Tribute to the Hopeless Romantic
Posted by Oscar the Grouch on August 9, 2008
A romantic gesture – a light kiss on the cheek; a walk by the beach in the sunset; strolling hand in hand; lost into each other’s eyes. But melodramatic romance does happen, many a times in the movies. In Shakespeare in Love, William Shakespeare, played by Joseph Fiennes, falls in love with Viola de Lesseps, played by Gwyneth Paltrow. It was a doomed romance, for Shakespeare is married, and Viola is a noblewoman whose parents would never permit her to marry a commoner. In the end, the lovers were to part, never to meet again. But out of their love, Shakespeare used Viola as his inspiration to write, immortalizing his lover by making her the main character of his play, Twelve Night.
But the hopeless romantic, as in the fictional Shakespeare in Love, do exist in the real world. The story of Edward Leedskalnin is one of them. His story enfolds in Latvia, his hometown. Edward Leedskalnin was then age 26, and is engaged to be married to his one and only love, Agnes Scuffs. She was then only 16.
Agnes cancelled the wedding just one day before the ceremony. Crippled in heart and soul, Edward left Latvia, and he rooted himself to faraway Homestead, Florida. Homestead would serve as his lonely solitary confine. It was there that he spent the rest of his life creating a monument to his lost love. The next 30 years was spent carving and sculpting over 1,100 tons of coral rocks, turning it into a castle; his Taj Mahal; as a testimony of his profound love to Agnes. .
Coral Castle, as it is known today, is Edward’s physical manifestation of undying devotion to a callous lover. Love moves a man. For Edward Leedskalnin, it all so true. A man of only 5 feet in height, and weighing a mere 100 pounds., he toiled all day and night to lift and maneuver blocks of megalithic stones to create this magnificent castle. Edward never married. He died in 1951, at age 64, still pinning for lover.
Edward Leedskalnin’s love story was made into a beautiful song by rocker Billy Idol back in the 80s, appropriately entitled Sweet Sixteen, with the following lyrics:
” Gave my heart an engagement ring
She took everything
Everything I gave her,
Oh sweet sixteen
I’ll do anything
For my sweet sixteen
And I’ll do anything
For little run away child “
Closer to home, the love story of one of our greatest judge, the late Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader, never fails to inspire. The great judge had two loves in his life; one was the law, the other his wife. It is said that he loved the law to madness, and the only thing that he loved more was his wife.
Tan Sri Eusoffe was among the five courageous judges who were suspended in the 1988 judicial crisis. During that time, the judge went to great lengths to make sure his beloved wife, Haseena did not see or hear what was happening to him over the TV. When Haseena passed away in 1993 after a long illness, the judge was devastated. For every year after that, on Haseena’s death anniversary, he took out full-page advertisements, dedicating love poems to her. He would pen the poems in Latin, a language which he has a penchant for. In 1994, he penned this poem in Latin and inserted an English translation:
” My love, Light of my Life!
I think of thee in silence
And often speak thine name:
All I have are memories
And photos in a frame;
To thy resting-place I wander
To place roses with love and care::
But no one can know the heartache
As I turn and leave thee there;
No monument can stand more stalwart
Than the everlasting love we share,
let’s then rejoice and ever bear in mind
That such a bond surely makes us but
one of a kind.”
It is said that Tan Sri Eusoffe had been profoundly depressed after Haseena’s death, and his zest for living was no longer there. The judge died in 1996 by taking his own life in tragic circumstances. This is a man who literally died of a broken heart.