Notes from Jan

Queen For A Day

September 21, 2022

For more than twenty years, Queen for a Day, captured many women’s hopes. The show applauded Cinderella tales of woe, first on radio in 1945 and then on television until 1964. As a child, I remember hearing the audience yell, “Yes!“, to Jack Bailey’s question, “Do you want to be queen for a day?” Of course, the question went beyond the studio audience to housewives across America wondering if they could become a queen, even for just a day.


And while I won’t speak to the merits of the show, it lasted because it connected. It gave audiences opportunity to hear stories from other women. And to know some had it worse. And, alas, to take refuge in the notion that titles, applause and stuff could fix things. Fix them. That danger still persists.

Earlier this week, I, like many of you, sat rivited, watching the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s Queen for seventy years. An historic reign. Her coronation was on my birthday, June 2, 1953. I turned thirteen, which I felt noteworthy. We didn’t own a televsion until the following year. But watched the coronation somewhere on a small black and white screen adorned with rabbit ears. All that historic splendor captured inside one small box.

So, back to Queen for a Day. “Each of the 3 or 4 contestants shared their heart-wrenching story. These stories abounded post WW II, as did hope. Afterwards, the audience applauded. The applause-o-meter registered, then chose the winner, five days a week until 1964. The queen received a robe, crown, rose and gifts.”(wikipedia) However, all too soon, she returned home as an ordinary citizen, but with practical gifts and exotic ones like tickets to travel somewhere.

When I consider these two kinds of queens, they both have something in common. At the end of life, whether queen for a day or a seventy year reign, the crown stays behind. We leave this world and enter the next simply. Unadorned. Titleless. We enter heaven as sinners saved by Grace, clothed in Christ’s righteousness alone.

So, whether royalty for a day or a lifetime, homeless or a gazillionaire, nothing comes along with us for the ride. As the hymn Rock of Ages reminds:

Nothing in my hands I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress, Helpless, look to Thee for grace.” But take heart, there’s more, always more for God’s beloved children. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man, The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”(I Corinthians 2:9, New King James Version)

Thank God, some day , after all’s said and done, nothing depends on our tale or an applause-o-meter’s tally.

But, for sure, heaven will applaud.

And faithfulness be rewarded.

Just ask Elizabeth.


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  • Reply Maggie Wallem Rowe September 21, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    Jan, I was born in 1953 just a few days after your birthday. I remember watching Queen for a Day on TV in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Thanks for the memories, and mostly thank you as always for reminding us of what really matters.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 22, 2022 at 12:31 pm

      You’re welcome, dear Maggie. You matter, for sure, to so many. Count me twice, at least.

  • Reply Toni Lovingood September 21, 2022 at 8:09 pm

    Thankful for a crown of life at the end of the journey.❤️

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 22, 2022 at 12:33 pm

      Yes, dear Toni, and not for just a day. Though, we’ll cast them before the King of Kings.

  • Reply Jody Gross September 22, 2022 at 4:14 pm

    I loved this, Jan

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 22, 2022 at 6:07 pm

      Thanks, dear Jody. I love being in a book group with you!! And knowing you for most of my “grown-up”life. Youlve mentored me, more than you know and I’m so grateful.

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