Do you ever find yourself thinking, on occasion, that life is like an Edna Ferber novel? Our lives go along day to day, and suddenly a generation has passed, and during that time, a story of epic proportions has been told. Today, July 1st would have been Diana, Princess of Wales's 50th birthday. She was first introduced to the world as the shy English rose, who glanced out from under her long, side-swept bangs, and hairdressers all over the world were besieged by young women who demanded a "Di job". That adulation was the beginning of the road to her early demise at the age of 36. In this photograph the changes she underwent along that journey are clearly visible; she transformed into a completely different person. What happened along the way? How did Shi Di turn into the woman that Prime Minister Tony Blair awkwardly nicknamed "The People's Princess"?
In Edna Ferber's novels, usually the main character was a strong female, who underwent hardships and often discrimination of one sort or another. Several of Edna Ferber's novels were made into movies, including "Show Boat", "Giant", "So Big", "Ice Palace", "Saratoga Trunk" and "Cimarron". Lady Diana's life could have been an Edna Ferber novel ~~ the young woman as a victim, who marries into a family whom she feels doesn't value her. She struggles, but she overcomes the feelings of oppression, and produces two wonderful sons who grow up into fine young men to carry on the dynasty. It's all there ~~ in epic proportions.
As Diana's life went along to its fateful end, I felt she was spinning out of control. She had become the victim of her own celebrity, but she had also bought into her own myth. Was that her fault, or her admirers? I suppose we'll never know. It's too sad for words. Perhaps Edna Ferber might have thought of a happier ending to this woman's story. Perhaps she would be celebrating her 50th birthday today, surrounded by her friends and family, rather than as a tragic figure lying in a grave, surrounded by a lake in the quiet English countryside.