Dear Your Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second of England,
I do not know if you read my blog. Nor am I privy to Her Majesty’s e-mail address.
I am hoping that one of your Royal Secretaries will see this and pass it along for your “Royal Consideration”, if you are not too busy knighting people and overseeing “The Trooping – or is it “Trouping” – of the Colours.” (I threw that “u” in for you. I am an expatriate Canadian so I know about the “u.” By the way, thanks – at least to your forbearers – for granting us qualified independence in 1867. Your face is still on the money, though – with apologies – not all of the money.)
Anyway, let me tell you why I’m writing to you.
I would like to request a favor.
I am sure you get a lot of requests, and I am truly sorry to burden you further. I mean it’s not wildly unreasonable, like “I need a kidney”, or anything. In fact, when you hear what it is, you might say, “Spit-spot! – It’s done!” I have heard you are really decisive.
Nor is this some “lifelong obsession.” I just feel… not wanting to put too fine a point on it… that a serious injustice has been done, and it would be great if it were finally alleviated.
Here’s what returned this issue front and centre to my consciousness. (The “r-e” in “centre”? Just for you.)
While enjoying my traditional “Thursday Morning Walk”, I heard a bird go, “Chee-chir-ree.” It was the first detected “Chee-chir-ree” of the season, indicating – if you allow birds to make this particular designation – the official arrival of spring.
That happily heard “Chee-chir-ree” reminded me of the “Signs of Spring” scrapbooks we were assigned in elementary school. (More about which school that was later, as it plays a central role in this petition.)
Truth be told – and who would lie to a monarch? – I was not a big scrapbook enthusiast. I essentially did the minimum. Pluck a newly-arrived blade of grass out of the ground, tape it into the scrapbook – Boom!” – “Sign of Spring.”
The point is, recalling that assignment reminded me of the only other scrapbook I was scholastically required to assemble:
“The Queen Elizabeth the Second Coronation Scrapbook.”
(I just looked it up so I wouldn’t embarrass myself and immediately put the kibosh on this petition due to “historical inaccuracy.” I know for sure it was the early 50’s because of that – forgive me – stupid school scrapbook assignment.)
There I was, trudging from travel agency to travel agency, asking for illustrated brochures of England and having the proverbial door repeatedly slammed in my face. Do you recall the crushed look on your sister Margaret’s face when you said ”No” to her marrying Group Captain Peter Townsend? Same look on myface when they told me, “No brochures!” Minus the abject heartbreak.
Anyway… here’s the thing. (Answering your likely impatient, “What’s the thing?”)
I learned this many years after the fact. (Along with hearing about “Canadian Thanksgiving”, although at not exactly the same time. I link them together because my response to bothilluminations was “What!?!”)
I don’t know if they told you this – I’m sure your plate was really full at that moment – but when Your Majesty was coronated, they struck a commemorative coin in your honour (sic) and sent copies to every school in the commonwealth, to distribute to all of the schoolchildren.
Well – getting straight to the point here –
I never received a coin.
Not just me. Nobody in my school got one. That school being,
The Toronto Hebrew Day School.
Let me be clear here. I am not accusing Her Majesty or Her Majesty’s Government of anti-Semitism. (Although there was that one misstep when you – well, I mean, not you, but one of your predecessors – expelled all the Jews out of England in 1280.) (Applauding anotherpredecessor for later allowing them back in.)
Maybe it’s because we were designated, what they called, a “Parochial School.” But for whateverreason, our school did not receive any coins. (Unless we did, and our principal Mrs. Snider kept them all for herself, distributing them piecemeal to her grandchildren as Chanukah gifts, or for finding the matza. (It’s a Passover tradition. Ask someone to Google: “Afikoman.”)
Which finally brings me to my request.
I am aware it was a long time ago.
But do you think you could find me one of those coins?
Here’s the thing, which will, perhaps, make things a bit easier. I’ll be in England – specifically at Oxford University, the second week of July. So if you want to deliver the coin personally, that would be really terrific. (I am not clear on the school’s “Visitors Policy” but I am sure they would make an exception for you.)
Otherwise, you could just mail it to me.
That is, if you happen to find one somewhere, like maybe while cleaning out your drawers, or something. I’m not asking you to cancel any Royal Visits to look for it. Just, you know, you’re rummaging around some rainy day when you are unable to inspect your gardens and it’s like,
“Oh, look – a leftover commemorative coin from my royal coronation! I think I’ll bestow it on that former Canadian who wrote me that nice letter.”
Well, I guess that’s it; I just thought I should try. Anyway, congratulations on your being the all-time longest reigning ruler of England. Or perhaps anywhere, for all I know – I am no student of “monarchical longevity.“
I am not going to grovel, or anything; I imagine you hate grovelers. It’s just, if you can see clear to respond to this ‘umble petition, I would really appreciate it.
Your loyal Commonwealth (ex)-subject,
(Address provided, on request.)