little country store down the road and brought back lunch?"

"Were you disappointed at all, in not coming home with a prince?" I asked her, truly curious.

"I traveled far from home and was gone too long. And no, I met no prince there. Yes, I felt disappointed. But I am happy. And my husband IS a Prince."

This was the first time I had ever heard a commoner called a prince, and I listened to Elise tell how an ordinary person is actually royalty, depending on their character. It took me decades to understand that, and finally when it sunk in, I began to recall this event, and now I write it to you.

painting by Michael Peter Ancher

I picked this painting because after  her husband came down to the beach and they had eaten lunch,  she picked up her blanket and books and went walking with him. (They had no dog.)

Elise eventually told me about her mother's letters while she was away. "He misses you" she told her, referring to the Prince at home. "I thought it was boring," she said, but now we are married a few years I do not feel bored at all."


Polly said...

This is so sweet. And it makes me smile because I have a very similar story (without the three years in Europe bit) and my mother actually named my husband "Prince [his first name]" because he was, from the beginning, a prince to all of us! My father later called him a "prince among men."

Yes he is. :)

Lady Virtue said...

Another great story following the previous one. I hope you keep them coming!

Lady Virtue said...

Another great story to follow the last one. I hope you keep them coming!

Sally said...

What a lovely story. At 16 I too read Barbara Cartland books (sadly, much mocked these days) and from them I learned what type of a man I wanted to marry. I've been married to my "Prince" for 34 years and thank God for his wonderful gift to me.
Sending blessings from England.

Lynn said...

I just deleted myself from dating sites....knowing the Lord will bring 'us' together on His own....Your story reminds me that one does not need to go 'looking abroad' to find what what needs and yearns for.

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

What a lovely story to read this morning! How wonderful for you to learn at such a young age, that sometimes one can travel the world in search of something, only to find it close by, at home, or with you. So thankful that I found my Prince too :)

anonymous said...

Oh Lydia,how wonderful your story.
I wonder how many of us are married to a "prince" and we don't see it?
I know I am married to one. He is a true friend. I wasn't impressed with him at first, however he was persistent in his devotions to me. In the three years I dated him, I began to see he was also very responsible and that he loved me. Eventually we married. That was 48 yrs ago and happy to share still in love with my "prince".

Mrs. Cote said...

A very lovely memory!

Blessed Homemaking said...

What a lovely, wonderful story!