Friday, March 13, 2009

me, a WWII history buff?

Well, you can't beat times of war for rich social history, can you? I'm not much of a military-minded person but I am fascinated by the survival instinct and ingenuity of people who watched enemy soldiers marching into their communities and lived to tell of it. Or didn't live, but got their stories out somehow anyway.

I put a book down last night to watch the end of a WWII-era Hitchcock (Secret Agent). After its thrilling conclusion I flipped over to the local public broadcasting station just so I wouldn't have to turn the TV on to some shrill hawking for toilet bowl cleaner next time I'm inclined to sit on the sofa, and, oops, stuck around for another hour or so to learn more than I already knew about how art was stolen and stored, or damaged and restored, or lost or returned, all over Europe during and after WWII. It was astonishing and made me think I need to spend some time studying that period more deeply.

It also made me think of my late friend Bob Legleitner, of the late-night ghost story: Bob's thing was the mysteries swirling around WWII art thefts. I love when memories of old friends float back that way, don't you?

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