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Queen Victoria

by Lilli Harris Lee

In the year my grandmother, Victoria King Harris, was born, Oklahoma became America's 46th state and Theordore Roosevelt was president.  It cost two cents to mail a letter and eggs were twenty-nine cents a dozen.  Vacuum cleaners were the latest invention but Band-aids, bubble gum and ballpoint pens had yet to hit the scene.  On Novermber 9,1907 Victoria Harris was born and this month she's turning one hundred years old. It’s hard to think of my grandmother at one hundred when the mere mention of her age at ANY age would cause her eyes to widen in shock and disbelief.  This is a lady in the truest sense of the word. She’d never leave her bedroom let alone the house without her make up on and hair perfectly styled.  Actually, it’s a style she perfected so long ago it’s often impossible to tell how old she is in photographs spanning the century. My grandmother admittedly hates change yet thrives on staying current.  She loves dissecting the hot-button issues of the day or dishing the dirt about Hollywood couples.  Almost nothing pleases her more than when Tiger Woods plays a good game of golf on TV.  Victoria Harris was born in London and even though she moved to the United States in 1939 with my grandfather, father and two uncles, she is still extremely British.  Every Sunday she hosts a high tea for the entire family in the same Cheviot Hills house she’s called home for 63 years.  During one of those teatimes, when I was very young and trying hard not to break the china teacup, I used to fantasize that maybe our British heritage meant we were related to royalty.  I realized later that my grandmother didn’t have to be ‘royal’ to still be our queen.   When I recently happened to admire an enormous new rock on her finger, I asked if it was in honor of a special occasion.  She answered, “I needed a new ring to play bingo, darling.” I mean, don’t we all?!  My grandmother is often asked how she’s managed to live to one hundred and she always answers, “I’ve been lucky and lazy!” Neither is actually true, of course.  But if all of us can look back on our lives and boast the love and admiration she has enjoyed for 100 years, then we would all be lucky indeed.

 

 

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