This blogger skimmed the tome, “Wait for Me! Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire” by Deborah Mitford, published in 2010.
The author described her life between the 1920’s and the single-digit 2000’s as the youngest of seven siblings in a royal family in the United Kingdom; the oldest was fourteen years older. She described her generation of females thusly: “Marriage was the career we all aspired to– we were not trained to do a paid job.” The children “regularly signed the [church] visitors’ book ‘Greta Garbo’ and ‘Maurice Chevalier” as a prank. The author’s father taught her to drive a car when she was nine.
Mitford wrote about various other aspects of her times: “Nearly all my contemporaries smoked, which was not only acceptable, it was usual.” and in 1937, “The idea of answering a dinner invitation with a note of what you could or could not eat would have been preposterous and did not happen.” In June of that year, the author got to have tea with her mother, sister and Hitler.
Through the 1940’s and 1950’s, the author got pregnant seven times, but only three of the babies survived to adulthood; the others died in miscarriages or shortly after birth. She tried not to dwell on her own sorrow as she knew that her situation was still much better than other people’s during WWII. “There were already terrible sufferings of rationings, the indiscriminate bombings and the daily deaths of young servicemen.”
In the ensuing decades, the author found herself responsible for the management of seven households in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Her title became, “Her Grace Deborah Vivian Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire.”
In the 1980’s, the author was speaking to ten influential journalists in New York City who wrote about tourism. She had just visited Graceland (Elvis Presley’s estate) but none of them ever had. Nowadays, the number of tourists who go see that residence is second only to those who go see the White House.
In April 1991, the Cavendishes celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with 3,700 strangers because the author’s husband placed an ad in the Derbyshire Times inviting everyone in the county who was also having their golden anniversary that year. A jolly good time was had by all.