This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of Hollywood’s greatest epics. Controversial at the time for its torrid real life love affair between stars Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, I knew only that I was dying to see it! At that point in my life, I had pretty much consumed every book, picture and article on ancient Egypt that was housed in the Greenville Public LIbrary. In fact, in my mind, there was every good chance that I would find the next Tutahnkamun tomb in my upcoming career as a leading Egyptologist! Oh, to be 10 years old again.
I begged and pleaded to see this movie from the moment the posters hit the Carolina Theater. I didn’t care about the stars and their personal peccadilloes. All I knew was that it was my chance!!! My once in a lifetime (up till that point) passport to visit Ancient Egypt, the cradle of the civilized world. Pyramids. Gold and treasure. Feather fans wafted above the heads of the heads of state. Intrigue. History. Hidden worlds. All mine for the taking… live and in person on the technicolor wide screen for four hours and three minutes!
After much consideration, debate… and an excuse from Lake Forest Elementary School… my mother, God bless her… took my best friend and equally Egypt loving friend Claudia and me on the trip of a lifetime. My mom had decided that her reluctance to expose me to the bared breasts and for-the-times torrid love scenes was outweighed by my passionate pleading to see the Egypt of my dreams and not inconsiderable research for myself! Oh, Mom. How I loved you that day! You understood. You GOT me! As I sat in the darkened theater, it was all I’d dreamed of and more!
What a lesson in parenting you taught me that day. A life lesson, really. And one I’ve tried to share as I’ve raised my own child. Sometimes you just have to nurture that passion. Give a little. Grant a wish when it’s in your power. Make a dream come true.
Tonight, I will see Cleopatra again in all its re-mastered glory, thanks to auspices of the Lefont Film Society. I’d go by myself and sit in the dark just to relive the memories. But thankfully… that won’t be the case for I’ve been gifted with another person in my life who believes in supporting my dreams and my going along with my sometimes zany ideas… my sweet husband.
It may be popcorn and Cokes for dinner, but we will be there – early to get good seats – and just in time for me to visit the land of my youth once again.