Today in My History

2000:  Playing Hookey
2001:  Sweating with the Oldie
2002:  Dirty Laundry
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Eau d'Esbilac
2006:  Hit the Ground Running
The Adjustment Process
2008:  Hopping Down the Bunny Trail
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2010:  Seeing Clearly
2011:  Risky Business
2012: Mama Mia

2013: What Century IS this Anyway?
2014: A B I G Change
2015: Do Nuns Eat?
2016: Wacky for Washi
A Voice Stilled
2018: Calm/Anxiety
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2020: Marathoning

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Updated 3/14/21

Books Read in 2021
 Updated 1/13
Murder on the Orpheum Circuit
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24 March 2021

I saw a PBS biographical drama this week that I recommend highly.   It's called The Windemere Children and it tells a story I had never heard before.

It's based on the experience of child survivors of the Holocaust.  Some 700+ children were taken in by England and helped to rehabilitate their lives.  Some were as young as 6 years old, some were teenagers.

This story tells of the kids who were taken to  the Calgarth Estate, near Lake Windemere and it shows the difficulty of their assuming a normal life.  They couldn't believe they were given their own bedroom, not sharing bunk beds.  At the first dinner, with bread in baskets on the table, they stood quietly while grace was read and then grabbed as much bread as they could and ran back to their bedrooms to hide it.  The people in charge ordered that more bread be put out immediately so the children would realize that they would not go hungry and could take bread whenever they wanted it.

They tried to make the littlest children sleep in their own beds, but they were so accustomed to being with the "oldest" of them (age 6), that they all slept on the floor touching her.  Apparently there were such young children because the adults in the camps had been successful in hiding them from the Nazis.

There is a beautiful scene where one of the boys decides to "escape" and as he is leaving the grounds, one of the adults waves to him.  He tentatively starts running and when nobody comes to catch him, he runs and runs and runs before returning to the camp.

We see them learning English, forming friendships and learning what it's like to be normal again. 

A woman, who tries to get them to paint, is overwhelmed by the paintings they do.  With all the colors available to them, they all choose black and paint terrible things.  She explained that after the blitz in England, children who had been affected painted, but painted happy things with many colors, remembering the things before the bombings, but that most of these children had been in concentration camps so long they had no memory of anything else.

One boy, whose parents and sisters had been killed in front of him, was convinced that his brother lived and that he would come and find him.  He spent days sitting by the road just waiting for his brother to come

The people of the town were not happy to have the children there and one woman doesn't understand why England has to take them and why they aren't in their own countries.  "We all had some difficulty during the war," she says, not able to understand that their countries are destroyed and their families are all dead.

At the end of the movie, when the children are going to leave Windemere, there is a scene where some of the actors playing the children are morphed into the real adults who graduated from Windemere who tell what a difference the place made in their lives and what they have done since then.

The movie is really very moving and also very educational, if you want to find out what it is like for children to be locked away in a prison without their parents.  We aren't torturing them or starving them here in this country, of course, but what effect is our treatment going to have on them as adults?

The movie is now on Prime and I really recommend it.





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