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Elizabeth Guinevere Hopkins


Elizabeth Guinevere Hopkins was raised in County Hampshire in a rustic cottage on the coast in Lymington by her grandmother. During her childhood, she sat on the white stones facing the south and looked at the Isle of Wight, just a couple of kilometers to the south. She imagined that she was the princess of the island and the island and it was the location of Camelot. When she gazed past the Hurst Castle and onto Norton Green, she could see the outline of another castle with grand towers and pennants flying the blue and gold Lion of Camelot. If it was a dream, it was the best dream ever and it lasted for hours and days and weeks and months and years. As her imagined stories accumulated in her mind, the visions of Camelot became more vivid and palpable. If the rest of her life had not been so normal and mundane, she would have been disturbed. But she wasn’t: it was a welcome mystical experience.

By her early teens, Lizzy had read nearly every book in the Lymington library. However, she always lay the book open at tea time when she visited Grandma Annabel. She called her Beautiful Queen Bell because it was grandmother who governed over the Island of Camelot. Lizzy would tell her grandmother stories of the comings and goings of Camelot including the racing after pigs and jousting at the fair. Grandmother would listen with delight at the perseverance of detail woven through Lizzy’s stories. After each story, Grandmother would nod with wisdom and tell Lizzy that she must have a secret key to life in Camelot.

By the age of 23, Elizabeth had earned an advanced degree from the University of Southampton and accepted employment as a professor of art and design technology at Christ the King College on the Isle of Wight. She was worshipped by her students and respected by other faculty. Her work in the creation of medieval drawings and costume won best in design by the Costume Designers Guild Awards in London three years running.

Elizabeth was generous and outgoing but often preoccupied. Between classes, at night, and on weekends, she would disappear for hours and her friends would accuse her of having a secret lover.  She would smile and look around uncomfortably but then break into an infectious giggle that would end the conversation.

It was the rocks where she went, near the very place that she would focus upon as a child. From there she could see the outline of the faded castle near the edge of a dark forest. She visited this place for five years before ever moving forward. She was mesmerized by the flickering lights in the towers and sounds emanating in quiet echoes from the windows and doors. She would hear an occasional rooster crow, horse whinny, and a child laugh, but the sounds were pale and distant.   

On a day in early fall during her sixth year at the college, during a lecture to a group of advanced students, Lizzy received the news that her grandmother had passed away. She stood very still at the lectern. Her heart sank but no tears formed in her eyes. She stood with her head down in front of the class for a long time and no one said a word. When she finally looked up, it seemed as if she looked into the eyes of each student and said, “I must go visit the Queen; she beckons me.”

Elizabeth walked out of the room without her briefcase and headed toward the rocks. As the mist gathered, she thought about what grandma said about the key and then walked directly over the drawbridge and into the castle which wavered in the light of the morning. 

An extensive search was conducted but Elizabeth Guinevere Hopkins was never seen again on the Isle of Wight. 

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Polymer clay, steel, concrete, and creative fiction

© Landretti’s Project Studio 2015

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