Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Lesley Dorman
DORMAN: Quite a lot. A very interesting thing for people today is that I played in one set with Egyptian women and a Viennese woman, a Jewess, who had come out of Vienna in the early part of World War II, and everybody got on so well. The Commodore of the Yacht Club in Cairo in those days was David Addis who was Jewish. A lot of people in the Khan al-Khalili...the mousski (bazaar) were, so when one really thinks about this, Semites get on well together when politics don't interfere.
Q: You said to me that you had undergone the Zambian Independence. What was that like?
DORMAN: We went into Lusaka in 1963 and Independence was in 1964 a year later. Independence was all prepared for. The Princess Royal (Princess Mary, daughter of King George V, the Countess of Harewood) came out from England and, poor darling, I hope it wasn't the Independence, because I believe she died a month later. She was very gracious. It was a very dramatic time, because not only were there lots of balls and spectacular events in the stadium, but I think seeing the British flag hauled down and the Zambian flag — orange and black and green — put into place was very, very dramatic. At a special hour, when it was dusk. And because the copper belt is part of Zambia, a big car covered in copper came with the President of Zambia riding in it.
Then, I had the good fortune to have two interesting talks with Golda Meir, who was representing Israel. She was a very serious woman indeed. Her sense of humor came infrequently, but she was fascinating. What I liked about her was that whatever question one asked (and one hoped it would not be frivolous, because she valued her time), it was answered with understanding. I thought she was a very fine human being.
Q: I think so, too.
DORMAN: I had a good experience there, because I rode with the British General, Sir George Lee, and his wife, Pam, good friends of ours, in their car, because Phil was doing something else at the time, to one of the celebrations. The British officers were all dressed in their uniforms with their swords, and there wasn't any more room in the car. I was slim in those days. We were all in long gloves, very chic and soign�. The aide-de-camp had to stand on the running board of the car! A little vignette. It was the warmest time of the year.
Q: As a person who grew up in England, did you have any feelings about the independence? Colonialism? We were in Malta when the British left. Lord Mountbatten came out. Nobody can do it the way the British can. Did you have any feelings in your heart?