Last Sunday, I was invited into a very elite sorority. Millions have aspired to join. Thousands have tried out. Only 93 have actually been selected for such special honor. But for one shining moment Sunday, I was named an Honorary Rose Queen. It was a dream come true.
I was an invited guest at a luncheon for former Rose Queens to welcome this year’s Queen Evanne into their ranks. I thought I’d simply be a fly on the wall, soaking in the royalty and trolling for material for my next book. No one was more surprised than me to be called to the podium to speak and receive a bouquet of roses. Clearly, there were no hard feelings about the Death by Parade Float or Candy, the Disgraced Rose Queen in my book, Helen of Pasadena. I proceeded to tell all present that the minute I gave birth to my second son, I uttered the words, “I’ll never the mother of a Rose Queen.” (Or as the insiders say, a “FRQ” or Future Rose Queen!) Then, I confessed to handicapping the Rose Court with great zeal and success in recent years.
Having now met dozens of Rose Queens, spanning from Queen Margaret from 1940 (the oldest living Queen who celebrated her 90th birthday this week and traveled from Northern California for the event) to the delightful Queen Evanne 2011, it’s easy to pinpoint the common thread: graciousness. This is an incredibly warm and welcoming group of women, individual and independent, yet bound by the common experience of their reign. As one Queen said to me, “How could it not change you forever?” Indeed.