Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Variation on Sweet Sixteen, as a Theme

At happy hour, after a round of Frisbee-golf, I was exchanging stories with a friend at the bar. After some talk of photography and sports, one story led to another and I told him about an old retired Navy lifer I’d met 30 years ago in Maine, who, working completely alone, had built an impressive two-story house for his pretty young wife from Brazil. The old salt got a kick of mystifying his listeners, by refusing to tell all concerning how he did it by himself.

Then I finished off with, "If you could have seen this geezer's wife, you'd have easily understood his motivation."

My friend, who was once in the Navy, as was I, started telling me about something he’d seen in Homestead, Florida called “Coral Castle” (shown above). Then he laughed and said, “Check it out on the Internet when you get home.”

Well, I did. I went to Coral Castle’s web site: What a story!

"...Edward Leedskalnin was born in Riga, Latvia on August 10th, 1887. When Ed was 26 years old, he was engaged to be married to his one true Love, Agnes Scuffs. Agnes was ten years younger than Ed; he affectionately referred to Agnes as his “Sweet Sixteen”. Agnes cancelled the wedding just one day before the ceremony. Heartbroken and deeply saddened by this tragic loss, Ed set out on a lifelong quest to create a monument to his lost love that has culminated into one of the world’s most remarkable accomplishments. Ed’s unusual creation is called the Coral Castle, (it was originally called “Rock Gate Park”). Ed without any outside assistance or large machinery single-handedly built the Coral Castle. He carved and sculpted over 1,100 tons of coral rock as a testimony to his lost love, Agnes."

Unfortunately, I missed out on seeing this place in my only trip to the Keys (1989). Too bad. Don’t remember if I saw any roadside signs for it, or heard about it then. But if I’m ever down that way again, oh yeah, I’m definitely going to stop to see this bizarre sculpture garden with my own eyes -- a monument to an obsession with lost love.

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