Monday, August 23, 2010

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

This weekend...this weekend...hmm...let's see.

Saturday morning I slept in until close to 9 o'clock...that means I clocked in close to 9 hours of sleep! What the Amazing? It was great. I finally got up, cooked up some breakfast and then laid in bed, cause I could. I finally got up for real and took a shower and got ready for the day. I had a date at 1 o'clock and I was meeting him downtown at the Edgar Allen Poe Museum. I had been there before but I tried to play it off like I hadn't. My pride got the best of me because we couldn't go upstairs in one of the buildings because there was going to be a wedding there and the room was reserved for the wedding party. My date wondered aloud what was up there and I said, "I know!" So...then I had to say, 'yeah, I've been here before'. It's the room where the voice over reads "The Raven", and on the other side of the teeny, tiny hallway is the boyhood room (replica) of Edgar Allen Poe...where it is said that a ghost resides. I was actually grateful to be looking at the lower level without hearing that super creepy voice coming from upstairs, and the boyhood room...creeps me out a little too, so all was well with me. I did learn something new, you see, there are so many things written in the museum that if I had a little more patience I would have read it all by now, but instead, being impatient, I get to learn something new each time I go.

Edgar Allen Poe was actually a little bit of an athlete! Who would have guessed, he doesn't strike me as an athlete- I guess because he writes or something, I don't know, it's possible.

Anyway, he swam six miles in the James River, which, according to the little plaque, has never been repeated. That's impressive.

That took a total of 30 minutes, so as we were leaving the museum we decided maybe we would get ice-cream (I had already eaten lunch). Neither of us really knew what was around, I knew of the River City Diner, and that was it, so we started to walk towards the Canal Walk because I remember seeing some shops down there last time I went. We stopped though because we saw the Holocaust Museum (I have been there before too, and admitted it this time). I guess this was kind of a macabre date.

I'm all for learning about history, but the Richmond Holocaust Museum has to be one of the scariest places that I have ever been...yet I keep going back. I think because it's free, therefore the people I am with always want to go. I jumped a few times and acted like a real pansy a few others. No matter how many times I am there that place will do it to me. It's eerie and I don't expect sunshine and butterflies, but I also don't like feeling like I'm in some scary movie. I did finally go through the tunnel. See, there is a tunnel in one of the rooms to demonstrate what it was like for one Jewish family that lived several weeks underground. I cheated and used my cell phone to light the way. Once to the main part of the tunnel there is a display set up with red light and a about a dozen plastic mannequins and a German audio recording ready to go once you get to a certain point...that point happened to be as I first noticed the dozen or so plastics looking at me. I don't think I screamed, but I can't say for certain that I didn't.

I am hesitant to say that it was fun, rather, it is always a sobering experience. Especially as you get to the liberation section and you read the stories of those who survived and those who found the survivors. I held my ground though, and didn't cry, but I mentally made it a point to finally finish reading Izzy's Fire, a book I bought at the gift shop there about...5 years ago. (P.S. I have been crying while I read that the privacy of my own home of course). World War II just seemed to display the worst in people. The Americans were dropping A-bombs, the Germans were committing genocide, the Japanese were doing death marches and who knows what else because to be quite honest I don't know all that much. I know about the big things that they teach you in school and they make movies about. You look at all that was wrong and then you read about the soldiers coming in and pretty much saving those people and you think of all the soldiers that died just to get the armies there and how some of those prisoners were barely hanging on, to their lives, to their faith. Many of them having already lost all that they had. I read about soldiers, nurses, resistance fighters, one woman who left her daughter at a Catholic convent while she helped with the underground, helping Jewish families escape Nazi controlled countries. The best and the worst displayed in relatively a few short years. I wonder how our history will sum us up.

I didn't mean to get deep there, I was planning to go on and on about how when I got home I slept the rest of the day and go into a silly diatribe about how I must have contracted African Sleeping Sickness. African Sleeping Sickness (I was going to reduce that to just letters but thought better of it, and quickly) Diatribe averted. Rather, I would like to thank anyone who has ever devoted their time to serving our country, who knows how many lives they have affected with their service whether directly or indirectly. Thanks for all that you do!


Martha said...

African Sleeping Sickness.

Kind of like naming my daughter Antionette Sarah Smith...not that I even wanted to, I'm just saying.

Elaina said...

You definitely have A.S.S.

I will have to check out the museum. I've never been to the one here. And I need to go to the Poe one too.

Who was your date with?

Joanna & Ben said...

I have never been to either of those places. I have a cultural void that I should probably try to fill


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