Tag Archives: Georgia

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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The Phantom Camaro

 

Early Spring here in Georgia feels much more like mid Summer with temperatures hovering near 80 degrees and the sun shining brightly. Such lovely weather has a way of making people feel like being outdoors to have some fun. Some folks like to walk, others ride bicycles. People put the top down on their convertibles. And me, I go for a ride on my scooter.

Riding always makes me feel free and alive, but this special day for some reason I felt powerful. I’ll admit, my scooter is no Harley Davidson. Not a Honda, Kawasaki, BMW, Triumph, Indian or any other big motorcycle. It’s a scooter. But bigger than those little bitty things you see zipping in and out of traffic in the French and Italian movie scenes.

Full throttle, on a flat stretch of road, I can hit 60 miles per hour. And at that speed this day I felt good. I waved at other riders, always glad to see fellow two wheel enthusiast out enjoying a ride.

I try to keep my eyes on the road ahead, but I do take time to look in the rear view mirrors as well. And that’s where I saw it. It was bright red and it was trying to catch me. Wide and low I could hear it’s engine roaring. You know, the sound that a five million cubic inch engine will make. And it was decked out with air scoops, and air dams, and bright lights. In my rearview mirror it looked like a sinuous wisp of red smoke charging toward me.

But I soon realized that it wasn’t blasting past me at a thousand miles and hour. It wasn’t even getting any closer to me. A red sports car that you can’t drive fast because the police are always looking for any excuse to pull over a red sports car that might drive fast. I was racing a Camaro, and winning!

Shortly thereafter I noticed that the Camaro was slowly inching it’s way toward me. He must had had his pedal to the metal. HaHa! And then, as we rolled along up a slight hill, he cruised very slowly past me. Checking me out. What beast was this that could keep up with his Camaro!

And as he rolled past me and I looked over, fully expecting to see Steve McQueen driving, I took a good look. Funny looking Camaro I thought. Because it turns out it wasn’t a Camaro. Chevrolet yes, Camaro no. It was a Chevrolet Spark! This thing was shorter than my scooter! I was greatly humbled. But went on to enjoy the rest of my ride.

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

www.personalhistorywriter.com

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Unexpected History Lesson

The back roads on a Sunday afternoon might offer a better chance of an antique store than the four lane.  That was my thinking anyway.  So we set out on what became a real journey through time.

On Friday we’d driven the highways down to Statesboro.  My daughter goes to school there and we were off to visit for the weekend.  Family weekend, all of us together.  Not much to see on this route.  Fields, forests, truck stops.  The road takes you around all of the towns, or what’s left of them. 

The weekend was great, visiting, with each other, and visiting the town.  But then it was time to go home.  Rather than return the same way, I thought we’d try another route.  Back roads.  Small towns.

We found small towns.  A cluster of houses centered on, well, I don’t know what.  Each other I guess.  With folks sitting on the porch just waving at the car as we passed by.  And some of the back roads turned into dirt roads.  This far south it’s not really dirt, but more of a sandy mixture.  The car’s tires turned white after rolling though it.

Along the way the conversation turned to the old relatives and we decided that my wife had family buried in a church cemetery somewhere near where we were.  The hunt was on for Mount Moriah.

The GPS we were using had a dirt road as a major landmark.  We got lost.  A young man standing in his front yard seemed likely to know where we were headed.  We pulled into the driveway to ask.  No he didn’t know, but if we rode down the road a bit, way out in the country he said, the lady at the store would know.  I could only wonder where he thought he was living if down the road, away from his home in what seemed to me like the middle of nowhere, was the country.  Off the dirt road?  After asking two more local people where the place was, with none of them knowing, we tried another dirt road.  Never did see the store with the knowing lady.

We did find another store.   The one that my mother in law remembered.  An old wooden structure, long since abandoned and now dilapidated, that had been her grandfather’s place of business.  It was he and his wife who were buried at the church, not more than a quarter mile distant.

We pulled into the church cemetery and started wandering and looking.  There they were.  Two tombstones, grandmother and grandfather.  My daughter’s great-greats.  Another car pulled up to the church and after a few minutes a woman came out of the church and across the street to ask us if we were looking for something in particular.

My mother in law explained what we were doing and the woman’s eyes lit up and she said “let me go get Joe, you’re kin to him!”  Joe turned out to be my mother in law’s cousin’s nephew.  We were family and just like that, we were taken in and treated like we’d known each other all our lives.

Rachel, Joe’s wife, was so nice to us.  She wanted to show us all around the church and show us pictures of all the old relatives.  The family was big in the church.  There was a stained glass window dedicated to my wife’s great grandparents.  There was a spot on the wall in the sanctuary where someone had unloaded a double barrel full of birdshot in the middle of the night.  We heard the story of how the church was built in 1867, and remodeled in 2009.  We saw the old outdoor baptismal font, across the street and in the woods.  She told us the story of how the road had been moved to get it away from the church’s front door. And how the last thing her father in law had made sure of was that the road in front of the church got paved.

There was a map of the cemetery plots.  And we heard about how this aunt and that cousin were buried down the road in another church cemetery.

I’m sure they would have invited us to stay for dinner, or even to spend the night, but they were starting their youth group bible class and we were now of a need to hit the road. Heading toward the car we all hugged each other, even us in-laws.  And of course they told us to come back, and we told them to come visit.  A southern nicety.

I’d hoped for an antique shop.  An old cemetery is always an interesting adventure.  But meeting these people, relatives, and experiencing their hospitality, that was all way beyond expectation.  And the best part of the day.

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

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Snowy Roads

Travelling on deserted roads was blissful.  No honking.  No worrying about what the other drivers were going to do next.  There wasn’t a Sunday driver in sight.  And no crazy speed demons.   In fact, on my ten-mile trek I doubt if I saw more than three other cars. 

Normally the route I take to work, back and forth, would be jammed with cars.  Frustrating and nerve wracking.  But for three days, almost everyone was off the roads, holed up at home.  This was the great blizzard and ice storm.

Keep in mind that I live in Georgia so what we call a great blizzard probably amounted to three or four inches of snow.  I grew up in Pennsylvania so driving in that was no problem for me.  What made it bad was the ice.  Under the snow, and later on top of it as it began to fall as sleet, was a half-inch of ice. 

Unless you drive a vehicle with tank treads, or snow chains, there is no way to drive on ice without some slipping and sliding.  And yes, as always in this kind of weather, I saw cars on the side of the road or in the ditch beside it. 

A couple of weeks ago Atlanta was in the news as a laughing stock.  Total gridlock, chaos and massive misery caused by a little ice and snow.  No one bothered to prep the roads, or send people home knowing that driving would be terrible.  How big a mess it turned out to be was all over the news.  People stuck in their cars for days, sleeping the aisles of the grocery stores.

So, with a second chance to get it right, everyone closed and went home before the snow or ice even started coming down.  A good thing. 

People like me had to go to work, driving in the snow, regardless of the weather.  I’m in healthcare.  When I’m not blogging or antiquing that is.  We go to work to care for patients.

It wasn’t a big storm compared to what others have, but for us, here in Georgia, it was a storm for the ages.  I enjoyed driving on the empty roads.  But I can tell that everyone is emerging from hibernation because the cars are back on the roads en masse.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.  Yeah, yeah, quit your honking, I’m moving.

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

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Sudden Shaking

Daddy, my furniture is shaking were the words I awoke to. Half asleep, all I could say was “what?” She repeated herself and the words sunk in. I still didn’t understand what she meant though.

She wouldn’t go back in her room. Definitely afraid of something. She was standing in my doorway, staring down the hallway toward her room.  I asked if it were a ghost. No. Not that. Was it a burglar? Could be. She’d heard a noise from the garage directly below her room.  Daddy earns his pay.

I went into her room. Giving her dresser a shove I decided it was too heavy to shake. But it had she said again. She’d heard the things on top of it rattling.

The dog wasn’t barking. There was no noise from downstairs. Not a burglar. Maybe she’d been dreaming. Then we heard it. A news flash on the Internet. We had just been through an earthquake. In Georgia?

Not big. 4.1 on the Richter scale. Not deep. Just some rumbling felt for long distances. Atlanta sits on a major quake fault. Inactive for 200 million years, but there. And the New Madrid fault, which is active, isn’t far away. So we get these rumbles once in a while. Always surprising.

Our snowstorms aren’t like Boston blizzards. California quakes beat ours by a mile. But what we have, what we call snowstorms and earthquakes are real to us. And the furniture did shake. That’s part of my story. What’s yours? Www.personalhistorywriter.com

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Holiday Fun!

It’s coming!  Soon.  Just around the corner in fact.  The great HodgePodge Antiques mall Christmas open house on November 16th.  Visit my store, Living History Antiques, and all the other s in the mall to find fantastic treasures, bargains and Christmas gifts.  Several other malls in Monroe, Georgia are also participating so come on out.  You’ll also be treated to an ugly sweater contest, and heaven help us, karaoke sung by antique dealers!  Check out their Facebook page for more info.  And check out my store! https://www.facebook.com/HodgePodgeAntiques

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

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Into the Library

My dad loves books.  Everywhere he goes he looks at books.  For what seems like hours.  Go to an antique shop and he’s straight into the book section.  He has a huge collection.  Some of it is housed at my house.  I think he’s in competition with the Library of Congress.

When I was a kid he always liked to take my sister and me to the library on Saturday morning.  I liked going to the library, but not for the books.  There were lots of places to wander around.  In between the stacks.  Around the reading tables and into the seating areas with the winged back chairs.  I could look in the card catalog.  Just browsing.  And I could pull out a book here and there.

A lot of the books seemed dusty and musty.  Some had good pictures.  Some, exciting stories.  Others were as dry as the dust collecting on them.  It seemed to me that books should be written for people to enjoy.  Reference, text, science, even math.  Doesn’t matter.  There has to be a way to make them relevant, meaningful and enjoyable.

That’s what I try to do with my writing.  Make it enjoyable and informative.  Some people seem to like it.  But I never really thought about my book being included with those found in a library.  But damn if it didn’t happen!  It’s awesome.  Very exciting.  But then again, it is my book.

I found out the other day, just by chance, that my book, Southern Sailor, is now safely housed in a University special collections library.  It’s also in their on-line database.  Whoa!

The University of Georgia has a serious library system.  There are no less than three buildings on campus dedicated as libraries.  My book lives in the Hargrett Rare Books and Manuscript Library.  It’s even in a special room.  The Georgia Room.  It’s part of a special collection of books about Georgia and Georgians.  Never in my wildest dreams…

That will teach me.  Go ahead, dream big!

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

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