…. the silence was deafening…..

100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups – Week#66

The prompt chose itself this week.

…. the silence was deafening…..

As usual you have 100 words to add to the 4 above making a total of 104. Make your entries suitable for a PG certificate as I’m hoping to do a joint prompt with the children soon and it is good to practice!

If you have stumbled across this blog and are completely confused with what this is all about, do read ‘What is 100WCGU?’ Feel free to leave a comment below if it still does not make sense. The link will remain open until 19th November

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list. The entries will be moved to this front page as soon a s possible!

Here is my story:

The silence was deafening when my grade school math teacher called on me.    I was not a mathematical person and everyone in the room knew it except her.   My nose was six inches from the black board, the chalk in my hand inert, as I stared at the problem she had written.  Was it written in Chinese characters?  I was frozen with fear.  All of a sudden my forehead was bouncing off the blackboard.  She had pushed the back of my head to prompt some action from the chalk.  My eyes welled with tears.  I returned to my desk; she called her next victim.

Rest In Peace Uncle

Some say that there is no such thing as closure when a loved one passes on.  I think it depends on the circumstances surrounding that passing.  In my family’s case, it took sixty-seven years for the truth about my uncle’s passing to reach his family.

This photo of Gerardus Petrus Zegers, my uncle, lives on a bookshelf in my mother’s bedroom.  My mother told me that in this photo he is about sixteen.  The scarf he’s wearing was knit by my grandmother.  She also told me that every time she looks at it she wonders what happened to her brother.

According to my mother, in 1943, in Driebergen-Rijsenburg, the Nazis began rounding up able-bodied boys and men to work in their camps.  Two of my mother’s brothers were taken.  My uncle Henk managed to escape and was hidden by a german family.  Gerardus was not so lucky.  He ended up in a camp called Mittelbau-Dora which was a satelite camp of Buchenwald, in Nordhausen, Germany.  While researching I scoured the available photos, on the internet, of arriving prisoners for the scarf my uncle was wearing in a desperate attempt to verify that he was among the laborers.

When the allies bombed the German manufacturing facilities that were above ground the Nazis opened Dora in an abandoned mine.  Here they manufactured their V2 ballistic missiles.  The same missiles that were the cornerstone of the American space program after the second World War.  Sixty-thousand prisoners from 21 nations passed through Dora.  In Camp Dora and Buchenwald, an estimated 20,000 inmates died; 9000 died from exhaustion and collapse, 350 hanged (including 200 for sabotage), the rest died mainly from disease and starvation. In April of 1945 the  104th Timberwolf Army Infantry  and Third Armored Division liberated the surviving prisoners.  Over 1,200 patients were evacuated, with 15 dying en route to the hospital area and 300 then dying of malnutrition.

When news of the liberation reached my family in Driebergen, my grandmother went to the train station daily to greet her son, Gerard, and welcome him home.  He did not come home.  She followed this routine daily for years with the same result.  We didn’t receive any information about the exact fate of my uncle.  Many years later another uncle and brother of Gerardus, Piet, received special permission to cross the Berlin Wall, in hopes of getting information about his brother from the Communist government.  They were not forthcoming.

In March of this year, after researching the internet, I came across a website called the International Tracing Service.  I filled out their application for information about my uncle.  I waited until May and when I heard nothing from them I forwarded my earlier email again.  Finally in September I received a letter from them with the information that my family had waited sixty-seven years to hear.  My uncle Gerardus Petrus Zegers passed away on the twenty-eighth of April 1945 of tuberculosis.  It isn’t clear if he was among the fifteen that died on route to the hospital or one of the 20,000 souls that passed during his imprisonment.  according to civil records he was buried in Nordhausen Cemetery in Grave No. 2.

My mother said that it was too bad that her mom and dad weren’t still alive to finally hear the news of their son.  I reminded her that he is re-united with his mother, father, and two brothers in Heaven.  This Remembrance Day, I honor my uncle, Gerardus Petrus Zegers.

Oh Canada!

“Oh Canada, our home and native land…”  I don’t want to be a wet blanket on the Canada Day festivities but as I think of the history of this country, the Confederation we are marking,  I can’t help thinking about the people whose backs we are standing on.  Here is an article written by  Susana Deranger that explains far better than I can, the blood shed by her ancestors at the hands of ours!

http://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/our-home-on-native-land

I recently wrote an article citing the cruelties that were perpetrated on the Natives of this country during colonization.  I was reminded by a writing instructor that I was not telling the truth; that it would be prudent to mention that the Natives themselves were not entirely passive toward each other and inter-tribal wars existed here before the coming of the white man.  I suppose, to explain that it is just human nature to conquer and kill, I could go all the way back to the garden of Eden and cite the story of Cain and Abel.  My parents lost family members during WWII at the hands of the oppressors we call Nazis.  I have to wonder why that suffering is recognized as valid and the Native losses are not.  It is in the telling of our history that we are supposed to evolve our “human nature” into a more enlightened race of human being.

Happy Canada Day?  For whom?

One of Our Own

     SSA Cindy Swales was watching the Goodyear Blimp slowly descend.  She was ready.  She had the arrest warrant, the suspect was approaching,  and when she arrived at the field, twenty agents were dispatched and NCIS.  The case was assigned to her that morning.  She was handed the warrant, ordered to make the arrest and worry about the details later. The suspect had been FBI for ten years, a soldier on the mission that took down Bin Laden.  She knew that meant he had special-ops training so the arrival of NCIS didn’t surprise her.  A question gnawed at her “Why the hell are we taking down one of our own?”

(Updated as per suggestions by Doug McIlroy.  Thank you Doug, it is better!)

Lake Totems

According to the dictionary a totem is a natural object or animal believed by a particular society to have spiritual significance and adopted by it as an emblem.  In my travels I came across something called a Lake Totem.  The idea is to photograph a lake when the water is completely still, like glass.  Then you rotate your photo so that the horizon is vertical.  Voila, you have a lake totem.  Here are mine taken at Lake Kashagawigamog, Ontario.  For good measure the first one is the original before rotation.

Learning – My Nikon D3000

I am no professional photographer.  I started with a little digital camera and people seemed pleased with my pics.  Last Christmas I got a Nikon D3000.  Well talk about complicated machinery.  I do not do it justice yet but Charlie Chew, a Freshly Pressed blogger at carliechew.wordpress.com, assures me “Photography takes time, so keep shooting and you’ll get it, I promise :) .”  Thank you Ms. Chew for your encouraging words.  I went out this morning to capture my lilacs and I couldn’t figure out why the darn camera wouldn’t take my shots.  I pushed every button on the thing.  I have two words for you…..lens cap!!!  Here are some close-ups I took (finally) I hope you enjoy.

The First Commute

I’ve had a lot of firsts this year.  I couldn’t tell if I was nervous with excitement or fear.  I hadn’t set an alarm clock since high school.  A solid breakfast and a lunchbox hadn’t been my morning routine either.   I used to jog to work, but that would be a ten-hour jog at six mph.  I slumped into the driver’s seat and reluctantly started my commute.  Preoccupied with new job jitters, I rounded the corner.  The panorama that revealed itself made me involuntarily gasp.  The contrasting beauty of nature, black and white, delicate pink, sky blue;  a commute that will never lose the awe-inspiring, God-like appeal.

Photo credit belongs to Douglas McIlroy

Lilibet

A blue-eyed babe was born, on Bruton Street in Mayfair.

 No one knew that history would write another page there.

May twenty-first at two a.m. came forth her first decree,

“I’m Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, a Queen that’s yet to be.”

Her father was Prince Albert, the  Duke of York, then King.

Her mother was Elizabeth, of Scottish upbringing.

This little curly blonde haired girl astonished all she met.

A character by all accounts, reflective Lilibet.

Lilibet was crowned the Queen in nineteen fifty-three.

Elizabeth the Second reigns, Her diamond jubilee.

Julia's Place

Here in the UK we are celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. There is bunting and celebration everywhere.

You have all been lulled into a false sense of security with the last few prompts which have been – let’s face it – easy! So combining both these situations the prompt this week is to write a poem. It doesn’t have to rhyme or be specifically about the Monarch but it should capture the passing of sixty years. I will give you some poetic license with the number of words and say 100 words -ish!

As it will be a little tricky for some of you (those who are sighing and saying ‘I can’t do poetry’) you will have some extra time as the link won’t close until 11th June

If you have stumbled here by accident and do not have a clue what this is about, please read ‘What is 100WCGU?’.

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Four Indignitaries (aka Foreign Dignitaries)

Four Indignitaries sitting in a tree.  Each one asked the other, “How could this come to be?  Had we been born as monkeys, we’d  sit contentedly.  How could this happen to Indignitaries such as we?”

Four Indignitaries (same four) walking down a path.  “The future is filled with the Crawlers wrath!  Had we been born dolphins, we’d communicate and laugh.  Indignitary’s happiness would all come down to math.”

Four Indignitaries decide to build a wall.  Each told the Crawlers, “Now neither side will fall.  Had we been born one species, there’d be no one to crawl.  We Four Indignitaries will answer to that call.”

Four Indignitaries (The Foursome) plot to build a fight.  “The Crawlers grow in numbers.  We fear their awesome might.  Pit species against species, so to kill is only right.  Their blood will never stain an Indignitary-ite!”

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