Author Topic: ENEMIES (part I)  (Read 2865 times)

E.O.T.

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ENEMIES (part I)
« on: February 26, 2010, 04:48:18 am »

Across the street from my Grandparent's place was "the little red school house". It's where I went to pre-school. My dad went there too. When he was attending, everything was in German. When I was going to school there it was all English language. However, half of what was said at my Grandparent's was in German 'till I was 7 or 8 years old.

My Grandfather was a large man. He was very quiet. He laughed at most things. I remember him as sitting near his garden or somewhere usually outdoors, silently watching. Overall he was a very quiet person. He was a large presence, but didn't say much. When he did, I listened.

My Grandmother was a very strong willed and outspoken person. She was very political. She made A LOT of food. What she cooked, I ate. She scolded me when necessary and gave me a nickname no one but she ever used.

My Grandfather fought in World War Two. He was awarded a case full of medals, but to the end of his life he never spoke a word about his experience as a soldier, to anyone, that I'm aware of.

However, something curious, at least, did happen.

When I was ten years old a man arrived, who was expected, with his wife. They had travelled quite a distance by motor home to come to my Grandparent's house. I understood right away that this man and my Grandfather knew each other from "the war".

My Grandmother cooked a bunch of food, other family members brought more. Everyone was there to meet these two people. We ate. The ham. The raw beef with onions and crackers. Herring and bread. Pickles. Potatoes, hot, German style with vinegar.

Then my Grandfather and the man stood together at the end of the covered table in the basement, addressing us all. For the first time ever, I saw my Grandfather, this titan of a man, stumble with words and cry.

In 1944, my Grandfather was a part of a large "allied" force which had surrounded a building occupied by 64 German troops. The building was scheduled for airstrike preceeded by allied withdrawal from standoff. Understanding that there were trapped men inside, my Grandfather insisted that he have a chance at negotiation with the enemy combatants. Entering the building, he explained, in German, that the men could surrender now or the building itself would be destroyed, with essentially no probability of survivors. After a period of 45 minutes, my Grandfather emerged with a scattered collection of four German platoons giving themselves up as P.O.W's.

This man who came to visit was one of those men. He had reconnected with his wife after both of them spent 1-2 years in American concentration camps following the war. They had children, and grandchildren. They were German citizens, who, because of circumstance, became Americans.

When my Grandfather passed away, my Aunt and I contacted the couple who had come to visit, to let them know what had happened. That man had died three months prior. Back and forth, with the woman, we spoke about things quite a bit. She was an old woman, who had lost her husband, and had stories about her children and grandchildren to tell me.
"a good fight justifies any cause"

Salty

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Re: ENEMIES (part I)
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2010, 05:12:52 am »
Just so you know, I'm not leaving this screen until you post part two.
The world is a car and you're the crash test dummy.

E.O.T.

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Re: ENEMIES (part I)
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2010, 05:17:56 am »
Just so you know, I'm not leaving this screen until you post part two.

THANKS ALTY

          but I have to put the kids to bed

AND THEN

          I'm going to get drunk.
"a good fight justifies any cause"

Salty

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Re: ENEMIES (part I)
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2010, 05:24:46 am »
That changes nothing.   :)
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Jasper

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Re: ENEMIES (part I)
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2010, 05:54:23 am »
Really amazing story.  Whenever I hear stories about the greatest generation and its heroes, I start wishing I was born seventy years ago.

Nast

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Re: ENEMIES (part I)
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2010, 05:57:23 am »
Really amazing story.  Whenever I hear stories about the greatest generation and its heroes, I start wishing I was born seventy years ago.

Don't worry, maybe we can tell our grandkids about how we survived the hours YouTube was down for maintenance.
"If I owned Goodwill, no charity worker would feel safe.  I would sit in my office behind a massive pile of cocaine, racking my pistol's slide every time the cleaning lady came near.  Auditors, I'd just shoot."

Nast

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Re: ENEMIES (part I)
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2010, 06:06:15 am »
 And then sometimes the server would time out!
       \
      :gheyforum:


No, grandpa, no!
          \
           :x
« Last Edit: February 26, 2010, 06:08:17 am by Nast »
"If I owned Goodwill, no charity worker would feel safe.  I would sit in my office behind a massive pile of cocaine, racking my pistol's slide every time the cleaning lady came near.  Auditors, I'd just shoot."

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: ENEMIES (part I)
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2010, 06:07:25 am »
That was beautifully done, EOT.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Jasper

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Re: ENEMIES (part I)
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2010, 06:11:02 am »
Yeah, it sure sucks how my generation is so lame.  I think I'll blog about it.

Nast

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Re: ENEMIES (part I)
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2010, 06:18:01 am »
Or post a whiny thread in Apple Talk about it.



Quite an exceptional tale, btw!
"If I owned Goodwill, no charity worker would feel safe.  I would sit in my office behind a massive pile of cocaine, racking my pistol's slide every time the cleaning lady came near.  Auditors, I'd just shoot."

East Coast Hustle

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Re: ENEMIES (part I)
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2010, 08:25:30 am »
That's an awesome story.

also, tangential to the point of the story, I fucking LOVE German food. One of the world's most underrated cuisines, when executed properly.
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Payne

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Re: ENEMIES (part I)
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2010, 01:24:21 pm »
That's an awesome story.

This.

also, tangential to the point of the story, I fucking LOVE German food. One of the world's most underrated cuisines, when executed properly.

Also this.

For myself, neither of my grandfathers fought in the war. My maternal grandfather wasn't allowed as he didn't have any proof for where he was born at all (he literally appeared in a village in Saskatchewan in 1913, as a young lad - nothing is known of his life before this except he was "Probably" British). My paternal grandfather was with the Canadian Air Force, but was a pencil pusher and never left the country for the duration of the war (though he was stationed in Palastine over the period when it became Isreal).

It's good that they never personally had to suffer through the hell of WW2 except for the stigma of being able and willing to fight but not actually doing so. On the other hand it means that there are no stories of this kind to hand down to their children and grandchildren.

-Kel-

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Re: ENEMIES (part I)
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2010, 03:26:31 pm »
 :mittens:

Jenne

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Re: ENEMIES (part I)
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2010, 05:32:46 pm »
Wow, EOT.  Awesome story.  Most of the best stories from my family are almost too painful to relate (some guys wrote a book about one of them as part of their PhD work), but I have had a few men who served in the various wars in our family (great-grandfather, army reserves in WWII, grandfather, Navy in Korea and Vietnam, cousin in first Desert Storm (he and Roger might have been fighting at the same time)).

Reminds me I have a self-produced autobiography a vet gave my great-grandfather in the Vet Hospital.  The author wrote about his WWI experiences, and I haven't given to some archival library yet like I've wanted to.  I'm still struggling with whom to give it to.

Can't wait for Part II!
« Last Edit: February 26, 2010, 05:35:00 pm by Jenne »

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Re: ENEMIES (part I)
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2010, 05:35:58 am »
That was beautiful.

It reminds me of "Hell, Healing and Resistance" which is a collection of war stories written by the veterans themselves. The book sent me into a short fit of pacifism but still influences me to this day.

Also, I could live entirely off of potatoes drenched in vinegar, bratwurst, and sauerkraut if it wasn't for pesky nutritional requirements.
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