My stats page tells me that my recent radio-history related posts are resonating with a large number of readers, thanks in part to Twitter and a nice mention in an ARRL newsletter by Ward Silver N0AX.
Something to the tune of 500-700 hits for each of those posts.
Two readers have emailed me with gentle advice to consider that the postings may have the effect of re-opening old wounds that are best left alone – with 1500 hits from Germany and 3300 from the UK this year, why am I writing things that may cast one or the other country in a bad light?
To be honest, that thought never occurred to me. Enough years have gone by to look at past events from another angle – that of human behavior in circumstances most of us can’t imagine – all with a radio-related slant.
Regardless of country of origin or language spoken, I’ve always found it fascinating to know what motivates people to do what they do. As a ham, when radio and history collide, I take notice – and I now know that many of you do too.
My first exposure to to what I considered a remarkable event - the one that elevated personal history from being an abstraction to a reality and set the stage for this ongoing interest – occurred at my own dinner table one Christmas when I was a boy: I met my Uncle Herman for the first time and learned of his life.
My grandmother’s cousin, he fought in the army in WW2 – the German army. In fact, he lost a leg to an American artillery shell, moved to California in the early 1960′s and now was enjoying a dinner of turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce with me.
His prosthetic leg was made of cork and us kids were wide-eyed and on the edge of our seats at the stories he would tell in his thick German accent. Though politically incorrect nowadays (hasn’t modernity spoiled so much fun), Uncle Herman would, at some point after dinner, come hobbling into the room where we children were watching TV. In great “pain”, he would lurch about with a knife or dinner fork stabbed into his cork leg. We howled with laughter and begged another story out of him.
As I grew older I came to appreciate the magnitude of becoming a citizen of a country with whom you were once at war. There were questions I wanted to ask him about the emotional aspects of that process but he lived in California and I lived in Texas – we only saw each other briefly during Christmas and the proper moment for such a conversation never came.
I consider myself fortunate that our dinner table included conversations in “Texas English”, Danish and German and, although I’ve forgotten what little I learned in my ancestors’ languages, I appreciate their unknowingly instilling in me a curiousity of human motivations that has morphed into a similar interest in various aspects of history.
And, when there’s a radio involved – boom, I’m there front and center.
I have a few more posts I’d like to make on the topic of radio & history, if only to get them out of my system. No offense is intended. Then it’ll be back to the blog as you knew it.
Auf weirdersehen for now, yawl.