CAT Tractors in WWII

ww2amphibious“If forced to choose between tanks and bulldozers, I’d take the road-building equipment every time.” – General George S. Patton


Timeline of Caterpillar equipment in WWII

California CAT dealer – Peterson Tractor Co. –  contributes to WWII war effort

Curating the Best of WWII

 Photo courtesy  www.flickr.com/photos 42642564@N02/12161112684/HarryKidd

Filming motion pictures at NAS Norfolk, VA. Cameraman Vebo V. Va (Courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos)

History is Huge! It’s a broad spectrum of diverse events far too large for one blog-site to cover. Just as a college professor tells his students to narrow their focus down to something more specific and manageable, I shall do the same.

For 2015 this blog will focus on the events of World War Two (WWII) and all its various related subject matter. The choice was simple since I’m already working on a novel inspired by Holocaust Survivors from Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.

From time to time I will add other historical subjects for variety and for the sake of fun. My goal, however, is to be a WWII curating site that gathers the best that the World Wide Web has to offer. Please don’t be shy about sharing.

“Research is a treasure hunt, made richer in the company of like-minded folks.”

Adventures with MAC

MAC Plus

Macintosh Plus / by Rama / Wikimedia Commons

The Beginning – It all began with my first MAC – a Macintosh Plus. On the job. In retrospect, the memory and storage capacity were laughable at 1MG of RAM and 128K of ROM. But back then it was just plain cool. My husband had bought an AT&T personal computer for home but when he died I could not get into that thing no matter what I did. User-friendly … NOT! Instead of tossing it out the window (my initial impulse), I gave it to a friend then went and bought a MAC. We’ve been a MAC family ever since.

[Read more…]

Women of Resistance

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Esther Wajcblum is one of four women who died for their heroic stance inside Auschwitz

The world needs heroes. During the horrific Nazi-era of WWII, it was full of them. Anyone who resisted Hitler – in whatever manner – is a hero to me. Most knew they’d never live to tell their story. Yet they did it anyway. It is up to History to tell their truth. This is the story of the Auschwitz Revolt and the 4 brave women who stood up to Evil.

Yetta cast a furtive look around then poured a pinch of powder down her blouse. She’d been pilfering it in tiny bits for months now. Last month two girls had been caught during an inspection after work. They’d been hanged that night as a lesson to the rest. She was still petrified but resistance was the only thing she had left. If she did nothing, she’d be just another hapless lamb awaiting slaughter. [Read more…]

De-cyphering

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone – photo by Hans Hillewaert/Wikimedia

Growing up in the 1960s, I remember a lot of cool promotional giveaways for kids. There was the toy tanker truck and red fire engine that Texaco gas stations gave out with so many gallons of gas purchased. There was the prize hidden inside every box of Cracker Jacks and Oscar Meyer’s famous wiener whistles. But my all-time favorite was the secret decoder that came with each new pair of PF Flyers – the shoes that made you jump higher and run faster. That little plastic gadget fascinated me. It was five toys in one: a sundial, a magic whistle, a message flasher and decoder dial, all with a special hidden chamber inside. It was the ultimate purveyor of secrets. [Read more…]

Petri Dish of History

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13th century skeletons holding hands … photo from University of Leicester

Archaeology acts as a microscope to history. It seeks answers from the past to inform the future. Big questions like where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? And smaller fare like why did this royal have a hole in his skull? As a science, Archaeology reaches around the world for those answers. Digs are everywhere: a tel in northern Israel, an underwater city off the coast of Greece, a cave in southwestern France, a temple in Peru, a gorge in China. The answers come slowly – painstakingly so – one five-foot by five-foot dirt Petri dish at a time.

Take the skeleton couple that was just found in Leicestershire England. An archaeology team from the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) discovered them near the small town of Hallatan. (They also found the remains of Richard III in 2012 just 20 miles to the east under a car park.) The entire dig site is fascinating. The standout factor for me, however, is that the two have been holding hands for the past 700 years. [Read more…]

Legacy Building

Making ice cream with Pa

Making ice cream with Pa

I was lucky enough to have all four grandparents deep into adulthood. Each brought something different to the mix that is now me. From Grampie I learned generosity. As a young man back in the early 1930s, he made some money on the stock market. Before investing into what would become his future company, he decided to tithe 10% to a missions project in China. Through the years, Grampie always credited his success to writing that first $2,000 check – even though it hurt. For the rest of his life he gave and gave and gave. And God gave more.

I learned adventure from Gramsie. She loved to travel. Grampie did not so he sent his grandkids instead. Being the eldest granddaughter, I got to go a lot. There was the Grand Tour of Europe at age 16, and China at 23. But my favorite was the year I turned 20 and fell in love with the Holy Land. For me there was a story around every corner: [Read more…]

White Space

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Photograph by Breslow Imaging

I once saw a musical – Children of Eden – in which a giant snake plays a central role. It slithered and meandered around the stage in pieces. One actor played the talking head, garbed in a glittery jumpsuit, to portray the beauty of Satan before The Fall. The body was a large silvered tail handled by 5 other actors all dressed in the invisibility of black. They coiled and cavorted behind the head, twisting and dipping but never connecting. That separation fascinated me – that constant bit of ‘white space’ between the two. It was in that wiggle room where art took over. The snake completely sold the audience. It was my favorite part of the show.

[Read more…]

The Genius of Two

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With Susy Flory (R) on the Mount of Olives with the golden Dome of the Rock in the background, built on the exact spot where King Solomon’s Temple once stood.

History is full of creative duos. Some spurred each other on through competition – others through unity and collaboration. Joshua Wolf Shenk’s “Powers of Two” (Aug 2014) highlights the collaborative process through many notable dyads: Lennon and McCartney, Jobs and Wozniak, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, Wilbur and Orville Wright, Matisse and Picasso.

Many others come to mind: Woodward and Bernstein, Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder, even Rocky and Bullwinkle. The list goes on. But one team most people have never heard of is the artistic pairing of Bezalel and Oholiab. Funny names? That’s because they lived 3300 years ago in the south Sinai Desert. They were tasked with the construction of the Tabernacle – the mobile predecessor of King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. The Book of Exodus sets the creative pair in historic context:

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STUCK

prisoner-atlasWhen I’m stuck I often think of Michelangelo’s Captives – the four unfinished sculptures lining the Hall of Prisoners at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence. They writhe and grimace within their marble prisons as they lead visitors towards Michelangelo’s more famous “David”. And then there he is, at the end of the hall under a circle of light – one of the most celebrated pieces of art of all time. To me, that hallway and the placement of those marble-bound slaves depict the struggle that ultimately gives way to a masterpiece. [Read more…]