Sunday, July 29, 2018

Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Pops Staples, Carlene Anderson)

American/English.  I know I drive you all crazy but I promise that these kind of connections just fall into my lap.  My aunt in North Carolina likes to have videos on her Facebook page.  Recently, she had a song on there which was from a music show from England hosted by Jools Holland.   If you watch the video, you should know that Johnny Cash, June Carter and Pops Staples are no longer with us, but we can still enjoy their music!  (The show was from 1994.)

So...the show was from England and the song was "Will The Circle Be Unbroken".  Did you know that the lyrics to this song was written by a woman from England? Ada R. Habershon was born in Marylebone, England in 1861 and spent her childhood in Chelsea in London.  Her first hymns were written in German.  I just looked it up! Not that I know much German but I think I recognize it when I see it! "Vorbilder: Christus im alten Testament, 1899." (Just looked THIS up and it means, "Role Model: Christ In the Old Testament.)  

Now, the song "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" was re written by  A. P. Carter for a funeral and released in 1935 by the Carter Family. (June Carter Cash, a part of the famous Carter Family, of course.)  I wonder if the version by the Carter Family is the one that you are hearing in this video!   

I love the video so very much!  Each and every one of the singers here- just amazing! Johnny Cash, what a voice!  June Carter Cash, her voice is very good in this, and it makes it special to me to know that this song must have been a treasured family memory for her.
Pops Staples! His voice on this song is incredible!  Why, when I listened to this the first time, I had to keep re-winding it and keep listening to him. What joy!  "Clap ya hands, you'll feel better!"  
Love that! 
My friends, if you don't know Pops Staples- please read about him just here!

Carleen Anderson...goodness me, here comes that English connection again for me! She is American and is the step daughter of Bobby Byrd (who was born in my place of birth, Toccoa, Georgia.) but she now lives in England! She is very successful there but I just bet that if you are reading this in the USA, you might never have heard of her.  That is often the case, many of our artists are much more appreciated on the other side of the pond!

Okay now, at the very beginning of the video...the man on the piano is Jools Holland, who was also the host of this TV show.  Jools Holland was in the band "Squeeze". I hope you know that music from the 1980's!  (Cool For Cats, Up The Junction, Another Nail In My Heart.)

Hey  Y'all!  You know OWL always love you!  High in a pine tree, this is not the best photo but I almost fell over backwards taking it!  That is one big owl, isn't it?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Personal Memories-American Troops in Britain In WW 2

Recently, I told you about my visit with my Dad and sisters to the Currahee Military Museum. Remember I told you the paratroopers were sent to England to await the news for D-Day? Of course, there were many other troops that were stationed there. (My Uncle George, my Dad's brother, was one of them.  He was an MP and he spent two years in England.  How I wish he were still around so I could talk to him about this!)  I was most pleased to hear from a friend in England who told me that his father had good memories of the American troops that he knew as a youngster in Herefordshire.   I was delighted to learn that he had even met JOE LOUIS!  And if you do not know who he is, then I strongly suggest you learn about him!  I have a link for you just here!  

What an amazing and interesting man, see if you don't agree! (And that is something that Joe Louis, the American boxer known as the "Brown Bomber" has in common with the Englishman, Henry!)

 The thousands of Americans that were stationed in Great Britain - I have heard the phrase about them, "Oversexed, overpaid and over here"...yes, I know that but I have to tell you that from anyone that I have ever met the only thing that I have felt is a great relief and gratitude that the "Yanks" as they call us, came into the war. They were very thankful that they did so. The Brits had been at war since 1939... okay, now for those personal memories from Henry who was from Herefordshire!
(My thanks to Henry for speaking with his Dad and getting this information to me and thanks to Henry Sr. for the memories! Cheers from this very grateful YANK!  xx)

Note- "Fags" means cigarettes in Britain!

           Henry on the right, with his wife, Joy and son, Henry.

- The code name for the conveyor belt of American battalions that would pass through Herefordshire on the way to the Continent was Operation Bolero. The main site for the encampment of troops was Berrington Hall, home to the Cawley family, which stood in hundreds of acres just outside Leominster (pronounced Lemster). 

- Henry remembers thousands of troops, drawn from all over the States, being there at any one time. The earliest troops to arrive were black - the first 'negroes' that the locals had seen - and their role was to build the camp. Lady Cawley deliberately  had crops planted at the front of the hall so that the troops would have to live at the back and not be so visible. She was, though, agreeable to the hall being used as a hospital.

- H met Joe Louis briefly. Louis was there more as a morale booster than a regular soldier and it was noticeable that he was treated with more respect than the average black. H recalls going in US Army vehicles over the local hills. And plenty of fags and gum.

- Most of the early units arrived 18 months later in early '44. General Patton, dressed in an Eisenhower jacket and  riding breeches, and bearing a crop and ivory-handled pistols, addressed the troops in June and used the F word liberally

- Other units were stationed around the county. A hospital was set up at the bottom of Hergest Ridge near Kington. Hergest would come to prominence 3 decades later as the brief home of Mike Oldfield and title of his second album

- The main hospital was located just to the north of Leominster at Barons Cross. Its dual functions were the welfare of troops in the vicinity and as a general hospital for those injured in Europe after 6 June and its capacity was 1,000 beds. The water supply came from nearby wells.

- The hospital was put to use just a few days after D-Day when the first trainload of combat casualties arrived at Leominster station. The trains kept coming. 70% of the injuries would be orthopaedic in nature and death was rare. Elective surgery was not carried out on those not expected to return to duty within 90 days

- The heaviest pressure on the hospital was after the Battle of the Bulge. It was not unusual for soldiers to be readmitted to hospital 2 or 3 times after further spells of active duty. The last hospital train arrived on 9 May 1945 and 2 months later the hospital ceased functioning.

- The hospital had its own dance band 'The 135th Woodchoppers'. Christmas 1944 was observed in much the same way as it would be in hospital today.    

-  Many of the menial tasks at the hospital were done by German and Italian POWs who became occupants of the tents and the nissen huts when the Americans left Berrington Hall in early August 45.


Friday, July 20, 2018

First Man (Neil Armstrong) Movie Trailer

Ryan Gosling will portray Neil Armstrong ,the first man to step foot on the moon, in the film "First Man".  Based on the book "First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong" by James Hansen, the film will be released in October.  I very much enjoy books and films about real people so you all know I had to tell you about this one! "Apollo 13" is one of my favorite movies. Even though that was more of a "rescue" kind of film, it showed how dangerous it really was trying to get those astronauts back to Earth, and then, the joy at doing so!  The book "Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13" by Jim Lovell is one I highly recommend! (Remember when Neil Armstrong came by to comfort Jim Lovell's family? I know they take liberties during films but I can just bet that he did this!)

 When he first stepped on the moon, Neil Armstrong was supposed to say " That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind"... but he left out the "a" or it wasn't picked up or something and somehow, just leaving that out, it gave it more, I am not sure, more feeling somehow. Not just one man, but all of mankind being with him. I will never forget the thrill of hearing these words from him on that hot night on July 20, 1969...

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Imagine what it must have been like for the astronauts to see the Earth from the moon.  If you look at the NASA photos now, you will see their marvelous photos from the Space Station.  I highly recommend that you do so! Would you like a link to the best photos from space from 2017?  Sure you would!  Here it astronaut photos from 2017.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Who's Looking At You?/ "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Bethlehemian Rhapsody"

Hey! Y'all remember when I asked you what you thought this structure might be on the seafront in Eastbourne in England?  Who thought it looked like binoculars? You were right! It is a beachside hut and those windows are meant to look like BINOCS (as they say across the pond!) I have a link to the article in the newspaper just here.   The paper is The Sun...I am so old I remember when it was famous for their topless Page 3 girls! (Just looked it up and this was only eliminated in 2017.)  I also remember the Eastbourne seafront in the 1980's with many of the women not wearing their bathing suit tops. (Never bothered me any and honestly, it didn't seem to be that big of a deal!)  If this was still allowed, then it would make this new beachside hut a bit creepy, don't you think? Of course, that is not the way it is now, so you will just have to forgive me for thinking that way!  Apparently, the structure does move, if you are wondering, it certainly makes more sense for the windows to be facing towards the can't see the back of it but it is a curved window, you will see it if you go to that link I gave you!

It sure is hot here in Georgia just now and the mercury is rising! Which reminds me, did anyone see that there will be a new movie out about Queen (Freddie Mercury, see how I did that?) and you know I have the trailer of the movie for you here. The film's title will be "Bohemian Rhapsody".  (Come on, you know you have sung that song before!)

That reminds me...Richard and I were in England during the "Live Aid" concert.  Have you ever seen it?  When Queen was performing and Freddie Mercury came out in his white tank top?  He had that crowd in the palm of his hand, I am telling you, it was an incredible performance! 

I really like the actor who will portray Freddie Mercury- his name is Rami Malek.  Most people know him from Mr. Robot but I know him from the Night At The Museum films (he was in both of them).  I hope he wins an Oscar for this! 

Okay then, I hope you are all doing well!  I always have so much to write about and so little time to collect my thoughts and post them.  Ah heck, Kay, you are saying to yourself, when has that ever stopped you before?  Just jot any old thing down and we will read it.  You are right, you are all so kind and I appreciate you!  I feel like a crazy old Aunt in an attic typing away sometimes...

I have given you the above video is the same tune as Bohemian Rhapsody but these lyrics really go very well with the music. If you have not seen it before, please view it and enjoy!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Arabia Mountain History (It Involves Football)

The Brits play football everywhere they go! (I say "football" but for Americans, it is always referred to as "soccer".)  Of course, it is not just the Brits, it is played all around the world. However, it is a story of the BRITS in this area that I want to tell you about!  If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know my love for Stone Mountain, Arabia Mountain and Panola Mountain...I have been telling you about them for years! Arabia Mountain...I have always thought it had to be called that by the men from Scotland and Wales who worked in the quarries there! "Hotter than Arabia", I can just imagine them saying this.  Okay then, what is it that I just found out about them? Why, it is just amazing to learn this... they had arrived from Scotland and Wales and were playing football in Dekalb County (which is where the aforementioned mountains are located) in the 1880's!  This is just astounding to me!  I found this out on the Arabia Mountain website and I have the link for you just here.

By the way, I cannot imagine the men working on quarrying the stone from these "mountains" in such extreme heat and then, playing their football after they finished in the evenings!  But that is the love of the game for you! 

There is more that I want to tell you about Arabia Mountain's history but that will have to wait for another post! 

If you are ever at Stone Mountain, please visit the Quarry Exhibit that they have there.  I have a video for you above!

This is me on top of Arabia Mountain.  One of my favorite places!  On top of the world!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Three Lions-It's Coming Home

Hello, my friends!  I love England and I love sports, so do y'all think I am enjoying this World Cup?  You bet, I am!  Tomorrow, England will be playing Croatia!  I will be working but...if I work through my lunch and get off an hour earlier, I will just be able to get home in time to watch the last few minutes of it!  Don't worry, I won't drive TOO fast...wink, wink!

You would not believe the excitement in England while the World Cup is going on! I have been there in years past while they have been playing. (Photo above is our son in 2010.) Lots of people will put their English flags on their front doors or else hang them out their windows. Please note that the English flag does NOT have the word "Gillette" plastered over it but that just proves my point, that companies will give those away (with a purchase) and football fever is everywhere!  I wouldn't say that the streets in England are completely deserted while England plays in the World Cup, but they looked pretty empty to me!

Anyway, if you have seen England playing in the World Cup, you might have heard them singing several songs, like "God Save The Queen" and "Rule Britannia".  There was one song that I didn't know and just couldn't quite make it out but with a little research, I found out that it was "Three Lions".   This song was written in 1996 but you know that it has now been re-done for 2018! Guess what, I just saw on the BBC that is number one on the charts! Of course, it would be!  "It happened once before, it can happen once again".  If you see guys wearing football shirts in England and you wonder why they have the year "1966" upon them, that is because that is the only year that they won the World Cup!  (And you can't say, "better luck next year" the way we Americans are taught to say, the World Cup is only every four years!)

Three lions, they are on the uniforms for the England team.  Why is this so?  Look up the Royal Arms of England and you will know why!  You may read all about it here.  

Here, just had to give you a few seconds of the fans singing "Rule Britannia"!  

Come on England!   It's Coming Home!  (I hope!)
UPDATE: England lost to Croatia, 2-1.  Oh well, there's always next year! WAIT, there's always four years from now! LOL!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy 4th! Walk On!

Happy 4th of July!  Hey, it is almost over now but hearing loud fireworks as I type this.  BANG!  BOOM!

Did anyone else see on the news that they found a copy of the Declaration of Independence... in England?  They are calling it the "Sussex Declaration" since it was found in Chichester in West Sussex!  It is kind of a big deal since there are other copies but this one is from the same time frame as the one that is in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.! Interesting to me, the names on this document are not lumped together by states but the signatures are not in any particular order.  Suggesting perhaps that they wanted the country to be one and that the states should not feel separate from each other?  UNITED States of America! 

Okay, listening to the concert from Washington, D.C. on TV, it is called the Capitol Fourth.  (It is broadcast live from the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol.)  They just had a tribute to military families and Renee Fleming sang "You'll Never Walk Alone".   I was so happy to hear it!  (It was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for the musical "Carousel" but the Brits might be more familiar with it than most Americans!)  Now, Renee Fleming is a great operatic singer but for me...well, I have a video for you!

Hope you take the time to listen and watch the video above.  You will thank me!  And I thank the great Richard Rodgers for this music and Oscar Hammerstein II for the words.  Americans!

Walk on!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

You Can Invent A New Cadbury's Dairy Milk! (Sorry, Only For Those In The UK)

Oh, to be in England just now!  England beat Columbia today in penalty kicks in the World Cup!  How exciting!  I was able to get home  just in the nick of time to see the end of this was nail biting but England won!  I know that there are lots of women who don't care one jot about sports...I am NOT one of them! HA!
(The Atlanta Braves beat the New York Yankees in the 11th inning last night! They are playing them again tonight and even though they are behind just now, is it possible they can come back and win it?...we will see!)

Now, what was it I was going to tell you about? Oh yes...chocolate!  Cadbury's is developing a new chocolate bar and they are asking for your help! Isn't that the neatest thing?  Only, it looks as if you must be in Britain to do so.  As I said, "Oh, to be in England just now!"    So, if any of my British followers are reading this post, please go to this site...
and create your own Cadbury Dairy Milk!  (Note to my American friends...we say "candy bar" in America but I have never heard it called that in England, it is always called a "chocolate bar"!) be clear, this is only open to residents of the United Kingdom- England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland,  aged 16 and older. 

Sorry about my lopsided photo of Cadbury's Roses up there, it was the only one that I had that showed the lovely name of Cadbury!

Oh and Happy Independence Day to me and to my fellow Americans...happy 4th of July tomorrow for everyone else!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Currahee Military Museum in Toccoa, Georgia (With Appreciation To England )

Georgia Girl With An English Heart!  Read the following and you can see that the Currahee Military Museum is right up my alley! (You will also understand about the nod to England in my title.)

Look on the side of my blog.  Do you see that  Toccoa, Georgia is my place of birth?  My father was also born there AND his father before him! Since my Dad is now 91 years old, we have a long history of living in that area.  Growing up, my mother's father had land on that same road as Camp Toccoa. In the early 1960's, all that was left of the camp were the abandoned white buildings that I would ask about when we would go past them in the car.  In hushed tones I was told about the paratroopers who trained there in World War II.  The stories about them were always conveyed with the deepest respect.  There were a few books written about them but it was not until Stephen Ambrose wrote his best selling book "Band of Brothers" that most people first heard of the camp.  This put Toccoa "on the map" so to speak.  (And really, it was the mini-series film adaption produced by Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg that did so.  I will ask folks if they have read the book and hardly anyone has but "they have seen the movie".  The mini-series is excellent, I agree but if you get the chance...please read the book, it is very good.)  

Currahee Mountain is about five miles from the train depot in Toccoa, Georgia.  When the soldiers arrived there, they walked to the camp which at the beginning was called "Camp Toombs".  This was named after a Confederate general but when the commanding officer, Col. Sink, heard the name and also noticed that the men were walking past a casket company that was in Toccoa, he petitioned to change the name and therefore the Army agreed to the change and it became Camp Toccoa.

Currahee Military Museum and Stephens County History Museum are in the same place- the old train depot in Toccoa, Georgia.  Now, both of these are fascinating to me and I hope that if you visit you will spend time in both.  

  CURRAHEE.  The paratroopers used this as their motto since "Currahee" is a Native American word that means "we stand alone".    The paratroopers were the first to be dropped into Europe just before D-Day.  If you have read "Band of Brothers" you will know this already!  But you WILL read it, won't you?  Please do!

Time it just right and you will hear/see a train going past!

What about the English part? Okay, here it is...

After training, the men from Camp Toccoa were sent to Aldbourne, England.  They were housed in stables from mid 1943 until 1944 in preparation for D-Day. (I hope you all know the date of June 6, 1944 for the beach landings in Normandy, France.  Remembering, of course, that the paratroopers were flown in just before the landings.)
If you can read the sign above, one of the stables is now proudly inside the museum and it is one of the original stables from England! What a wonderful story, I think.  If you notice, the four Englishmen even came to Georgia and re-assembled the building! I love that they did that.    

I have mentioned Camp Toccoa before in my posts, you may read one of them just here.    

There are nice benches in the museum and not only that but they also have very nice wheelchairs for those who might need them.  My Dad used one of them and at the end of the tour, we asked if we should take it back to the front of the museum but were kindly told that they would take care of it.  It was most pleasant to speak with them, makes me proud to be from Toccoa, Georgia!

 I am thankful that the Currahee Military Museum exists to celebrate the "Toccoa men" and to honor all veterans and active duty military.  There are plans to even further honor them with a museum at Currahee Mountain itself.. You may see that website just here.   (Camp Toccoa at Currahee Project.)

My heart is full after writing this post. So difficult to explain my own admiration for these men who trained at Camp Toccoa! I have read every book about them that I could find, including the memoirs that many of them wrote.  Most of them have passed away now, so it is more important than ever, I believe, that we remember them and honor them.  (I worked as a travel agent for almost 20 years during the 1980's and 1990's and talked with many vets going to their World War II reunions.  I see now how lucky I was to personally speak with them.  What a great bunch of guys! I salute them all.)