Why I Love Downton Abbey

Olive Schwartz in the 20’s (minus the hat!)

I resisted for the first couple of seasons.  Seems like everyone was watching this show from my hairdresser to my kids to my pastor and long ago I started avoiding bandwagons. How could one show be that great anyway? Besides, we watch 60 Minutes and The Amazing Race on Sunday nights and did we really want to sit there another hour? I didn’t think so.

Then our son and his wife moved to Africa and left behind some of their DVD’s, including Downton Abbey.  In moment of boredom, we slipped one in and bonded to the Crawleys ever since.

Yes, I love the story, the characters, definitely the costumes (why did we stop wearing hats?) but my biggest attraction is more personal.  When I watch Matthew, Mary, Edith, Tom, Sybil and company I feel like I am seeing my grandparents in their youth. Different continent and definitely different social strata but the same global scene…Titanic, World War 1, the Roaring 20’s and a rapidly changing social landscape.

In the story, Tom & Sybil returned to the Abbey in 1920 after their wedding.  The gold band on my left hand has the same year engraved on the inside with my paternal grandparent’s initials.  My family photo stash holds shots of my great-grandmother in her long skirts like the Dowager and others of my grandmother in her mid-knee fashions (top left) like we are seeing this season.

All my grandparents are long deceased but up until now, their memory is always and only of being OLD.  I never thought about them ever being a different age until I started watching Downton. What was it like for them to fall in love? What were their heartaches? Who were their friends? Even without the answers, my family story feels deepened by the view from the past opened to me every Sunday night. I can’t get enough.

Eight years ago today, I became a grandmother. I wonder what my grandchildren will discover many years hence to catch a glimpse of my early life.  I hope it is as well done as Downton Abbey.

Hope for the Best,



2 Responses to “Why I Love Downton Abbey”

  1. 1 Robin Spalding Vaccaro March 9, 2016 at 12:07 PM

    What marvelous observations Downton Abbey’s characters have triggered in you personally. Thanks for sharing them. I only met “Aunt Olive” (as my Dad always called her) once or maybe twice but I have nothing but fond memories of her from stories my Dad used to tell. Both my Mom and Dad had great admiration for her and loved her very much. This photo made me smile when I saw it.

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