Tuesday, June 6, 2023

History of Humanity at the Center of the World: Bliss

After fleeing one war, graduating from Princeton, starting a company, fighting in another war, and making 639 parachute jumps, Jacques-André Estel decided that the next step in his life was to build a house in the desert at the center of the world. Had to find the city.

And barely enter the history of humanity in it.

A 94-year-old French-American with an incredible repertoire of anecdotes and adventures, Estelle founded Felicity in the California desert in 1986, on a vacant lot she had bought decades earlier.

What began with two small houses has become a place described by tourists as “quaint”, “kitsch” and “charming”.

Felicity has pieces such as a sundial whose needle is a sculpture of the right arm of God painted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, and an old piece of the Eiffel Tower staircase.

But the heart of the city is an ambitious open-air museum. A succession of 723 giant red granite panels on which are engraved capsules on history, geography, politics, science, fashion and culture.

“It doesn’t exist anywhere else on the planet,” Estel, who named the city after his wife Felicia, told AFP.

– Center of the world –

From the sky, the arrangement of the panels looks like a woman in a dress.

From the ground, they are distributed thematically.

Estel added a personal touch to these sheets of granite organically modified by Felicia.

The space operates between October and April, the least hot months in this burning desert, just a few kilometers from the border with Mexico.

“Welcome to Felicity!” Diane Baptiste greeted the tourists. The guide immediately states that here is “the center of the world, with an official seal.”

“The center of the world could be anywhere,” admits Eitel with a smile.

But not everywhere there is official certification.

According to the legend of her childhood, an invisible dragon found the center of the world in Felicity. The coordinates of the place were certified by the local authorities in 1985.

The center of the world is guarded by a granite pyramid six meters high.

In front is the Museum of the History of Humanity and at the opposite end stands a small chapel.

Estelle has been honorary mayor since 1986, when he received three votes in Felicity’s election, with only two residents.

There was no fraud: officials verified that the third vote was that of the invisible dragon, the one who found the center of the world.

– ‘Troublemaker’ –
Istel was born in Paris in 1929 to a privileged family. Wars crossed his life on several occasions.

“My father left for England [Charles] De Gaulle, my brother, left the French army to go to Canada and join the Royal Canadian Air Force and eventually die, and my mother and the rest of us immigrated to the United States.

With short answers and a sharp sense of humour, the economist who dreams of becoming an engineer has taken up skydiving as a career, helping turn it into a sport when it was a risky activity.

Parachutes Inc. Thanks to his experience and contributions, he is considered by some to be the “father of skydiving in the United States”.

It is now considered the “Horse of History”.

At age 94, he continually climbs the 49 steps to the chapel that crowns the city.

He swims in his pool for half an hour a day and enjoys a cold beer while he talks about his meeting with the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, an anecdote that dates back some time after his time in the Korean War. Of

He does not toast with water to avoid bad omens, nor does he give up his habit of having breakfast in bed. Diplomas, books, photos and period furniture tell the story of a unique life where, in his study, he says, “I’ve been spoiled since childhood.”

“He was a troublemaker,” he says of his youth. “I hope I still am!”

Felicia, his wife of five decades, slim and always smiling, doesn’t reveal her age, which must be close to her husband’s. But he claims that the secret to longevity is to “keep moving”.

– “Everything is forgotten” –
Istel sees the museum as an educational space. Unless there is a big earthquake.

“The positive part is that archaeologists of the future will make a great discovery,” this man who doesn’t believe in heritage: “Everything is forgotten.”

But their determination left its mark in this region of orange sunsets and endless skies.

“Felicity is a small community,” says Shelley Evans, who has traveled from Georgia for nearly a decade to shoot dozens of panels, mostly at night to escape the blistering desert sun.

But there are still blank panels.

“It’s what keeps me up at night!” He smiles. “It’s not true, I sleep well. But I think about the next panel.”

“At Felicity we don’t do things by half. We do them right or we don’t do them at all.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com/
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