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Ringleader meets Curious George many years ago

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ringleader

You are so right, Michelle. I have loved my many trips into Canada and have met the most delightful people. I'm glad to be getting acquainted with you. Jigidi is an astonishing place.

puzzaddled

US/Canada border? What border?

Ardy, I have to tell you that both my husband and I are many, many generations Canadian.

My family pre-dates that border line by a good many years. (His may have first nations blood so he would pre-date all of us, if true! lol) I have been told that through my grandmother's family, I could be a member of the DAR (if I was an American). Some family came north as United Empire Loyalists, others as persecuted Quakers and some still live in the States.

My dad owns a house in Florida and spends at least half the year down there in the sunny south. At his/your age, he says he prefers to skip winter while he still is healthy enough to do so. My brother worked and lived in Florida with his family for over six years. My sister-in-law worked and lived in Illinois for about the same amount of time. My husband, in the course of business, has visited over 30 states in the continental US.

As you can see, our experiences have allowed us to meet many people in the US. I've found that there are no real differences between us except for some political philosophies. At heart, we are really one people and I would like us to remain so.

And, after all, you have our newscasters (Peter Jennings, J.D (oops, now John) Roberts, etc.), actors (too many to name), comedians (same), musicians (ditto) singers (ditto, ditto), HOCKEY players (Wayne, how could you?), etc. How different can we be? Oh that's right, they get paid better down there!

This has been fun! Michelle

ringleader

Wow, Michelle. What a legacy in the family. Those pictures would be worth a fortune is you knew where they were. Not that you'd sell them. Please reassure your husband that he did not upset me in any way. The tears were from an emotional reaction to a Canadian being thankful for the US. I was grateful for all he said. It has helped me understand why we are so involved in Iran and Afghanistan as well. Thank you for taking the time to share all this.

puzzaddled

Oh dear, Ardy. I just posted a very long message to you on this puzzle. Or thought I did! Fast fingers pushed the wrong button and I deleted it. You should have heard me moan! and groan! and *snivel*! Let's see if I can remember what I said (trying to shake these grey cells up).

(...got smart this time and made a document first to cut and paste...aha! foiled the fast finger forces of fate!)

First of all, I passed on the thanks to my husband and he appreciated it. However, he wanted me to say that he didn't mean to upset, offend or hurt anyone. I had shown him both puzzles (yours and roseheather's) and the comments and he just starting talking to me. Since his (self-taught) knowledge of this era in history is so much greater than mine, I asked him if it would be ok to share it. (He talked so quickly that I had a hard time keeping up and I made a lot of silly typos in doing so.) He was especially moved to talk about it when he heard about PattyAnne's 14 year old grandson. As he says: not all history is pretty but it shouldn't be forgotten.

Asides: (danger, danger, Will Robinson...emotional stories coming.)

My great-uncle (by marriage) was a German P.O.W. I don't know where he was held; my great-aunt met him after he had come to Canada. (He never went back to Germany or ever wanted to do so.) Before WW2, he had been a window dresser and an amateur photographer and had wanted to emigrate from Germany to either Australia or Canada. Unfortunately, German regulations of that time required that he have permission from his parents because he was too young to apply for himself. They, not wanting to lose their son, refused to sign. He never got the chance to emigrate; he was drafted. His personal theatre of war in the Panzer Grenadieres saw him in the front lines for the entire war. From the invasion of France to the Russian front (where he suffered severe frostbite) to, at the end, the western
front. He was the only member of his platoon (54 men) to survive to the end of the war. The rest died. Please understand that he didn't tell us anything about this until about a year before he died. By that time he had had both his legs amputated (long term damage from that frostbite). During a visit to him, my husband had made a comment about his cute little dog. My great-uncle then said that he always had a little dog with him, even in the war. He brought out his photo albums to show us pictures of the little dogs and my husband was astounded. My husband recognized some of the locations and gently asked questions and so got my great-uncle to talk about his experiences. With his love of photography, he had smuggled his camera with him when he was drafted and took pictures during his whole war experience. He sent the film home to his family by surrepticious means; they kept it hidden for him until his return home. Had he been discovered with the camera and film, he would have been court-martialed and likely shot. The photographs were unique in that they were not official propaganda but rather an insight into the life of the ordinary German front-line soldier. They were amazing. (Sadly, I do not know where these photos are now. He passed away several years ago.) It hardly seems credible but he seemed to actively hate Hitler more than anyone we have met. The only time he pronounced the name, he spat it out with venom! Any other references were to THAT man (same venom) who had caused so much trouble for the world. He said he was ashamed to fight for Hitler in that war but that he'd had no choice. My great-uncle said something about his family being held hostage to his compliant
behaviour, especially since he was Austrian and not German. While we had seen Das Boot and considered it to be a powerful film (although my husband did critique a couple of its flaws), we were even more moved by my great-uncle's story. It so exemplified the personal side of the individual soldier's experiences and the realization that we are all human and not really different from one another regardless of nationality.

Can you take another story? This dramatically illustrates my last point above, I feel.

A few years ago I accompanied my daughter and her best friend (whom I love and consider to be my other daughter) to the Royal Winter Fair, here in Toronto. It was November 11th and we had attended the Remembrance Day ceremonies while there. In the afternoon, while walking through the fair, my daughter espied a be-ribboned WW2 veteran who was wearing his full dress uniform. He was very aged and in a wheelchair, being pushed by his wife. My very fair, red-headed daughter went up to him and, very politely and respectfully, asked if she could shake his hand to thank him for his service to our country. He was so very happy to do so and just beamed! (He even gave her a hug as she knelt to talk to him.) However, when her best friend then went up to him and asked him, even more respectfully (if it was possible!), if she could do the same he was nonplussed. Hesitantly, very hesitantly, he said yes. My daughter's best friend is empatically Canadian (born and raised) but her racial background is Indonesian. As he later explained to us, he had a bad moment where he couldn't reconcile this young woman's appearance to the appearance of the enemy all those years ago. You see, his theatre of war was the Pacific! This was the first time, in all those years, an Asian appearing person had thanked him. He asked if he could hug her too! I think that this was a catharsis for him, all those many years after the war; his wife gave me the most beautiful smile I have ever seen, from behind his chair, while wiping tears from her eyes. (rats...now I'm doing the same, just remembering...) I was just so proud of my girls!

Now, Ardy, you can see what you have instigated with the simple posting of a puzzle ( a good thing!). It has brought memories to mind that haven't been shared for a while. Your comments about remembering good times and bad was pertinent. Thank YOU, for enabling these discussions.

I wondered whether I should talk about such things to you so close to Christmas but then remembered that the reason for celebration is the birth of a man or Son of God (depending on your beliefs) who was the personification of understanding and forgiveness. It never hurts to hear stories that exemply the lesson of Love Thy Fellow Man, does it?

Here I thought that I joined jigidi just to solve some jigsaw puzzles. Instead, I am not only having fun but meeting interesting people and sharing ideas and experiences. WOW!

Next time, on to lighter topics! (Go listen to some silly Spike Jones...lol.)

Take care, Michelle (& Bruce)

ringleader

Yes, Dagmar. I had been working for several years when I went to this Conference. But it was at least half a lifetime ago. Curious George's creator, H. A. Rey escaped Europe during WWII (I think). I'll have to reread his biography again as I've forgotten the details but it seems like he and his wife were sort of smuggled out. He brought the character with him. Thanks for coming by. Glad you had a little fun time tonight.

Dohun

Hi Ardy, I haven't come across Curious George here in Europe, which doesn't mean he might not exist, but he looks a perfect character to introduce children to reading. Did you already work as a teacher when this photo was taken? You look very young and lovely here. :)))
Thanks for sharing a moment of your life with us. :))

ringleader

Jan, Thanks so much for taking the time to come by. Love finding my favorites on my boards. You know, Kirsten may be just young enough not to know Curious George and not having kids she wouldn't have discovered him that way.

JiggyBelle

Ardy, looks like he is reading part of his autobiography to you!! What a great picture to have! Love it!
Kirsten - you don't know Curious George! I thought he was international! LOL

ringleader

Thanks Ank. Kids still like Curious George.

Hmmm Wendy, Can't imagine why. Maybe you've seen it before? LOL

Wendy_13

This looks vaguely familiar, Ardy. I'm glad you posted it as a puzzle. :-)

puzzeljac

A lovely photo Ardy. Pity I ever knew Courious George. He looks nice. But you do better.

ringleader

Thanks Pat. Never know what one will find when looking through old photo albums!

pkin38

Always loved courious George. Great picture thanks Ardy

ringleader

Hi Hanne. I look at these old pictures and wonder where that girl went. Mentally I don't feel that much older but physically - well we won't go there. Curious George is still very popular with the young set. He's also quite instructive. Thanks for coming by.

Elfie

I have an idea that Curious George was very popular!! Isn't it funny to see early pictures of oneself from many years ago?? Thanks so very much Ardy!

ringleader

Thanks Kirsten. Glad to make you acquainted with this mischievous little monkey . This was at an American Library Assoc. Conference at the publisher's booth.

RandomWorship

Look at you, Ardy! What a great photo! And now I need to go and google "Curious George". :-DDD

ringleader

I'm not sure. Judging from the color of my hair I would say sometime in the 1970's. Thanks for coming by. I'm loving your Rockport pictures.

dondi

Would it be impolitic to ask *how many* years ago? :-)