Why not build castles in the air?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always looked forward to Sunday. Especially, as a young girl. What fun we had with friends and family, and nobody gave a single thought to Monday’s work.
Lots of things stand out in my mind. Picnics at Whetstone Gulf. Sitting in the parlor for polite conversation. Sharing secrets with a friend. Traveling to the top of Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks.
But best of all was driving 50 miles north to the border of Canada for a boat trip around the Thousand Islands of the Saint Lawrence River.
You never saw so many islands in your life. Actually, there are 1,800—some no more than boulders jutting out of the water. Others contain several square miles of land.
At the turn-of-the-century, Thousand Islands was the summer social center for New York City. And those who could afford it built elegant and extravagant second homes on their own individual islands.
Many of the homes were near-castles and the largest of them all was a real castle built by George C. Boldt of Waldorf-Astoria fame.
Started in 1900, the castle was to have five stories and 120 rooms. Plans included an elevator, a swimming pool, a pipe organ, a ballroom, a billiard room, a grand staircase and observation decks.
Hundreds of workmen were assigned to the project for three years and progress was excellent. Then suddenly on January 1, 1904, Boldt’s wife Louise died.
In his horrible grief, Boldt ordered work on the castle to end immediately and he never returned to the island.
Oh, how I remember visiting that unfinished castle! It was a romance novel in the making and I loved going there.
Yet, I never once entertained the idea of someday owning my own castle. That’s why I was so intrigued by the story of a young boy in 19th century Scotland who decided that he wanted to own a castle.
According to America’s Castles, produced by the Arts & Entertainment television network, the Scottish boy Alexander Leaf grew up just seven miles from Fyvie Castle.
In 1853, six-year-old Alexander walked unattended to the castle and asked to be shown around, explaining to an astonished servant that the castle would one day be his.
Several years later Alexander set sail for the United States to seek his fortune. He became a steel entrepreneur and was one of the founders of the United States Steel Corporation.
Thus it was that, by age 42, the boy with the dream had amassed his fortune and was ready to buy Fyvie Castle. Then by some incredible miracle the castle, which had only a handful of owners in its 500-year-history, was actually for sale.
The impossible dream had become reality and Alexander would spend the rest of his life in the company of royalty and aristocracy.
Castles aren’t for everyone, and few people would have set Alexander’s goal. But, on the other hand, we’re all capable of dreams. Big dreams. And if we choose to, we can all build castles in the air.
So what about you? What impossible dream would you like to have come true? And do you have the courage to dream it?
Marie Snider is an award-winning healthcare writer and syndicated columnist.
Write Marie Snider at thisside60@aol.com or visit her website at www.visit-snider.com

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