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Love Letters of WW2 blog contains 1940s photos

King Chapel at Bowdoin, June 2016

Posted by on Jul 4, 2016 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Photo, WW2 | 0 comments

Bowdoin campus is quiet in mid-June. I wanted to get with the old guys of my father’s day, away from current campus culture. Of course you can’t escape campus culture. The first thing I encountered was a poster on the inside of every toilet stall door (in every restroom) to remind me, again and again, even after I just passed the same poster on the restroom wall–the only poster in the bathroom–that a long list of names of specially trained students is on stand by to help me come out of the closet and or if I think I might be the victim of a sexual assault. Every time I had to use the bathroom there was the missive that had nothing to do with me.

Bowdoin College, King Chapel Doors

King Chapel Doors at Bowdoin

Anyway, I slipped through two great old doors leading into the chapel. Antiques and art are everywhere at Bowdoin and always have been since the earliest days of the college.

When I got there a lady was playing the organ. The chapel is dark from absence of many windows. In place of any large stained glass, the chapel has gorgeous museum quality murals.

Bowdoin's College King Chapel

Bowdoin’s King Chapel

Bowdoin has been always the greatest of art collectors. The interior chapel is walled on its two long sides by giant murals of bible scenes. To compare, I thought back to my trip to St. Petersburg, to castles and cathedrals I’ve visited. And to rare Byzantine murals of Jesus and the Apostles on cave walls in Turkey. None is more perfect than the King Chapel at Bowdoin. It’s so well preserved it’s almost like a dreamscape. Absolutely awesome. Later I picked up a brochure about the chapel.

Just today, the 4th of July, the chapel brochure informs that I’m a Bowdoin community member. Yea! Bowdoin community is defined as alumni and their immediate family members (that’s me!), active or retired faculty and staff and their immediate family members, and members of the Association of Bowdoin Friends. I’m proud to be Bowdoin.

Bowdoin College King Chapel Centurion, stained glass

King Chapel Centurion

In homage to a bible story is the great centurion today. He stands as a stained glass window high above the chapel’s front doors.

Waiting for a campus tour, I picked up the “The Orient”.  An article by a self-described minority female student is about how it badly it feels to be subjected to Bowdoin’s oppressive colonialist imposition in portraits of old white men in Hubbard Hall. Rather than scholarship, four years of college for her was about a matter of feeling at home. She wants social justice. She wants the walls to reflect diversity, modern Bowdoin. Though I love Bowdoin’s heritage I understand how she feels because I used to feel the same way when I’d vist the bio-medical library at UCLA. In the lobby are huge portraits of founder white men in black scholar robes. Feels imposing, presumptuous, oddly out of place.

Bowdoin College King Chapel

Bowdoin College King Chapel

Excessive political correctness vs. free speech on college campuses directs me back in time to Bowdoin’s founding principles. Liberal arts at Bowdoin is defined best historically. True liberal arts is a science that trains Man how to think. No more, no less.

I noticed, and I may be wrong, but it seems there’s a mistake in the brochure. The description of the murals on the North Wall, starting from the door states “mostly” New Testament themes. That wall is ALL New Testament themes. The stained glass centurion is from the New Testament too. They’re all one theme. All Bowdoin.

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Writer Scores Victory Scrapbook 1943

Posted by on Jan 3, 2016 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, High School Years, Historical Portland, Media, Photo, Portland Maine, Vintage Style, WW2, WWII Letter | 0 comments

Writer Scores Victory Scrapbook 1943

I remember as a child my father coaching me to catch the ball. “Keep your eye on the ball,” he’d always say. I was fortunate to spend several days with my mother over Christmas. I was organizing her front closet and delved into another old trunk. I found a scrapbook. I’d seen it before. We all have. It needs care and preservation so I brought it home to look at. I’m sure glad I did.

My dad made it. It commemorates his sports life at Deering High and Bowdoin College during 1942-1943. It’s ironic because I’m the one person in my immediate family that didn’t become a jock. Not for lack of talent. In high school I excelled in ballet and modern dance. I was also an equestrian in high school. But I preferred the pleasure of riding my horse to the hassle of competitions. I won a ribbon here and there in sports, one for swimming, a couple with my horse. But I never followed baseball or football. And I went to an all girls high school so that put a damper on things…I wanted to be a cheerleader. But not for all-girl volleyball.

My two older brother’s were basketball jocks in high school. My cousin Pete Ladd (on Arline’s side, her sister Ruth’s son) pitched for the Milwakee Brewers in the 1982 World Series. Nothing is more thrilling than watching your cousin pitch on TV.

So here I am, a non-sportsperson writing about my dad’s sports life in high school and college. Thank goodness Dad made this extraordinary catalogue of newspaper clippings from important games and turning points during the war.

Newspaper clipping 1942

Densmore Celebrates Birthday Beats Blue in a Post Stadium Tilt.

How much help can a writer expect? It’s amazing to think that in those days being a high school sports star would get you regular press coverage in the local news. My parents were both featured in the local Portland newspaper at various times including Arline with the headline “The Deering Girls had a Hoop Season”. I never realized she was that serious a player.  It’s super to see my dad like a Titan god killing the competition in a “hurling duel”. Dad in a duel! He truly is a star.

And then it’s incredible to look at his selected clippings from that most historical year at Bowdoin including watching each athlete leave, alone or in groups, called away to service. There’s a clipping of Mrs Roosevelt from the speech she gave at Bowdoin. Eleanor declared that the war would make you a better citizen.

Newspaper Clipping 1942

Densmore Best in Hurling Duel

Eleanor Roosevelt Speaks to 1200 at Bowdoin College

Eleanor Roosevelt Speaks to 1200 at Bowdoin College

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WW2 Joy of Peace! Armistice Day 2015

Posted by on Nov 11, 2015 in 1920s and 1930s, 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Holiday, Media, Photo, South Pacific, WW2 | 0 comments

Wishing all war veterans everywhere peace and joy today. Armistice Day on the 11th of November commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I. It took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of eleventh day of eleventh month” of 1918. The end of World War II in Asia occurred on August 14 and 15, 1945. On August 23, 1945 the last Japanese troops on Shumshu surrendered to Soviet forces. Here’s a happy clip from the trove.

Peace brings Mardi Gras spirit back to New Orleans Aug. 23, 1945

Peace brings Mardi Gras spirit back to New Orleans. Aug. 23, 1945

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WW2 Radio Dispatcher

Posted by on Oct 11, 2015 in All Blog Posts, Media, Navy, Photo, South Pacific, WW2 | 0 comments

George Barrett WW2 Album

George Barrett WW2 Album

I just got back from visiting my mother, Arline, in northern California. She and I were housesitting for my brother. I took Arline to see a neighbor, her friend, Lola. Lola’s 94. It was the first time I’d been next door to Lola’s house. She lives with her son, Richard Barrett in a beautiful hilltop home.

Lola, Richard and I got to talking about Lola’s courtship with her husband. They met after the war. Richard told me his dad, George Barrett, was a radio dispatcher in the South Pacific during WW2. His dad saved many mementos. Richard lent me his WW2 album with privileges.

What a collection! I couldn’t begin to say what I like best and found most interesting.

George Barrett 1940s Vintage

George Barrett 1940s Vintage

A radio log from Okinawa. August 15, 1945. George was on duty.

WW2 Radio Log Japanese Surrender

WW2 Radio Log Japanese Surrender

My brother told me that Morris told him that right after the announcement of Japanese surrender, he went AWOL. A crew invited him to fly over Japan and tour the damage. “Hey buddy, come check it out!” It’s in his letters. I’m not sure I realized he went AWOl for the chance. He was commander of the ship. His commander was often gone. What did it matter now?

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Love Letters 69th Wedding Anniversary

Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Historical Portland, Photo, Vintage Style, WW2 | 0 comments

Sixty-nine years ago on July 27th Morris married Arline in a Congregational Church in Portland Maine. My dad died in 1999. Arline now lives in a condo in a large “hotel style” three hundred unit building inside Rossmoor, a huge gated retirement community in Walnut Creek, California.

Morris and Arline c.1946 Wedding Day

Morris and Arline c.1946 Wedding Day

Arline moved in four months ago from a townhouse.  I’ve been staying with her in a challenging process of introducing new household help, not easy. Arline doesn’t want any helpers, not any I choose anyway.

Today day started out rough. But I left for a few hours and it turned peaceful. I found a twenty dollar bill on the side walk. I fell asleep with my dog in the park. I’m just giving back to God my hope that this will all work out somehow so she can remain in her own beautiful condo.

In the evening, while snacking on an obscenly chocolate muffin- causing me to scold her for skipping dinner – Arline told me about a man that had plopped down next to her downstairs while she was sitting on a bench. It happened at about 5PM. “He told me his whole life story,” she said. Arline was amazed. She kept bringing it up.

Arline kept asking me questions to identify the timing. Maybe she correlated the man with something about her wedding day. I was so self absorbed I forgot it was her anniversary though she mentioned it two days ago. “He just kept talking and talking. He talked about WW2 and all about his life, and telling me everything about himself.” This is the first day anything like this has happened in years. It occurs to me now that Morris was sometimes like that – sometimes he’d just talk and talk but on a particular topic or theme.

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Bible History and WW2

Posted by on Jun 10, 2015 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Media, Photo, WW2 | 0 comments

“Let Knowledge be used in order to build the structure of Love.” ~St. Augustine

My understanding of the WW2 Love Letters involves spirituality. God is everywhere in WW2. “The Untold Story of the Bible” below is a documentary film about religious history that relates to WW2. In my exploration of my father’s letters I learned that something happened to the Bowdoin College of Morris’s day, the 1940s.

In the pre-war 1940s the college chapel was still the gathering place where President Sills delivered God centered talks on important matters.  The dominant spiritual understanding of the college in the 1940s was a Protestant culture. The Common Good that was taught involved God, Christ. Even if this phase of Protestant religious understanding was limited, and it was, it’s schooling in moral judgement was vital to manhood and humanity. The principle taught was to exercise moral judgement with scholarship tuning the heart toward a maturity past transitory animal drive.

Mary Baker’s Eddy’s Keys to the Scriptures, all the rage of New England in the late 1800s, were continually undercut by a campaign of New Age thought. Eddy was definately a researcher informed beyond modest claim, perhaps including St. Augustine as he wrote much about error and is distinguished as “old-catholic”.  But Eddy’ work is pristine and a textbook for current times. What follows below is not simply Catholic or old-Catholic but is Roman Catholic.

In past blogs I mention the scientifically proven undercut of the educational system and Christianity at Bowdoin College. This film reveals the roots of a campaign that includes infiltrating American education to undermine religious freedom, that which comes with Mind centered spirituality.

This film is a Christian production with interesting facts, or at least ideas about WW2. Around 1:59 the film mentions a book by Edmond Paris, “The Secret History of the Jesuits”. Its author writes that Hitler’s SS organization was constituted according to principles of the Jesuit Order (p.164).  This film says the swastika was obtained by Hitler at a Catholic Abbey from a priest. That would be Roman Catholic which is not the only representative of Catholicism. It also discusses the planned demise of the educational system as one of many means to attempt destruction.

hitler-pope

Some think that Hitler was the biggest criminal that ever lived. It’s something to consider that the Roman Catholic church and its army of Jesuits were a forerunner of the Holocaust. Further, what a reminder this film is of just how lucky we are to have WON our freedom, the right of religious expression in America.

 

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