I want to thank Macduff Everton for his fascinating look at what was happening up by the Reagan Ranch on that rainy day in 1983 when Queen Elizabeth came to Santa Barbara. Here in town, the planned festivities had to be scaled back, but a small ceremony was held in the pouring rain under the courthouse arch where she met local dignitaries.
I had heard about Queen Elizabeth my entire life in a unique context: My grandmother had taught then-Princess Elizabeth how to drive during World War II. I never knew whether to believe it; my grandmother led a colorful life and had lots of stories. There was an article I have seen in which she was being interviewed for being the first woman to drive cross-country, and talked about her life as the first woman cab driver in New York and all the celebrities she knew, and she told how she came to teach the future Queen to drive. Of course, she was telling the stories.
When the Queen came to Santa Barbara in 1983 Mayor Lodge was able to pass on a question about the story, and the Queen replied that she did not remember anyone named DeWitt. But then, my grandmother’s name was not DeWitt at the time, so who knows?
But I do have my own story now of meeting the Queen, and thanks to a photographer in the crowd, I have proof! RIP Queen Elizabeth.
P.S. I wonder how many people can identify the other “dignitaries” in the picture. They were all well-known at the time, but that was 40 years ago!