I read somewhere that St. Donats castle was a playground for a rich American back in the 1920's. It sort of makes sense with the swimming pool out at the front and the walled gardens in terraces leading up to the castle itself. Perhaps in some vintage past champagne was poured and fireworks let off in grand parties graced by celebrities from both sides of the atlantic and their sparkling jewellry. Before then I heard that the castle lay abandoned and overgrown; a beast from the 12th century forgotten at the foot of Wales, left crumbling by the sea.
If you go to the castle today you won't hear the screams of medievel knights nor the roaring from Great Gatsbys but instead the relentless chatter of teenagers veering wildly back and forth between both excitement and anxiety. In depths of the cold war a wild and charismatic educator named Kurt Hahn set up a school here with the goal of creating world peace in a time when it seemed impossible.
Although my generation is living through a potential apocolypse of our own, the cold war seems incredibly different. Whereas ours is a slow motion car crash, a slow disintegration, if you will, the cold war just seems absurd since destruction could occur at any particular moment due to even an accidental communication.
Kurt Hahn brought teenagers from all over the world to meet and learn from each other with the brave hope of them being able to foster peace where adults couldn't and wouldn't. I remember walking through the halls of the college and seeing a picture of three chinese students laughing in the courtyard. They were dressed in all black with worker's caps as if they had come straight from communist China. Indeed the caption read, "The first Chinese students to Atlantic College, 1952". To have Americans, Chinese, Russian students in the same college, talking, laughing, eating and sharing the most formative parts of their lives, that was the dream. In some ways it was too good to be true.
Read all the parts in order here: https://200wordsaday.com/writers/timsubiaco