Unlike the British, we Americans have no royal family to follow, so we compensate in two ways. We follow theirs — Will and Kate and their precious little ones — or we create our own, usually entertainment stars and politicians.
Like virtually everyone else in America, I am transfixed by Donald Trump — the entire package. I can hardly get enough, because there is just so much to absorb, politics notwithstanding.
The hair. The lightning fast and laser sharp insults. The undeniable billionaire status, of which he reminds us frequently. Free helicopter rides. The beautiful women. The political incorrectness and proud maverick behavior.
And, the various families!
Trump’s birth family, a German father and a British mother with five children, made a fortune building affordable housing in the boroughs around Manhattan, though daddy Trump was known to be — shall we say — frugal. The Donald joined his father’s business at the tender age of 22, heading into real estate in flashy Manhattan with TRUMP emblazoned on most of his buildings and zooming on to billionaire-dom. I have never heard anyone refer to the younger Trump as frugal.
Along the way, he married a Czechoslovakian skier named Ivana, and they had three children. Ivana, who gifted her husband with the enduring moniker “The Donald,” lost out to a beauty queen from Georgia named Marla Maples, with whom Trump had a daughter, aptly named Tiffany. Marla ultimately bit the Trump dust as well, and the current Mrs. Trump is Melania, a former model from Slovenia. They have a son named — what else? Barron Trump. A quick Google turns up thousands of glamorous photos of Mrs. Trump including at least one modeling a fur-lined metal bikini. Ouch!
Eleanor Roosevelt Roosevelt and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy must be spinning in their graves.
Another politician in the spotlight in North Carolina is state Representative Jason Saine. I have not found any bikini-clad photos of him, but there are plenty of photos of him wearing some $19,000 worth of tailor-made clothing he paid for with campaign dollars during the first half of this year. North Carolina law prohibits using campaign funds contributed by supporters for personal expenses, but Saine maintains that he absolutely had to commission his new wardrobe because his real-life job does not require suits and ties while his legislative job does.
Wonder if the guy has ever heard of Joseph A. Bank or Men’s Warehouse?
Then at the other end of the politician spectrum comes former President Jimmy Carter, who announced to the world last week that the cancer for which he recently had surgery has spread to his brain. Poised and articulate at 90, he explained his condition and his treatment and expressed his enduring faith in God. Relaxed and smiling, he praised his wife of 69 years and urged other cancer patients to hope for the best but to accept what comes. Carter is the epitome of grace and mature manhood.
I bet he has never said anything ugly about Rosie O’Donnell.
And, finally, an update on last week’s column regarding the fate of Virginia Dare, the first child born to English parents in the New World, and the rest of the settlers in the Lost Colony. It seems that I am hardly the only person interested in this 428-year-old mystery. A Raleigh News and Observer column of past news stories compiled by Teresa Leonard recently re-ran a 1938 story suggesting that Virginia Dare is buried in Robeson County!
It quotes well-known Robesonians of the day recounting local legends about a gravesite near the historic Philadelphus Presbyterian Church, which is not to be disturbed under any circumstances. The tale is part of a larger speculation that the Lost Colonists migrated south from their original Roanoke Island settlement and eventually intermarried with the people we know today as Lumbee Indians, some of whom have blue eyes.
Also weighing in on Virginia Dare was my friend Pam Stultz, longtime senior assistant to the Cumberland County Register of Deeds.
It seems the long-running outdoor drama about the early settlers, The Lost Colony in Manteo, traditionally uses a live baby instead of a doll in performances on Virginia Dare’s birthday, Aug. 18. The little bundle of joy in the arms of an actress in this photo from last week is actually Pam’s infant granddaughter, Carolyn Leigh.
I hope I live long enough to learn what really happened to Virginia and that tiny band of early colonists.