Monday, February 2, 2009

In Which Blicky Dines with One of the Romanovs


I am just astonished that many of my readers didn't believe a single word of the meme I recently maimed. A few people requested that I elaborate on some of the items. So here's the story of our Thanksgiving dinners with Tsar Nicholas' daughter. Anastasia, the Grand Duchess of Russia was sadly killed during the Bolshevik Revolution in 1918, but there were at least ten women who claimed to be her. One of them was friends with my great aunt Edith in Newport RI. She had published a book detailing her life in Russia and possessed numerous pictures of herself and the Royal family. My great uncle Buster always believed her. He'd say, "Just think! You had Thanksgiving with royalty."

The weird thing is that no one called her Anastasia. She was just Mrs. Smith.  I have memories of her from when I was around 10 or 11 years old. I already towered over her because she was so very tiny and very frail. She'd come up to me after church and talk at great length in a teeny tiny whispering voice. I usually couldn't understand a word she said so I'd stare at her eye folds. She had these crazy rubbery eye folds that hung almost all the way down to her eyelashes. She used to paint really beautiful Easter eggs and pass them around after church. As she got older the intricate painted lines on the eggs became wigglier and wigglier, but they were still beautiful. Everybody in Newport was so solicitous of her. They'd lean over and listen to her, then escort her around as if she were one of those fragile Easter eggs. 
One Thanksgiving, when we were quite a bit older, my (awesome rock star of a) sister and I were charged with driving her safely home. Maybe it was just a mistake to entrust her to us because we can sometimes be a little on the irreverent side. Every sibling in my family should have been automatically banned from coming within ten feet of that poor, sweet woman especially after my older brother tried to grill her repeatedly about how Catherine the Great died. Anyhow, I think I was driving, Anastasia was riding shotgun and my sister was in back. All of a sudden, the aroma of the car's interior underwent a drastic and most unfortunate transformation. We had all been making small talk. Anastasia continued, undaunted; making her whispery, quiet, small talk and I could hear my sister's voice become clipped as if she were stifling a laugh. You know how when you suppress a really, really powerful laugh it sounds like you're crying? I managed to cry out very quietly "Was...that....youu?" I think I was laughing so hard all I could emit were a few gasps of air and tears were just streaming down my face. From the back seat: "No...I...think...that...was...a...royal...one..."

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14 comments:

Jeanne said...

Tiny, but powerful.

The Self-Deprechaun said...

HAHA! She laid a royal easter egg on you. Did your eyes burn?

This was a beautiful story though. I was not sure it would have a funny ending or it did not need one.

Anyways...WOW GOLD!

Ronda's Rants said...

That is so funny...
Okay, Oh Pilates one...
Machines or floor mat?

MuseSwings said...

How interesting that you knew one of the Anastasia claimants! Your story from a childs perspective is a scream - grilled her about how Catherine the Great died..bwahahah.
It was good of you to let her ride shotgun.

Blicky Kitty said...

Yes Jeanne we sure felt her power!

Haha no SD it wasn't toxic to my knowledge. :)

Ronda thanks for swinging by I left my answer on your blog.

Yes Musie, we were such kind and respectful children.

Debby said...

Oh my gosh. I never thought to hear 'Anastasia' and 'riding shotgun' in the same sentence. Too funny. Hey is anyone else having trouble getting to your website. My computer keeps saying 'operation aborted' and then shows the 'website cannot be displayed' nonsense. Frustrating because I'm looking at the website when the operation aborted thingy comes up.

dani c said...

Awesome post.. I loved it..

Pearl said...

I love that kind of laughter. My sister and I did that at a funeral once.
Once.
I bit the inside of my mouth so hard (in an attempt to step the hysterical convulsions of what I hoped would pass for sobs) that I bled.

Poetikat said...

What a coincidence! The other day I posted (in my sidebar) an excerpt of my favourite "Frasier" episode, "A Tsar is Born". Have you seen that one Blicky? It's a riot! Not to mention, my husband has been whistling Boney M's, "Rasputin" of late. It must be all this snow.

Kat

Poetikat said...

I'm going to start calling my mother "Mrs. Smith" - and she can ride shotgun next to my husband.

Kat

Merrily Down the Stream said...

Ahhh, priceless.
found you through Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder.

LarryG said...

they're all royal around our house.
:)

Lavinia said...

You know, many of us do wish so badly, that Anastasia had survived the firing squad and made it to freedom and safety in France, England, or America...

Blicky Kitty said...

Debby, maybe the trouble was related to the virus? I haven't heard from anyone else. Thanks for the head's up.

Thanks Dani! I'm loving your son's photoshop projects you've been posting!

Hehe Pearl we've gotten in horrible trouble laughing like that I'm afraid.

Kat, I'll have to look up that episode.
Merrily..thanks for stopping by I'll come for a visit too!

@Larry LOL

Yes, I know it's such a sad story. Many of my relatives believed her...