Above is a photo my daughter took when she visited Highclere Castle in England. We are all Downton Abbey fans and now we are just waiting for the final episode. Why are people so enthralled with the show? Why do we want to watch the ups and downs of a family across the sea? I can only answer these questions for myself.
We live in a world where manners are almost non-existent. Rarely does anyone dress up anymore. You see a variety of shapes and sizes in tightfitting, torn, faded, old and inappropriate clothing on pretty much everyone. There was a time that people took pride in how they looked and I am not talking about a six pack abs or a surgically enhance breasts. Their clothing spoke to the world about who they were. Now you go to church on Sunday and wonder if the women went straight from the club to church. There are short, short skirts, tight dresses, 6 inch heels, heavy makeup and more surgically enhanced body parts than you could ever imagine.
The people in Downton Abbey, both the family and the servants took their jobs and position seriously. Whether they wore the same black maid’s dress every day or changed multiple times like Lady Mary and Lady Edith, they took time to look their best.
Manners ruled the day. Now I am not in favor of going back to the rigid rules of the early 20th century, I am in favor or restoring basic courtesy. No more cars cutting in front of me on the freeway. No more parking spaces stolen. No more awkward questions by nosy people about things that are none of their business.
Communication was slow either by post or the newly installed telephone. Words carried weight and people didn’t send off a letter in haste. Writing out your words helps calm the strongest passion or hatred. Now with a simple click you can share your most outrageous thoughts in an instant. And once it’s in the cyber-world it is basically irretrievable. Words said in haste, a moment of anger or hurt can’t be retracted. I know from personal experience having blasted off a few not so nice texts and twitter posts.
Watching people live their lives with standards for themselves and the way they interact with others is refreshing. Seeing the opulence of the upstairs life with all their problems and seeing that the downstairs staff while they have their problems still have joy and happiness with much less. In our money hungry society where a person’s worth is determined by his/her bank account rather than the size and quality of their heart, I could whisk myself away into another time, a world more refined and kinder.
I shall miss spending my Sunday evenings with Lord and Lady Grantham, Mary, Edith, Sybil, Dowager Countess, Tom, Mr. Carson, Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. Patmore, Daisy, Thomas, Anna and John Bates, Moseley, Isobel Crawley and the many, many folks that came and went in the past six years. It was a respite from the harsh and ugly world of today