ESOTERIC OBSESSIONS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I’ve had some random and esoteric obsessions over the years. Only two have stayed with me for decades and are still going strong.

One is the Titanic and anything Titanic related. I saw the movie “A Night To Remember” when I was in elementary school. I then read the book the movie was based on and I was hooked. I continued to read other books that came out over time about the Titanic and her last hours.

Painting of the Titanic going down

I was fascinated by the series of ill-fated coincidences that sealed the ship’s fate. If any one of six or seven things hadn’t happened exactly as they did, the ship might have been saved or avoided the iceberg altogether. I also loved the stories of the people on the ship – from the super rich and famous down to the crew and the steerage passengers.

I passed my Titanic fever onto my daughter, Sarah. We watched the movie “Titanic” together over and over. We frequently flipped through our large Titanic coffee table book with lots of wonderful photos. Sarah has followed all the dives on the Titanic wreck even more than I have. Many of the unanswered technical questions about the sinking have now been answered and Sarah and I share each new revelation with relish.

Photo of the wreck of the Titanic on the ocean floor

My other long-term obsession is the British royal family. I always loved English history, particularly stories about the Kings and Queens and their families through the centuries. I started following Queen Elizabeth II and her young family when I was a pre teen. Charles is close to my age so I was particularly interested in him and his slightly younger sister, Anne.

When Prince Charles was looking for a wife, my soap opera antennae went into high gear. When he met Lady Diana Spencer, my interest became a real obsession. I read everything I could find about them, but mostly her.

Charles and Diana early in their relationship

The day of Charles and Diana’s 1981 wedding, I woke up at 5 AM so I could watch the entire ceremony live. I had a one year old so I was up anyway. On this day, however, I stayed up. I also called my close friend in London and we watched the wedding together on the phone. I almost ended our friendship when I criticized the new Princess’s wedding dress. I thought it was overdone, too pouffy and unflattering. Most Americans shared my opinion. But most Brits, including my friend, absolutely loved the dress and took offense at any negative comments about it.

The infamous wedding dress

I followed Diana’s marriage closely. I applauded her more modern approach to being a royal, particularly after she became a mom. She wanted to be a hands on parent, which was a huge break with British royal tradition. I cheered her on, along with the rest of the world. I loved the new vibe she brought to the royal family. I also related to her increasingly dysfunctional marriage with a cheating husband. I mourned her tragic, early death.

I continued to read about Diana’s boys after her death, but not as avidly as I had when she was alive. When Kate Middleton came on the scene as Prince William’s love interest, I got my passion back.

William, Kate and their two children

Kate has continued the modernization and humanization of the young royals that Diana started. I am particularly taken with her easy, close and natural relationship with William. I applaud her involved parenting style and appreciate her and William’s accessibility. I follow news of her and enjoy photos of her clothes, as I did with Diana. I admire her style and taste and love most of her wardrobe, possibly even more than Diana’s.

Now I have a new royal couple to read about religiously. Prince Harry has announced his engagement to Meghan Markle, a poised, mature and charming biracial American actress. She seems caring and down to earth. She is already involved in international humanitarian causes on her own. She also has rescue dogs, one of whom has come to live with her and Harry in London.

Harry and Meghan announce their engagement

Meghan will be another breath of fresh air in the still stuffy royal family. She’s had a successful career and lived out on her own in the real world. Americans can relate to her and she can relate to the common man, just like her fellow commoner, Kate Middleton.

I don’t obsess over movie stars or pop stars, like many Americans do. I only know about a few of the ‘celebrities’ who appear in “People Magazine”. But I should have many years ahead of me of happy royal voyeurism following the two English Princes and their growing families.

12 thoughts on “ESOTERIC OBSESSIONS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

    • I think that “A NIght To Remember” is a better rendition of the Titanic’s last hours. The Hollywood Titanic is a wonderful love story and I love the movie. It just didn’t get to me the way the original movie did.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ellin, I agree with you about “A Night To Remember” as the best film version of the Titanic. It’s done in almost documentary style without turgid romantic subplots which really aren’t needed given the subject matter.

        Kenneth More is one of my favorite actors and “A Night To Remember” contains one of his finest performances. I believe a young David MacCallum is in there as one of the radio/comm officers.
        The Titanic is an eternally fascinating story because of the official hubris about the ship’s invincibility.

        I covered the release of “Raise The Titanic” and met one of the survivors whose name eludes me. The conversation was absolutely fascinating.

        “Nearer My God To Thee” is one of my favorite hymns.

        (I agree about James Cameron’s “Titanic”. It’s a huge emotional investment. Hope to see it again in the upcoming re-release)

        Excellent piece, Ellin!

        Like

        • Thanks, Garry! Glad to see someone else is as obsessive about the Titanic movies. “A Night To Remember” has been underrated because it did try to be more documentary in style. The James Cameron movie got so much more attention and praise. It was a more theatrical movie and appealed to lots of young girls like my daughter at the time. At least it introduced some new generations to the story of the Titanic. The actual dives and underwater discoveries on the Titanic wreck also reinvigorated the interest in the story.

          The dives have gotten more and more sophisticated, which is wonderful. Sarah says that they have now determined that the actual gash in the hull was only thirty feet long. Much smaller than originally believed. But that was enough to flood the chambers because of the faulty rivets. They’ve been able to do amazing calculations about the sinking of the ship. They now believe that the ship did not split in half until after it sank. It split on the way down to the bottom of the ocean, not on the surface. There are two new documentaries out about the wreck. Sarah says they are worth watching. Both are on the National Geographic Channel. One is “Titanic – Twenty Years Later” and the other is “Drain The Titanic”.

          Liked by 1 person

    • I like the idea of having a titular monarch. The people and the media obsess over the royal family and leave the politicians alone to do their jobs! We idolize our entertainers and our politicians. Everyone becomes a celebrity. I think it’s better to have designated celebrities that get all the attention and scrutiny. They can be musicians or actors, just not the people who are supposed to be running the government!

      Liked by 2 people

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