Saturday, May 28, 2011

Class Fascination!


Flora and Floss

A very popular post on my blog is the one called Washtubs, Woodstoves and Iceboxes, a scene from my first draft where I have Flora and May drop Margaret off at the train station in 1908 and they return home only to Floss, while they await Marion.

Well, my final version of Flo in the City will start in 1911...Flo's final year at Academy.

I have sort of stalled. It's been such a gloomy May. This morning I have all the lights on in my living room. When the trees fill in there's little sun in my living room anyway, even when it is bright outside.

Anyway, I am stalling on editing my Flo in the City Book, but not ignoring it. As I last posted, I watched all 7 episodes of the first series of Downton Abbey the other day. That recent miniseries, written by Julian Fellowes, takes place between the Titanic sinking and the onset of WWI -the Tighsolas era!!

When the first episode opens, the Crawley's have just gotten electricity. Tighsolas was 'wired' in early 1913. I know, I have the bills.

At the end of Downton Abbey, they get a phone. Tighsolas got a phone before 1913. There is talk of making local phone calls. I only have bills for 1913 era though..so I'm a bit confused.

Anyway, after the fact, I scoped the web for reviews of Downton Abbey. It seems it was the most watched miniseries since Brideshead Revisited in 1981 (more viewers than P and P, imagine!) Very popular. One reviewer ascribed this to the enduring fascination with CLASS - more than any enduring fascination with the Edwardian Era, although he admitted that was part of it. Downton Abbey was described as a Costume Drama. It is obvious that the fascination with Period Pieces has a lot to do with a love of fashion. (The one exception here is Pride and Prejudice, where the focus was not on the fashion at all, except perhaps Mr. Darcy's see-through breeches.)

Hmm. Well, there's the problem with Tighsolas. Tighsolas is about middle class Canadian women, who made their own clothing. Flo in the City, is about a young middle class teacher in training who learns about the costs of cloth and clothing, the human cost. The Nicholsons were 'in between stairs' as it were, that's the part I find interesting, but will others?

Stories about the Middle Class in the era are rare, or don't exist. People are interested in the poor and the rich. In Upstairs Downstairs they show one middle class family. In Downtown Abbey, a middle class lawyer and his retired nurse mother, are adjusting to better propects.

And yet, the Middle Class's story is very interesting... because it is OUR story. We're no different from the Middle Class back then, aspiring to higher things for us and our children, yet knowing it's much easier to slide down the ladder of success than to climb up it. We know that more than ever. Hence so many middle class professionals paying out hundreds of thousands for their children's private school education so that these same children can keep up with the more entitled in society.

The Nicholsons, too, invested in their children's education, although the school fees were small by today's standards, 2 or 3 dollars a month, if I recall, for Academy fees. Still, this was a sacrifice for them and Flora understands this in Flo in the City as she struggles to pass her final year, so that she can enter Macdonald Teaching College.

Hmm. I bought the Downton Abbey from Amazon.co.uk, and I played it on my Big Screen through my computer. Yesterday, I decided to buy Cranford. I went to the Amazon.ca site and they wanted to charge me 42 dollars! The Amazon. com site was selling the same dvd for 24 dollars and the UK site for 3.50 pounds... Well, when I tried to purchase the dvd off Amazon.co.uk, it wouldn't let me at first, which scared me. But I persisted, clicking madly around the site, and now I am getting Cranford for a cost of 10.00.