Daily Archives: January 23, 2018

The dreams of royalty lost

roadsigns

Around 1970 I was a part of a coffee klatch at the University of Texas Student Union Building ‘Chuckwagon’.    The group came together spontaneously and it included a number of people with whom I remained friends for decades, or the remainder of my life until now.

But the only woman in our group was an absolutely breath-taking beauty named Mishi Magyar.   When she sat down the conversation had to stop a few minutes while to allow our heartbeats to slow to normal.

But what distinguished Mishi from being just another pretty face was the weirdness of being the descendant of fairly recent royalty.    Mish was a member of the family that ruled Hungary from around 1000 ad until 1918.    And she believed she’d rule Hungary again in her lifetime.

You see, Mishi was convinced the reason things had gone so poorly for Hungary since 1918 was, first, the Hapsburgs inept rule until WWII, and the Communists later.   None of which, Mishi believed,would have happened had the Magyars remained in their proper place on the throne.

So given this unfortunate state of affairs for Hungary existing in 1970, Mishi believed when the Communists inevitably collapsed, Hungarians would see where it all went wrong and bring the Magyar kings back to lead them into a brave new world.

Mishi did have a backup plan, however.   She was engaged to the male heir, or one of the male heirs, to the Montgomery Ward fortune.    So on the off chance the Hungarians took too long getting rid of the Communists, she’d be sure to live in the style of US royalty.

I’ve sometimes wondered what ever became of Mishi.   Whether, when the USSR folded up its tents and went home, she waited anxiously for the Hungarians to demand her return to her rightful place in the world.    I suppose ‘return’ is a poor choice of words, because when I knew her, Mishi had never visited Hungary.

Anyway, I’ve done some web searches and have never found anything to indicate she married into the Ward fortune, became the Queen of Hungary, or just rode her pretty face into some roller-coaster of celebrity status.    She could have made a great mentor for, say, Paris Hilton.

I will say, however, that judging from a scan of the history of the end of Magyar rule in Hungary, Mishi didn’t show much evidence of having done much reading on the subject.    Hindsight.    Back when when her eyes were sparkling with enthusiasm across a table-full of guys I never thought to wonder enough to read up on it.

But it appears Americans do love royalty.   Even when the only royal families are either British or Muslim.    Mishi missed a great opportunity not trying to chase down Prince Charles of the day.    She might have been just what the doctor ordered to bring us back into the British Empire.

Thanks for the visit.

Old Jules

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How’s that empire thing working?

Maybe most of us don’t care for the idea of empires because we think of them as being something other countries have, but we don’t.    Despite what’s before our eyes ever time we look at a map or watch a news program.  And of course, empires haven’t been faring too well lately.

US expansion 1867 1914

Heck, the British Empire folded up more-or-less spontaneously during the decades after WWII.    Around the same time as the French were getting their deserving asses kicked out of Indo-China to them, Vietnam to us.   Indo-China, Algeria, and pretty much everything else they called their empire.

colonial empires 1910

But around a century ago everyone was still doing it.   Grabbing real estate outside their boundaries and making a fight to keep it.

Here’s a short video demonstrating how empires worked worldwide until around 1945:

https://youtu.be/1csr0dxalpI

That’s how it was done mostly, except when the imperial powers fought one another.   Which wasn’t something anyone liked to do if they could help it because it tended to get a lot of white people killed.

But I’ve digressed.   What I intended to talk about was a remark I made this morning during coffee with Johnny, across the hall.   In some context or other involving the government shut-down and Puerto Rico, I casually mentioned the American empire.

“American empire?   Haw haw haw!   What the hell are you talking about?”

“Heck Johnny, do you think we aren’t an empire.”

“Haw haw haw!   Where do you come up with this stuff?”

I tried a while longer, but the discussion just couldn’t move forward on that tack.   Johnny doesn’t believe the US is an empire and the concept is so foreign to him he refuses even to think about it.

I’m a bit awed by this entire concept.    Are there really people in the world who don’t think the US is an empire?  Well, yes, there are.

Same as there are people who think the moon landings were faked by NASA and that the world is flat.

People believe all sorts of things.

I wonder if there used to be people who didn’t think the British, the French, even the Romans weren’t an empire.

Damn I love this life for the surprises.   The constant surprises.

Old Jules