Somewhere along the line, he should have gotten the memo that the war was over. It was, after all, 1969. But at RAF Brüggen. in northern Germany, at least one member of the Allied Forces was still fighting the second world war.
Though we spent most of our time in Germany at Zweibrücken Air Force Base, for a short time we were stationed at a Royal Air Force air station, where my father was part of a small American contingent.
And like most young fellows of that age, I joined the base Boy Scout Troop, where I was the only American. It was pretty cool, except that some kept going, “When are you going to buy a proper uniform?”
Ah, well . . .
One of the best things about Boy Scouts is that you get to go places, and do things. Not just camping, but hikes and field trips.
Well, everywhere that is except for RAF Brüggen; here we went camping on base, and as for going anywhere off-base?
Well, that was the impression most of us got, anyway. Did some of the local population still harbor bitter feelings about World War II?
Turns out our scoutmaster still harbored some deep feelings about the war, as became evidenced at one of our weekly meetings. where he launched into a tirade about our behavior in general, and Hitler and castration in specific.
As he went on about how we could not trust the Germans - memory fails if he actually used the term Jerry when referringt to them - and how (and here his voice reached fever pitch) if Hitler had conquered Britain, all of us would have been castrated, we just sat back, mesmerized.
Now, none of us may have been math prodigies, but a safe bet can probably made the same held true for our scoutmaster, as well. Because even the most dense among us could do the math - (1969 - the 1940s) and we easily figured out that it would have been our fathers would have been for the high jump.
We - not being born - would have been blissfully unaware of their sad plight.
“Castrated!” he shouted.
He must have wept when he got his orders for Germany. Dollars to donuts he was one of those who get sent overseas who never ever, leave the base if they don’t have to.
I wonder if he isn still alive, and if he has mellowed withy age? Probably not . . .
On the Air with Chris Ott
My interview with writer CHRIS OTT
about filmmaking and mythology, featuring an in-depth discussion of the works of Joseph Campbell, can be seen anytime at:
Quote of the Day
Home, in the twentieth century, is less where your heart is, than where you understand the sons-of-bitches. - Dave Hickey, The Texas Observer