I’ve been watching that TV series “The Crown,” about the young Queen Elizabeth II in the early days of her reign. (And it’s a relief to watch a TV show about a royal family where you don’t have to worry if the main character will be killed off before the end of the episode.). The real Queen Elizabeth is 91 now, and to most of us it seems that she’s always been a kindly elderly woman with a big purse, a hat, and her pet corgis. As we tend to do when considering our own elderly relatives, we forget that she was once an eager young woman, full of curiosity about the world and finding her place in life.
I’ve concluded that the young Elizabeth would have felt right at home in our thrift shop. Obviously, she would never have done her own shopping, or have had to count her pennies and shillings. But she grew up in the years of the Great Depression and World War II, when shortages, rationing, and making do with less were part of daily life. She was a Girl Guide (the British version of the Girl Scouts), whose promise includes the words “to be of service to my community.” At 18, like other women of her generation giving to the war effort, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary of the British Army and trained to be a mechanic. She would have completely sympathized with ALI’s mission to to support needy families in our own community. And had she been a non-royal ordinary British housewife, she would have been thrilled at the bargains in our shop!
In real life, you’re not going to meet Queen Elizabeth in our thrift shop – but you’ll meet many women (and men) who share her devotion to their community. You’ll meet other shoppers who may not have struggled through World War II, but who understand the value of quality merchandise at an affordable price. And you can put away the money you save for a supply of popcorn for Season 2 of “The Crown!”