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My Blog - Inspired By My Pictures

Years ago I heard the advice, "Don't take pictures while on vacation, just focus on the experience."  This turned out to be terrible guidance for me.  In my late 30s I started taking more pictures.  This activity helps to cement memories that would otherwise be lost whether on vacation or just going somewhere on the weekend.  In this blog I share the memories and stories inspired by my pictures.  

The 29th was a day marked by strong German attacks on CCB and CCR fronts directly north of us. Some local success was achieved. In our sector there was no counter-attack, but activity on the German side of the canal was reported by all observers. G-2 reports indicated a considerable number of new units in the area between the Maas River and canal front. A Liaison Officer from the British 4th Royal Horse Artillery reported to our CP preparatory to support the division in this sector. No missions were requested from the British. 946 rounds were fired.

Oct 29, 1944

Holland

Letter #3


My darling;

Well honey I’m all set up again. This time I have set up my office on the back porch of a farmer’s house. It seems pretty good too. They have one coal stove out here plus my small gasoline stove makes it pretty warm out here. Tyler has spent the entire morning with me, which is something new. He usually sits across the field and burns ammunition boxes to keep warm.

Your packages are ready. There will be two boxes the size of a milk case plus one other small package. I sure hope you get it in good shape.

The unit is putting out a book which will tell of all the items that have happened up to the time we captured Verdun. I have ordered three of these, one for you, mom and sis. Do you think that is enough or should I have purchased more? Let me know.

I have also ordered fifteen dutch Christmas cards. Do you have any particular distribution on these? Please let me know and their addresses also.

Betty there isn’t any news to write about. Time just continues to go by. It is almost the first of November and the war isn’t over yet. I wonder if this European war will be over before the Pacific war. I sure would hate to fight in both sections of the world.

I received those family pictures you sent. Honey I’m awful glad you have fallen into our family as easily as it appears. So far as a wife you have been more successful than I ever thought. Now don’t ask for any explanation of that statement. I love you very, very much.

Well honey, I’ve got to get on my horse and get to work. I haven’t got much to do today but I want to get it done as soon as possible. Be good. I miss you a lot and sure wish I could be home and be a husband again.


All my love,

Jack



There’s nothing but uncertainty when we think about our future post Covid-19. First, no one knows when and how this will be over. The question I keep hearing is, “when will things return to normal?” That can be translated into, “when will things get back to how they were?” As you listen to the news, the scientists and the pundits, there’s some serious doubt as to whether we will ever return to the way things were. Let me add my voice to this cacophony and I’ll start with two major assumptions. Economists and other social scientists will spend the next 10 years validating or invalidating these assumptions. There will be significant long term impact to where we work and post-secondary education.


Companies have been playing with the expansion of working from home for years. Companies were shifting from a workforce that was 100% in the office to one spending some percentage of time working remotely. Covid 19 catalysed this experiment and accelerated it to 100% for any and all who can work from home. As the pandemic recedes the % of work from home will shift back to working at the office but nowhere near the quantity we saw just a couple of months ago. Over time companies will realize that the cost of office space isn’t worth the additional productivity gained from having workers close together. Current office space will slowly be transformed for other use, residential, warehouse etc…


Collegiate education will also never be the same. Reputable universities started offering remote graduate learning programs 10-20 years ago. Over the last five years there’s been an explosion in online learning mainly focused on skills rather than a broader education. Codeacademy, Skillshare, Udemy, Masterclass, Lynda.com etc… Again, Covid 19 has forced us from in person learning to 100% distance learning. As the virus recedes we’ll see a return to in person learning but not to the extent that we’ve seen historically. Students and employers will start to understand that the additional benefits of an in person education don’t outweigh the costs of attending a 4 year university. Even before the virus, the cost of post secondary education was a point of contention as the debt of college graduates who started working post college steadily increased to suffocating levels.


All of this is context for my broader hypothesis. The cultural bubbles that currently exist will get worse. Work and school are the two greatest places for exposure to other races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs. This exposure doesn’t take place during formal meetings, presentations or seminars. It takes place as people interact beyond a direct purpose whether that interaction is talking in a break room, hanging out in a dorm, having a conversation with your cube mate or eating together in the cafeteria. All of this will be reduced going forward.


What replaces this interaction? It’s replaced by social media and those you choose to interact with online or in person. It’s human habit to interact with those of similar beliefs. This is because of comfort, similar people joining organizations and algorithms pushing information to us which reinforce the beliefs we already have. This is dangerous. We’ve seen what the seclusion of information, data and ideas has done to America over the last 2 decades. Without environments which force exposure to different ways of thinking, the segregation of our society will get worse.


On the night of the 27-28th, the enemy attempted a rubber-boat-crossing in force on the town of Nederweert. It was a clear moonlit night and when their intentions became clear to Lt. Stelma, watching from his outpost now located in a warehouse he landed a concentration on them completely smashing their preparations. In the daytime, enemy activity went forward and the sound of hammering was clearly audible in our outposts on the west bank of the canal. Heavy shelling of Nederweert continued, and Weert itself was subjected to a light shelling by Nebelwurfers with the target apparently being the bridges spanning the canal in town. A small task force under Captain Nelson, of the 40th Tank Battalion, was sent to clean out a pocket of Germans across the canal north of Nederweert. Lt Edward E. Hayes, of the 489th went as forward observer with them. The day’s expenditure was 806 rounds.

Oct 27, 1944


Letter #2

My Darling;

At least it hasn't been a week since I wrote you last, but almost. We are still doing the same as we have been doing. Last night I went to a little beer tavern across the road from me and stayed two hours. They had a sax and accordion player and it seemed real good to hear a little music if you call that music, for a change.

Betty I finally got something I think is pretty nice for you. But again it is for our house. I guess most things you get your wife are for her house. Well I don’t know how many boxes it will take to pack it in. I figure about four milk boxes will do it. I’ll tell you the number after it is packed. I sure hope you like it. I am also sending you some foreign money.

Honey you should see my office. I got a barn with a cement floor with straw lining all the sides. I also got a kerosene stove for heat and this morning I got two kerosene lanterns so now I’m all set except a radio and I sure know the place to get that.

Keith is having trouble with me because everything I get he always has to carry. If we moved now he claims he would have to have a 6x6 to haul it in. I sure doubt it but we make a point to argue so we don’t get too bored with each other.

Now honey, with my new set up I’ll sure try and write you oftener. But now that I’m set we’ll probably take off like a bird and that will be the end of my little house.

Two hours later.


What did I tell you. Borcherding just came back from headquarters we are going to move this afternoon. Now I’ve got to get a new set up some place. I have to write about that later.

Honey, why won’t this war get over so I can come back home to you. I sure would like to be there. I wonder if we’ll be the same when I get home. I know for sure we are going to start our family when I do arrive.

The other day I was going through a town and I wasn’t in too much of a hurry and I stopped and saw the show. It was an English speaking showing so that was the main reason for my going.

Honey, I must close for now and get started in packing up for the move. I sure could stand for coming home to you. Maybe I can figure some way to get home, but somehow the Army is always ahead of me and stops all my efforts.

Be good - I love you & miss you terrible.


All my love

Jack


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