Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Stories from Interviews?

I am hearing such astounding stories (some light and some dark) from these vets for the Veteran History Project, that possibly I may incorporate them into my own stories. For instance, I went back to Wackendaw Lakes yesterday for re-interview with the wonderful 96 y.o. last of the Hogan's Heros. The more I dig into his history, the more I realize the comedy series of Hogan's Heroes was based on a lot of truth. For instance, the last of the series, the guards handed over their guns to the POW's. That really happened according to Sgt. Tom, although he paid his guard a dollar for his. The guards were mostly drafted and usually the oldest or even disabled (think Sgt. Shultz) and treated the POW's really well and shared all the food they had with them even though sometimes low. Also, the little POW (he was 16 when he enlisted) really led the tunnel digging. They are going to bring me back the book he wrote from upstate, where Sgt. Tom lives (he is here for medical treatment). 
The local hero, who is the last survivor of the Chicago Port Disaster, had never told this story to his family. The veteran and his daughter are very pleased, and I am going back for re-interview there, as I did not know that fact either. When he was a kid he learned to speak some Greek and Yiddish, as they were most of his families' customers at their market in downtown Charleston. They brought in veggies to sell in their "deli" grocery store from their farm on John's Island.
What do you'll think? There is no confidentially factor as this information is for the Library of Congress.

This sounds fascinating. A compilation might be called "War Stories". Be very careful about confidentiality, though. If nothing else, the privacy of the men and women who told you the tales. Can't wait to hear.

Dear Karen, thanks so much for your positive reply. For most of these men, they are so old that their families are the ones who asked for the interview. Also, usually at least one of them are there. The men all seem relieved to get the stories off their chest and they signed releases for Library of Congress, which means they are open to the public.
I really appreciate your encouragement and advise for "War Stories"!   Oh, I am alright except for some allergy/breathing problems with all this pollen, which requires lots of rest. I am concerned about Tom, I saw him with his son at VA last week, and he looked very pale, and of course, he is very concerned about his son on the edge of homeless. I have calls in for him and called his wife too, and have no reply yet. I will tell him you asked however.  I hope you are doing well? blessings, ron

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