Movie Lure

Monday, June 30, 2014

This past week I took my mother to see The Sound of Music on the stage of the DeWitt Theatre in Holland, Michigan. That brought back memories of seeing it at the movies, and that lead to reminiscing about my childhood experiences.

When I was growing up, the nearest movie theater was sixty miles away. My father also hated to spend money. As a result, I rarely went to the movies. In fact, I went only once while living at DeTour Village, Michigan from third grade through tenth grade. Daddy took us to see a Ma and Pa Kettle double feature in Sault St. Marie, Michigan (at the theater that was sixty miles away). Daddy may have chosen Ma and Pa Kettle with his young children in mind, but the humor was exactly his type.

We took a sabbatical to Scotland in the middle of our time at DeTour. We sailed to England on the Queen Mary (pictured above)* in 1961 on our way to Scotland, and the fare included free admission to the ship’s movie theater. Because it was free, my parents let us see as many movies as we wanted. I probably saw several during the five-day crossing, but I only remember one. I’m not positive, but I think it was Parrish, staring Troy Donahue. In any event, it wasn’t meant for ten-year-old girls. It may be that my parents didn’t realize what I was watching, or they may have thought I was mature enough to handle it. Either way, I guess I turned out okay.

I didn’t go to the movies again until my junior year in high school, when The Sound of Music came to Lake City, Michigan. (The movie came out in 1965 and we didn’t move to Lake City until just before school started in 1966, so it must have taken a while to reach the small-town theaters.) This time it was my mother who was the primary force in seeing the movie, although I enjoyed it as much as she did.

When I went to college, I could finally go to the movies as much as my limited income would allow, which turned out to be several times a year. Then when I dated Roland, we went once or twice a month.

But it’s those lean years that I remember most.


* I couldn’t find a picture of the Queen Mary among the slides my father took when we went to Scotland in 1961, so this is from our 1958 trip home after our sabbatical in Amman, Jordan.

Photography is for the Birds

Monday, June 23, 2014

© 2014 by Kathryn Page Camp

I try to walk for an hour three days a week, and I usually take my I-Pod and listen to lectures from The Great Courses. But sometimes I feel as if I’m missing out on some good pictures of the birds.

So twice this past week I traded my I-Pod for my camera. I didn’t get any knock-your-socks-off shots, and the only birds I saw were common ones, but I still like some of the pictures I took.

See what you think. (The middle one below is a “Where’s Waldo” type puzzle. Look for the spot of red.)

© 2014 by Kathryn Page Camp

© 2014 by Kathryn Page Camp

© 2014 by Kathryn Page Camp

School's Out

Monday, June 16, 2014

When I first met my husband, he was a college dropout working as a supervisor in a steel mill. Thirty-eight years later, he has a master’s degree and a plus thirty* and has just retired after 21 years of teaching.

Roland worked in the mill for 20 years before following his heart back to college and into teaching. (He actually worked there for 16 years but got credit for his four years in the Navy.) Then he threw himself into his chosen second career.

The picture was taken at Roland’s college graduation in 1992. He substituted for a year before accepting a teaching position at East Chicago Central High School.

In his first years at Central, Roland taught both World and U.S. History and an occasional Economics class. More recently, he has concentrated on AP and honors U.S. History courses. He has also won his share of teaching awards, which include an Outstanding Educator award from the University of Chicago, a Teacher of Excellence Award from the East Chicago Education Foundation, and three Distinguished Teacher awards.

Maybe you can tell that I’m proud of him.

Now Roland’s life is changing yet again. And because he’ll be home more, mine will change, too.

He hasn’t mapped out his new course yet, but he will.

May it be a happy retirement.


* For the non-teachers among us, a plus thirty is thirty hours of graduate credits beyond the master’s degree, which brings a step up in pay.

Learning About D-Day

Monday, June 9, 2014

This past Friday (June 6) was the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

My mother’s youngest brother landed with the troops on D-Day and survived, although he never talked about it. For those who went through it, it must have been very hard to live with and very hard to forget.

For the rest of us, it’s too easy to forget. That’s why we need reminders like the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, where I took the picture at the top of this post. The dioramic sculpture shows the troops landing on Omaha Beach. The boxy thing in the rear represents a landing craft. Two men have already made it safely to the beach (or at least safely for now), while the one on the right is still in the water and the one on the left is already dead.

In these days of the Internet, it’s easy to learn about D-Day or any other historical event without leaving home. Books are good teachers, too, but armchair learning isn't the best type.

Museums and memorials are better teachers. Besides visiting the D-Day memorial in Bedford, I also learned about D-Day at the World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.

As for the European museums, I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen any of them. At least one was around when I was in Europe as a child, but my father didn’t believe in spending money if he could avoid it.

He did love history, though, so we probably visited the beaches of Normandy. Unfortunately, I don't remember them.

Now that I’m an adult, I would like to go to Normandy and see the places where the D-Day invasion occurred. I’d also like to visit the D-Day museums in Arromanches, France, and Portsmouth, England.

Because that's the best way to learn history.

Another Type of Courage

Monday, June 2, 2014

Last week I talked about the courage that sends people into war at the risk of their lives and limbs. This week I am going to discuss another type of courage: the courage to stand up for one’s convictions.

Don’t get me wrong. The men of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team had both types of courage. I’m sure many if not most of them fought for their conviction that World War II was a just war or that America was worth defending (or both). But those convictions were the popular ones at the time.

The members of the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee had the courage to take a stand that was both unpopular and illegal.

The Heart Mountain draft resisters weren’t conscientious objectors who didn’t believe in war. They weren’t cowards who were afraid of dying on the battlefield. They weren’t typical draft resisters at all.

A typical draft resister says, “I won’t go.” A Heart Mountain draft resister said, “I’ll be happy to go when I and my family are given the same rights as other Americans.”

Why the stipulation? Because the United States government put the Heart Mountain draft resisters and their families behind barbed wire simply because of their ancestry.

The Heart Mountain incarceration camp wasn’t the only source of Nisei draft resisters, but the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee made the strongest statement. The Committee was composed of Japanese American citizens who were loyal to the United States and willing to serve in the army once their rights were restored.

By June 1944, sixty-three members of the Fair Play Committee had resisted the draft and been arrested. At a mass trial held in federal district court in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the judge found each of the defendants guilty and sentenced each one to three years in prison. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions, and the committee members served them out.

Some people labeled the resisters as disloyal, but that was not the case. As noted above, loyalty to the U.S. and willingness to serve in the military were both qualifications for belonging to the Fair Play Committee. The Heart Mountain draft resisters were loyal Americans who stood up for what they believed was right.

And that takes its own kind of courage.  


The picture at the top of this page shows the Heart Mountain draft resisters sitting in the federal courtroom in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The photograph is in the public domain.