It was no surprise when my phone rang early this weekend. On the other end of the line was my partner in crime, my brother from another mother, my doll enabler—through and through—otherwise known as Cam. For years now, I have been “Ethel” to his “Lucy.” (Or the other way around, we’ve both been known to make fools of ourselves.)
Last year at around this time, Cam was plotting how to corner the market with Royal Wedding memorabilia. He was heading to London with his better half and figured on the return trip he’d load up his valise with “prince and princess paraphernalia, lord and lady junk!” However, panicking as though he was a character from “Midnight Express,” Cam started to worry about what would happen to him if a TSA employee rooted through his bag and found a tucked-away Catherine and William teapot and sugar spoon. (I had to assure him that Earl Grey tea and grains of Sweet’N Low were NOT the kind of contraband that Customs looks for.)
So, a year later, and Cam is still plotting how to get rich quick. I’ve often advised him that if he could use his genius for persistence rather than swiftness, there would be no stopping him.
With all the news reports and gossip shows wagging their tongues about “Wills” and Kate’s first-anniversary weekend (“What will he buy her? Will she surprise him with a baby bump? Are they still lovebirds, or will they fly to Reno for a quickie divorce? Is he getting ready to date Lindsay Lohan?”), it was natural that Cam felt a bit rankled. His retirement plan, which consisted of unloading the nuptial knickknacks, didn’t work out the way he had envisioned. Now, he felt that each news report was a kick in his pants and a punch to his funny bone. He could not see anything fun or lighthearted about their marriage.
“What’s the big deal?” he complained to me. “Who wouldn’t stick it out for a year when you’re living in a castle and can send bad household staff to the dungeons?”
“I don’t think they imprison the bad housekeepers,” I contradicted.
“Really?” he countered. “Have you ever heard a complaint from a maid about waiting on the royals? Puhleeze. The ladies in waiting know there’s a dip in the moat waiting for them if they open up about the real goings-on.”
With that said, Cam still couldn’t resist trying to swoop up some additional anniversary treats. Since he has every incarnation of the Princess Di doll (“the mother-in-law,” he quips), he insists that he needs the daughter-in-law, too. He has Kate Middleton as the glowing, radiant bride. Now he needs the Duchess of Cambridge as she settles into her wifely duties as well.
“It would be funny to see her in a housecoat and curlers, wouldn’t it?” he joked.
“Kate as a ‘Real Housewife of Great Britain.’”
“People don’t wear curlers anymore, Cam.” (I didn’t mention “housecoats” because my robe looked suspiciously like one of my mother’s long-ago cover-ups.)
Apparently, though, there’s a stumbling block to his master plan. The Mattel rendering of the happy couple sold out online at http://www.BarbieCollector.com—an occurrence that seems to be happening more and more these days. Items are sold out before they can come to the physical marketplace. (“It’s like trying to buy Springsteen tickets in the old day,” Cam groused.)
But on the bright side, in addition to Mattel’s “William and Catherine Royal Wedding Gift Set,” other doll companies are enshrining the modern-day fairy-tale couple. Paradise Galleries is leading the way with an armoire’s worth of fashions that capture Kate’s stylish looks as she walked the Red Carpet and mesmerized the press all over the globe (http://www.paradisegalleries.com/Kate-Middleton-Fashion-Doll-Collection.html).
On hand are some of her most recognizable togs in the “Princess Catherine Fashion Collection”: the “Canada Day Ceremony Ensemble,” the “Stunning Reception Gown,” the “North American Tour Blue Lace Dress” are featured. Each of these outfits seems to be a very particular re-creation of the originals, and “most important, you can actually buy them,” Cam chimed in.
It’s unusual for my friend to be in a foul mood, but the first anniversary of the lucky couple’s tying the knot has tied him up in a series of self-recriminations (“I am going to die alone; I can’t ever figure out what I should do; Why don’t my schemes ever work out?”)
All I could do was assure him that we all feel that way from time to time, and that look at Lucy, the Queen of All Schemers, even her best-laid plans often went awry.
Trying to cheer him up before we bid adieu, I told Cam that we don’t need riches or wealth or crowns or jewels to feel important, we have each other.
He agreed, and then paid me the most heartfelt tribute of all.
“Where would Miss Piggy be without Kermit? That’s how I feel about you!”
Ah, Cam. You’re a prince among men!