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Featured ArticleTiara

Rhinestones are forever...
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Every little girl (and probably more little boys than we acknowledge) wants to wear a tiara. Not a diadem for daily wear, the tiara signifies more hope, magic, glamour, wealth and sophistication than most women experience in a lifetime. It is the accessory par excellence for the child who dreams of being a fairy tale princess, Prom Queen, or even Miss America. Although bejewelled aristocrats have paid gracious tribute to the tiara in our century, the shy and beautiful young woman who wore her tiara to marry a beribboned royal captured the hearts of little girls around the world. As Charles and Diana spun away in their magic carriage, little girls, and the little girls inside their parents and siblings, hoped that the tiara would glitter forever.

But little girls, like fairy tales, are evanescent. Several springs and summers turn them into young ladies, and society turns them into young women. A marvelously complicated system of female development helps them understand their strengths, goals, and weaknesses. Given a responsive environment, each little girl uses her capabilities and limitations to forge a position for herself. But sadly, most cast their tiaras aside and forge compromises with life. I once had a friend who truly wanted to be Miss America. She was undeniably adorable. Unfortunately, by the time she was 15 (I said cute, not brilliant!), she realized she had no talent and could never compete. Another wanted to marry royalty, so she skied the Alps relentlessly and found an Italian nobleman -- an aging, addlepated alcoholic. Today she's a Baroness, titled, entitled, and lonely.

As the years passed, it must have seemed to Diana that her tiara glittered falsely. I have always wondered how people could enjoy wearing jewels that "look just like diamonds". For me, others are not the problem. I would never be able to convince myself that the jewels were real. Diana's diamonds, however, looked just like the real thing, and for good reason; they were. But, she began to see that her marriage, like the jewels in her tiara, had lost its shine. As Diana embraced motherhood, charity work, friendship and love, her jewels regained their luster. She matured into a confident and powerful woman, sparkling from an inner tiara studded with courage and determination. The beauty and elegance we all admired Diana's combined internal and external endowments.

I'll probably never wear my tiara to walk down the runway, unless I'm catching a plane for a costume party. But I take it out from time to time to think about what sparkling opportunities the rest of my life might offer. (I have a magic wand too, but I stopped using it after I turned my son's girlfriend into a rutabaga. Not as awful as it sounds; she was already a vegetarian.)

I am very grateful to you, Princess Diana, for reawakening my childhood dreams. I thank you for reminding me that "happily ever after" is up to me; there's no guarantee with a tiara. Thank you for helping me remember that even rhinestones can sparkle. May you rest in peace. And may your tiara ever glitter.

Written by Marcia Brown Rubinstien
September 6, 1997

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