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The Little Submarine that Changed the World

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Archeologists from the Piedmont Historical Center in Athens Georgia announced a discovery today that may forever change the way we know naval history. While construction crews were busy clearing land for the construction of a new parking lot in the rural part of nearby Oconee County, a small pond was partially drained. What they found in the pond was startling.

Historians had known for decades that the during World War Two the Germans had sent U-Boats to the east coast of the United States, and that they had ventured as far as the mouth of the Mississippi River near New Orleans. And on the West Coast the Army had found evidence suggesting that the Japanese had sent one man mini-subs to port cities in California. But what was found today had never before even been considered a possibility.

In the pond, which is fed by a stream and has an outlet to the Oconee River, construction crews discovered the rusted remains of a Japanese mini-sub from World War Two. There is no evidence of the crewman still being on board so his fate is a mystery. More mysterious however, is how the sub came to be in a pond in Georgia, and why it was there.

Speculation is that the sub was headed for the University of Georgia Cosmic Science Exploration Laboratory in Athens in order to disrupt progress being made by researchers investigating the possibility of harnessing the power of interstellar light for weapons purposes. In 1943, several scientists were conducting top secret research at the University of Georgia and had made significant headway in creating the first light ray weapon. This would have changed warfare forever. Not to mention the impact it would have had on the political dynamics of Planet Earth.

The submarine crew presumably was under orders to destroy the lab, and the research documents housed there. That mission was a failure.

However, another seemingly impossible mission was completed. The fact that the submarine was able to navigate from Tokyo Japan to Athens, Georgia is truly incomprehensible.

Across the vastness of the Pacific Ocean to the coast of California was one thing, but to continue the journey south past Mexico and through the Panama Canal, closely hugging American ships in order to avoid detection, then up the coast of Florida to Georgia and the mouth of the Ocmulgee River was a seafaring adventure comparable to Captain Cook’s first circumnavigation of the globe.

Entering the river mouth, the sub would have moved upstream to increasingly narrow and shallower waters. Apparently it reached the end of the road in this pond where it has remained for nearly seventy-five years.

Researchers from the Piedmont Center have been working around the clock to stabilize the sub so that it can be moved to their research facility. There may still be evidence on board providing insights into the mission, the crew and the fate of both. Pictured is the mini-sub.

You gotta be kidding! Ha Ha. April Fools! The picture shows a rusty old propane gas tank located adjacent to an old homesteads that was recently torn down. In the construction of a new parking lot. I couldn’t resist.

That’s part of my story. What’s yours?

www.personalhistorywriter.com

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Wind Chimes

For Father’s Day my kids gave me a new set of wind chimes. I acted surprised, and exceedingly happy. And indeed I was happy. But not surprised. After all, I told them what I liked and where to get it. It’s a little more special than it sounds though.

We were at the beach for our vacation on Father’s day this year. Not planned, it just worked out that way because of everyone’s schedules. We usually go to Florida for the beach, but this year we were in Virginia. Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. Assateague is a national park. It’s so undeveloped that there are ponies that roam wild on the island. They are a big deal and every year they swim over to Chincoteague for the great pony swim.

So it’s a new place for us. And different from the commercial beaches we tend to go to. Not that we favor them, we just tend to go there. Anyway, they told me that since this was a different kind of trip, and Father’s Day was involved, I should be on the lookout for something special to take home as a souvenir. I knew exactly what they meant. Something they could give to me as a memento of our family trip to this special place. Cool.

Over the course of our stay we hit a number of shops. Art galleries, beachy tourist traps, and some gift shops. I didn’t need postcards, t-shirts or alligator heads. You know, that kind of stuff. And since my kids are students they couldn’t buy me any great artworks. But in one shop I found the wind chimes.

I’ve always loved the wind chimes they make in Maine. They tune them to sound like the buoys at various lighthouses along the coast. And they are expensive. I have a job and can’t afford them. But these were made in Virginia, were well made, and had a very nice tone to them. They just didn’t sound like any particular famous bell. Just a nice bell. And they were affordable.

These kinds of chimes always sound a little melancholy and they reminded me of a time earlier in my life when I lived near the ocean. At the time I went to Naval Officer Candidate School it was located in Newport, Rhode Island. It’ moved since to Pensacola, Florida. Warmer there. That’s another story for later. We lived in a brick barracks building and my room faced Naraganset Bay. The bay was about fifty yards from my window. I was there in the dead of winter and at night I could lay in, I mean, on my bed and hear the buoys clanging in the bay. The buoys mark the navigation channels for ships. Each buoy has either a green or red light on it and they bang away with their motion on the water to warn sailors in the fog about the channel. All night long I’d hear a kind of distant clanging. Soothing in a way. A guardian in the darkness.

Ever since then I’ve enjoyed listening to the sound of the chimes as wind blows through them. I have five now. They are made of different things. Metal tubes, glass, old silverware, old bells. Two are sentinels calling out the opening and closing of the outside doors to my house, and three are just to sooth my soul.

That’s part of my story. What’s yours? www.personalhistorywriter.com

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Mid-day Snack

Amelia Island, Florida is one of my favorite summertime destinations.  Great beach.  Not crowded.  And plenty to do in the quaint village of Fernandina Beach.  Which actually has a great historic district, antique shops and restaurants.  Lots, and I mean lots, of golf.  As long as I can stay in a place where I can see the water I’m happy, but the best place, for me, is at the Plantation.  And there, I prefer a spot called Turtle Dunes.  Has a lot of memories for me.

I never knew why it was called turtle dunes.  I just figured it was a beachy sounding kind of name for a residential area on the water.  And turtles have been of great interest to people of many cultures for a very long time.  On other beach trips I’d seen the roped off little areas on the dunes that indicated a sea turtle nest, with hundreds of eggs buried.  But I’d never actually seen a turtle, or the little hatchlings scampering across the sand on their way back to the sea.  So, you can imagine my surprise when just after lunch I walked down the path from the condo, across the boardwalk spanning the dunes, and saw right there in front of me, right, a turtle.

It wasn’t a sea turtle.  The feet were clearly feet and not flippers.  And the shell had a high arch to it rather than the flattened shell of a sea turtle.  Don’t ask me for a scientific species identification.  I just know it was a turtle.  It wasn’t all curled up in its shell.  No, this dude was walking around.  Checking out the sights and looking for a little bit of grass to eat.  He took really little bites.   When he saw me he must have been curious: food or foe?  He came right at me, turning several times as I moved out of his way.  He must have gotten bored with that game as he soon went back to walking around  with an ocassional stop for a bite to eat.  He finally made his way to a hidden hole in the sand dune and disappeared into his home.  Enough sun and food for now.  I don’t know how long he was out there, or how much he ate, or how far he walked around, but what I saw him eat wouldn’t sustain a gnat.  But he looked like he’d been around for a while as he was rather large.  And I suspect “experienced.”

Big deal you say.  OK, it was a minor moment, but how often does a burb dad like me run into wild animals sharing the beach?  I guess in a way, he was allowing me to share his beach.  I’ve seen plenty of birds at the beach, and dolphins, and a shark or two, and fish in the water, and crabs scurrying around, and a skate once.  But never a turtle.  And I really like turtles.  Probably because we move at the same speed.  So, it was a big deal to me.  And part of my personal history.

What’s your story?  Have you seen a turtle?  Save your stories for the future.  www.personalhistorywriter.com

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