Sadly, another great movie star has left the theater. Last week, the passing of Elizabeth Taylor was covered by every major news organization in the world. To her credit, Liz, her marriages and her penchant for fine jewelry would trump the rambling of a crazed dictator, a devastating Japanese disaster and the ongoing threat of a nuclear cloud. I watched as the life of arguably one of the most fascinating women of the last century was laid out in all its glory, mostly diamonds.
I sat there enamored. This woman was, well, hypnotic. I went to work the next morning determined to give Liz her due place in history. I'd say a few words about her to my fourth graders during social studies. What a tribute. If she only knew.
"Does anybody know who Elizabeth Taylor is?" Ten hands shot up in that "speed of light" way that only fourth graders do. My expression went from smug intellectual to surprised sot. The cacophony began:
"She was so pretty." "Yeah, pretty old." "She died." "She was in my third grade class." "No, she wasn't, oh my gosh, she was a actress, she made OLD movies." "She got married all the time." "What did she die of?" "She died of old."
I suddenly felt old myself. I had underestimated the power of the media and of our techno-universal times. It's quite probable that my nine-year-olds knew just as much as I did about the passing of this iconic woman. I was properly and quite rightly put in my place.