Tag Archives: Military Life

Treasures From Germany~Part 6

4 Dec

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

During our first tour in Germany (1967-1970), we picked up this etching of the cathedral in Cologne (Köln), but just never had it framed.

 

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Then I remembered a frame that I had of a chalk “painting” of my Aunt Jessie that was in a wonderful old frame. I had her picture removed (sorry Jessie), and the etching placed in the frame. The etching gives the feeling of “old” or “antique,” and to me suits this frame just right. It hangs in a place of honor in our family room, and we look at it often. We were able to visit the cathedral many times during our two tours of duty in Germany, and we also were able to see it again on our Viking River Cruise a year ago. Here are some current pictures of it.

 

We thoroughly enjoyed all the traveling around Europe that we did during our stays in Germany. One of our favorite old cities to visit, was the town of Mickelstadt. It wasn’t too far from Heidelberg, and we visited often. Here is a watercolor of that town that we enjoy. Brings back so many good memories.

 

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When we lived in Wiesbaden, we would occasionally have “vendors” come to our stairwell door with goods they wanted us to purchase. Neither Fred nor I am very good at “haggling,” and when the artist approached us with this windmill painting, we said we just couldn’t afford it.

 

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We thought that was the end of it, but she lowered the price. Again, we declined. And then she made her final offer – saying it was the rock-bottom price she would go. I looked at Fred, and we agreed that $35 for an original oil, framed, wouldn’t break the bank. So we bought it. Didn’t realize we had that knack for haggling! We purchased the two prints of Paris scenes somewhere along the way, and added them to the Holland painting. The colors go fairly well together, we think.

One more thing that we picked up while in Germany, was a page, copied, from a page of the Gutenberg Bible. For many years, it just sat, rolled up, on a shelf. I finally had it framed to hang in Fred’s office. The “antique” look to the frame seems to match the page from that original Bible. The smaller frame holds the description of the page. We had it translated, and it says: The 42-line Bible was printed between 1452 and 1455 by the inventor of the printer in Mainz (Germany). The original of this book is found in the Mainz Gutenberg-Museum. This arrangement now hangs in our guest bedroom.

 

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~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

An Anniversary with a Thanksgiving

20 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

This Thanksgiving week marks an anniversary of sorts for Fred and me. 21 years ago, on a Tuesday, we left Virginia, our home for nearly 13 years,

 

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and drove down to Orlando, Florida. On that next day, Wednesday, we signed the papers for our new house in Kissimmee, obtained the keys for the house, drove to our new house and unloaded all the stuff we had packed in the car for the trip.

From there, we drove over to Titusville to spend the night with my brother and sister-in-law, since we had no furniture in our new house.

The next day was Thanksgiving, 1995. We celebrated that day with my brother and sister-in-law, their daughter and her husband, and her husband’s family.

 

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We will always cherish the memory of that time – that everyone opened their homes and hearts to us on such short notice. After a few weeks of sorting, disposing of stuff we had managed to collect after 13 years of living in one place, and cleaning the house, it was quite nice not to have to do anything but enjoy a good meal, and have wonderful fellowship with those around us that we love.

And so we remember the 21st anniversary of our arrival in Florida, along with our first Thanksgiving here, and the love that was just showered upon us.

And after that wonderful meal and a good night’s rest, we were up early on that Friday and drove back to Kissimmee in time to meet the moving truck with all our household goods. So we got to work setting our house in order.

 

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We are so thankful….and this is the week to express that thanks.

I found this pilgrim couple a few years ago, and they have decorated our Thanksgiving table ever since. I think they’re cute.

 

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A friend did a macramé pilgrim for me some years ago. He proudly welcomes any and all to our door this time each year. I love his bushy beard!!

 

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happy-thanksgiving

 

 

Courtesy Google Search

Treasures From Germany~Part 4

13 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

There were several things that interested us while we were in Germany. All those years before that we lived in Wiesbaden (1967-1970) , we had never heard of the Kaiser company (founded 1872..became Kaiser in 1928) that produced porcelain figurines. But when we arrived in Heidelberg (1980-1983), that was the rage – to have some figurines by Kaiser. We found several that we liked and purchased them for ourselves. And some we purchased for our family. For instance, my Aunt Jessie loved dogs, and especially poodles. So we purchased this poodle for her. Following her death, I reclaimed it.

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And this little Scottie just took my fancy – he’s got such a happy expression, don’t you think?

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These dolphins reached out to me, so I purchased them. Kaiser had several different versions of the dolphins. I liked the two set best. Some were glazed (shiny) but I liked the unglazed better.

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I think this squirrel is quite the cutie.

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But this little bunny rabbit looks so much like Thumper from the Disney movie Bambi®, that I had to have him in my collection! He’s adorable!!

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We have a couple of nudies that appealed to us, and here they are.

 

I don’t have pictures of them, but my Aunt Jessie had several Kaiser figurines of gymnasts. Our Janet has them now, as she was quite interested in being a gymnast herself. They are quite delicate and beautiful.

Our Karen has a Mother and Child figurine, and a running horse with her colt – all made by Kaiser. Here they are in a picture of them on her fireplace mantle.

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As you can see, all of those Kaiser figurines are white bisque. While we saw many of the same figurines that had been painted, for some reason, I liked the plain white much better. However, there was one figurine that we purchased that couldn’t be anything but painted. It is so delicate and beautiful, and we treasure it.

 

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Another type of figurine that caught our attention was those made by Lladro (Spanish pronunciation – yah’ – drow). Many of their “human” figurines are rather grotesquely elongated – definitely not proportioned, and did not appeal to us at all. However, the figurines they made of animals were something that did appeal to us. My family purchased them for me and gave them to me as Christmas presents two different years. I enjoy them so much, and am thankful to have them. They were rather expensive, even in Germany.

One other figurine type we purchased while we were in Wiesbaden, and have enjoyed them all these years. They are Dresden “musical angels,” with each one having a different musical instrument. Two seem to be the same, but after looking closely, you will see that one is praying for her sister instrumentalists (far right – hands closer together), while the other one is directing the music (far left – hands more apart). I have treasured these figurines for over 40 years.

 

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~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Treasures From Germany~Part 2

30 Oct

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

Another musing about our time in Germany. We had such a great time, and enjoyed just everything there. The food was one of the best things! We never had a bad meal, even if we stopped at a Gasthaus in a small town we were traveling through. I remember we went to sight-see in one town, but when it came time to eat, we left the town and went to a Gasthaus in a smaller town down the road.

 

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The Schwartzer Adler Gasthaus – Courtesy Google search

 

Our girls didn’t understand our reasoning, until I explained to them:   If the food in the larger, tourist town isn’t too good, well, the patrons are just tourists and won’t be back. However, if the food in the Gasthaus, which is patronized by the locals, isn’t good, then the local people won’t be back, and the Gasthaus will close down. So the food has to be good. And it was VERY good!

We had several favorite restaurants within both Wiesbaden and Heidelberg that we frequented. I’m told that our very favorite in Heidelberg is no longer an eatery – it is now a bank! Noooooo! Unfortunately, we haven’t been back to see it ourselves, but our Karen and her husband, Brian, have, and gave us the bad news. Shucks!

Here are some of the treasures we picked up while in Germany. I’m not sure I remember where I purchased this candle, but I have enjoyed it for many years. While it is a candle, and “decorated with grapes and vines,” it is also painted with silver. Most unique.

 

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When we lived in Wiesbaden, our first apartment was on Albrecht Dürerstrasse (Albrecht Dürer Street). When we found this etching of the “Praying Hands” – and since we knew the story behind the hands, we purchased it. It hangs on a short wall in our entryway, along with a scripture verse, and reminds us of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

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Here’s an abbreviated version of the “Praying Hands:”

Albrecht Dürer was one of 18 children. He and his brother both wanted to be artists, but knew their father couldn’t pay for their studies. They flipped a coin – the winner would go to art school, the loser would work in the mines to support the winner. Albrecht won. His work at the academy was an immediate sensation. Albert worked the mines for four years to support Albrecht.

 Following his return to Nürnberg, and a festive dinner, Albrecht raised a toast to his brother and said that, now it was Albert’s turn to study. With tears in his eyes, Albert showed his hands that had been so damaged working in the mines, that he was unable to even hold a paint brush, and so unable to study art. It was “too late” for him.

 Tradition has it that Albrecht’s drawing of the “Praying Hands” are those of his beloved brother in prayer.

There are other versions of this story, but this one touches my heart.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Treasures From Germany~Part 1

23 Oct

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

We were blest with being able to live in West Germany for a total of six years. We spent three years in Wiesbaden, then 10 years later, we returned to Germany for another three years in Heidelberg.   Both tours of duty were precious to us. God gave us the opportunity to live in a country that wasn’t our native land, to see the beauty of other parts of the world, and to know another culture. I wish every American citizen could have that experience – to see the United States from the viewpoint of other countries. It certainly helped us to see what a wonderful and free country we live in.

One thing we did, that I wish was imperative for every American, was to visit a World War 2 concentration camp. We visited Dachau several times – on our own, and with friends and family that came to visit us.

 

Dachau has been really “cleaned up” from what it was during the war, but the atmosphere is still there. It truly makes us appreciate the United States so much more.

 

 

But there were other things that we did in Europe to make us wish we could have stayed longer. We traveled to England.

 

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We traveled to Italy.

 

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We traveled to Greece.

 

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We traveled to Switzerland.

 

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We traveled to Austria and Liechtenstein.

 

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Mozartplatz in Salzburg

 

We traveled to France.

 

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As you can see, we were well-traveled. We saw beauty everywhere. And we saw treasures everywhere we went. Some of those treasure we bought and brought home with us.

I’ve mentioned the alabaster lampstands, and onyx “eggs” that we enjoy. We had a friend in Maine who was a bit of a germaphobe and actually boiled the alabaster items her husband brought back! They literally crumbled in her hands! Ouch!

Somewhere along the line, we picked up this set of bells.

 

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When I had a meal ready, I would “ring the bells” to let everyone know that it was time to gather at the table. I still have the bells, but don’t usually ring them anymore. I just yell for Fred to come.

I have never developed a taste for beer, wine, or any other alcoholic drink. However, that didn’t prevent me from purchasing this cute miniature wine-glass set.

 

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When I saw it, it just struck my fancy. And as for the beer and schnapps glasses – they were a gift from a delightful German girl who came and stayed with us for a few weeks.

 

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The York High School in Yorktown, Virginia, has a German “sister city” – Zweibrücken – and some of their students came to stay in Virginia to see how we lived. A lovely girl named Astrid stayed with us, and her thank-you gift was this beer and schnapps glass. We don’t use it, but think of her and the time we had together when we look at it.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Christmas in Germany

27 Dec

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

 

 

Recently, on facebook, I saw that our daughter, Karen, has posted a picture that took me right back to our first tour of Germany. She stated that it: “brings back memories of living in Germany!”  We were in Wiesbaden, living in government quarters, which was a “stairwell” with two “apartments” on each level. And there were two stairwells in each building. We happened to live on the top floor, which we later discovered was the best place to live. No one above us…if we needed a breeze, we had it whether or not the other levels had the breeze or not. The only drawback was carrying grocery sacks up those three flights of stairs – and laundry down to the basement!

But usually, at Christmas, we were encouraged to decorate our picture window. I seem to recall there were competitions among the buildings to see who had the “best” or most elaborate decorations, or the most meaningful….you get the picture.

Therefore, this picture really reminded me of that time. Here is the picture Karen posted:

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I’m sorry this picture is in black and white. However, let me show you one of the building we lived in, and what we did one of the Christmases:

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Our apartment is the upper left one – the one with the silver bells. I don’t think we won any awards, but it was fun, anyway.

Here is another picture, but not of our stairwell. They may have won an award!

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Ten years later, we were stationed in Heidleberg. We lived in a different “type” of government housing, with the picture window at the end of the building/room, rather than like the housing in Wiesbaden. Here is what I did for our window treatment there.

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The Germans made these wonderful decorations out of wood/wood shavings. That’s what this one was. Unfortunately, I must not have packed it well enough, because it arrived in the States rather beaten up, and unusable. In any case, I don’t have it any more. But we enjoyed it while there.

My taste in Christmas decorating may not be very elaborate, but Fred and I both enjoy what we put together to decorate our house.

But more than that, many of our decorations and tree ornaments are from Germany, and we are reminded of our time there every time we decorate our tree, or put together some sort of decoration in the house. It was a wonderful time in our lives, and we are thankful God gave us the opportunity to live outside our country.

 

Keukenhof Gardens, Holland~Part 2

5 Apr

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

 

 

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Last time, I wrote about the Keukenhof Gardens, in Lisse, Holland. We so thoroughly enjoyed our visits there, and want to share this beautiful place with everyone we know.

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Here is some history about the tulips we found interesting from the Fluwell website:

“during World War 2, people ate tulip bulbs. The only reason for this was hunger. The Netherlands suffered a great famine in the winter of 1944-1945. Eating tulip bulbs is not something our ancestors did for fun, they did it because there was nothing else to eat.

 Many Dutchmen of certain age remember the famine and the tulip bulbs they ate. In our theme park Tulpenland, we have a lot of customers that share their memories with us. They sometimes still find it difficult to see tulip bulbs back, although they know that we use them only for flowers, not for food. Hunger is a deep emotion that is not easily forgotten.

 The Dutch famine was the result of the lost Battle of Arnhem (1944), when allied forces failed to liberate the northern provinces of the country. The northern provinces became isolated from the liberated parts of Europe. Food stocks ran out, as did fuel stocks. Then a harsh winter began. Thousands of Dutch citizens starved or froze to death.

 Due to the war situation, tulip growers had not planted tulip bulbs that year; so great amounts of tulip bulbs were stocked on farms throughout the country. During the famine authorities decided to use these stocks as food for the starving populations. The old, dry tulip bulbs were sold in grocery stores, and newspapers published recipes with tulips. The tulip bulbs were nutritious and relatively easy to cook, so that less fuel was needed.

 The tulip bulbs that people ate in the Second World War cannot be compared with modern day, fresh tulip bulbs. The war bulbs were old and dry and did not taste like fresh tulips. A fresh tulip bulb has a sweet, milky flavor that is actually not very bad. The tulip bulbs that were eaten during the war had a very bitter and dry taste instead.

 Eating tulip bulbs is not as bad as it sounds like, as long as you eat fresh tulips that were not sprayed. Unfortunately, such bulbs were not available during the last winter of WW2. It is important that this sad history is not forgotten. Dutch children are still raised with the words: you are not hungry, you only have appetite (Je hebt geen honger, je hebt trek). Real hunger makes you eat everything you can get, even old, dry tulip bulbs, as they were eaten during the Dutch famine.”

 

Amazing!

Just a side note here – there is a wonderful place to visit outside The Hague, called Madurodam. It is a miniature city, built to scale. It includes the normal things you would find in a city – churches, office buildings, and even Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, with working airplanes. It’s a fun thing to see during the day, but miniature lights come on at night, and it’s quite the fairyland.

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The family of Old Things R New wishes each of our visitors a blessed Easter. He is risen!

Tennis Anyone?

1 Feb

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

As a child, it seems like I was always pretty active. I mean, back in that day, we didn’t have a TV to watch all day long, nor a computer or iPhone to keep us entertained. We were outside most of the time, with our friends and those of us in the neighborhood just playing our hearts out.

I remember being in elementary school and playing tether ball. I was actually pretty good at it – even beating some of the boys! That was fun!

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And then there was the school field day – where there were races and high jump and broad jump. I think I remember getting a blue ribbon for the broad jump one or two years.

However, when I got to high school, we had to choose between sports and music. And music won out for me. So I went into the chorus program, rather than PE. Of course, most of the popular girls were in sports, cheerleading, etc. But that didn’t bother me. I just loved that music so much.

Then came college. I attend Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) for one semester and had to take PE. Since I came from a land-locked state, I had never had the proximity of large lakes or rivers or oceans, so I chose to take swimming. I passed the class, but it was by the skin of my teeth!

When I transferred to the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque, I thought to take up tennis. My parents surprised me with my first tennis racket. It was the greatest thing – wooden frame and all! That’s all there was at that time. I found that I really LOVED to play tennis! I think I had a pretty good rhythm for it – since I have the music background, and rhythm is everything!

So, feeling very sure of myself, I took Fred out to play a match – and he beat me!! That is soooo not nice! It’s especially not nice, since golf is really his game. (I actually tried one time to play golf, but gave it up. I was using Fred’s clubs and was so afraid of breaking the clubs that I swung at the ball more than I hit it. I thought for sure that he would kill me if I damaged his clubs!)

When we were stationed in Florida (Tyndall AFB, Panama City), I was involved with a Wive’s Club league. I played with them for about four years. When I arrived one morning, there was a man wanting to play some tennis, and the girls told him that one of their “best players” would be there shortly – and pointed to me. He and I played for a while, and he complimented me on my play, but said I had a “baby” serve. After that I took lessons to improve my serve.

But all good things must come to an end – and so did tennis for me. I hadn’t played in a while and tried to play in a “league” set up by our church. When I realized how badly my knees were hurting, that’s when I knew that I needed to stop playing.

But I must say that it didn’t stop me from watching. I just devour anything tennis I can find on the TV. We watch all of the major tournaments – the Australian Open is on right now, and I’m lovin’ it.

Through the years we’ve had our favorite – and most unfavorite – players. They have come and gone, as well. I am distressed to find that women’s tennis has become a screaming match – who can scream the loudest? Nothing classy about it at all – not like when Chris Evert and Margaret Court and Yvonne Goolagong were playing. Now THOSE were classy players! I can understand a “woof” of air after hitting ball, but a screech? I usually have to watch women’s tennis with the mute button on.

But that doesn’t stop me from watching – and screaming (inside my head, of course) for my favorite player to win!

Men's Doubles match - John Newcombe_Tony Roche vs. Casal_Hocevar

 

This picture was taken when we stopped at Wimbledon in 1983 – on our way home from Germany.  We were in the nose-bleed-standing-room-only area.  But it was still exciting for us.

 

 

 

My Colonial States Trip~Part 11

28 Jan

A Slice of Life
Bill Lites

Bill Red Spot Plane

Somehow I missed the turn (or maybe I wasn’t paying attention) outside of Harrisburg and ended up on I-81 (south) instead of following US #15 (south). This caused me to miss getting to visit the Gettysburg Train Museum and the Gettysburg Battlefield Museum, both of which I’m sure I would have enjoyed. It wasn’t until I came upon the Maryland Welcome Station that I realized what had happened, and by then it was too late in the day to go back, so I just kept on trucking. Just down the road I stopped to check out the Hagerstown Air Museum in Hagerstown, MD where I learned that several of the WW II USAAF training and transport aircraft were built by Fairchild Aircraft in 1some of the hangers where the museum’s aircraft are now housed. Among notable aircraft built by Fairchild during and shortly after WWII included the PT-19/PT-23/PT-26 Cornell trainers, the AT-21 Gunner twin-engine trainer, the C-61 Argus (For the RAF), and the C-82 Packet, C-119 Flying Boxcar and the C-123 Provider cargo planes. The museum wasn’t officially open, but one of the guys working at the airport hangar (where “Greta” delivered me) agreed to show me the museum’s aircraft collection and tell me a little about Fairchild’s roll in wartime Hagerstown.

Next I headed southeast to visit the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederic, MD which was a disturbing and visually graphic education of primitive methods of 2medical treatment used on the fighting men during the Civil War. It is surprising to me that as many men as did, survived their treatments, surgeries and amputations during that war. I guess the main reason for their survival rate was that they were young and healthy when they went into the war. It makes one appreciate modern medical practices such as the advances in cleanliness, antiseptics, surgical applications and especially prosthetics technology.

When I first arrived at the museum, I couldn’t see any place to park, as there were businesses on both sides of the street and signs were posted as “Commercial Loading Zones.” There were cars parked in those loading zones, on both sides of the street, so I stopped in 3front of the museum just long enough to go in and ask where to park. I couldn’t have been in the museum more than 3 or 4 minutes, but when I came out to move my car I had a parking ticket and the writer of that ticket was nowhere to be seen. He/she must have been lurking in some doorway, close by, just waiting for me to walk away from my car, because the ticket was a computer print-out with a “lot” of automobile information that had to have been observed and entered into their hand-held device. Man, was that fast! Needless to say, that was a costly museum visit.

Next on my list, as I continued east, was The Firehouse Museum in Ellicott, MD which was closed that day. As you can see from the photo below, the museum is very small and is only open on Saturdays and Sundays. The museum is located in the very first Ellicott volunteer firehouse, which was built in 1889, and served as the town meeting hall, among other things, over the years. Then it was on east to Laurel, MD for dinner and the motel for the night.

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—–To Be Continued—–

WWI Trench Art

12 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill

 

For DiVoran’s birthday I took her to the Orange County History Center in Orlando, Florida so she could view the “Gone With The Wind” exhibition on display there.   She loved it. While she was enjoying the exhibits about that famous story of Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara, I strolled around the galleries on the other three floors of the building. It was a pretty impressive arrangement, with exhibits covering mostly Florida history.

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One exception was the WWI Trench Art exhibit. I was simply amazed at what some of those soldiers had done with what was called, in one description, “War Waste.” There was no end to the creativity shown by the many different examples displayed. There were creations using the smallest rifle cartridges, to those using some of the largest canon shell casings. There were pieces ranging from a small crucifix, to a multi-bulbed desk lamp. And some of the artistic work was breathtaking!

                        

To think that in the midst of one of the world’s worst conflicts, and in the cold and muddy trenches filled with the smell of death, that it was possible for men to be able to remove themselves (thoughts and emotions) in a way as to create such beauty out of some the very components that they were using to perpetuate that devastation.

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It’s disturbing for me to think about the millions of young men who have had to go to a war for any reason, but especially those with such talent as displayed in these art forms. Of course, there was the much used reference of “Turning Swords into Plowshares” which didn’t help when I tried to imagine how much talent has been wasted over the centuries because of the many wars that have been fought around the world. There was a picture of a huge pile of shell casings, which must have been the source of some of the “War Waste” referred to in one of the articles about Trench Art.

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There were several WWI posters (collector items by now) encouraging Americans to “Buy War Bonds” to support the war effort. I remember the stories about how the people of this country tried to stay out of the “War Over There” but how they rallied together to support out military once the U.S. joined the fight.

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It reminded me of pictures and stories of my dad, who had been a medic and ambulance driver with the U.S. Army in France during WWI. I’m sure he saw his share of terrible things during that conflict, as did many, but like most of them he never talked about it to us.

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If you get a chance to visit the Orange County History Center in Orlando, Florida in the near future, be sure to see the “WWI Trench Art” exhibit (there until 12/31/2014). If not, you can go on the internet and Google WWI Trench Art and you’ll be amazed, as I was, with what you will see posted there, and with many references to other links. Enjoy!

 

—–The End—–

http://www.trenchartofww1.co.uk

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