The Stage Door Canteen Was Born

flagI had been listening to tales of my fathers’ experiences in World War II for a long time. I could never really put them into the proper perspective for what does a child know of war? As I got older, I continued to ask for the same stories over and over until I knew every word my father would say before he said it.

As I moved through life, I found myself working at a local “pay to play” radio station. (“Pay to play” meaning that if you had the money to pay for the airtime, you could broadcast just about anything.)

At some point, I decided that I should pay homage by way of a radio show to some of the truly great Americans who contributed to the war effort in many different ways. It was at that moment that my program, the “Stage Door Canteen” was born.

I produced a promo ad which asked for volunteers who would be willing to be interviewed by me either in person or by phone. While I was waiting for volunteers to come by the droves, I decided to take the plunge and launch my first broadcast on Memorial Day, 2000 with my father who would re-tell his stories again as the first guest.

The program had gone just as I had hoped it would. I introduced my father, Carl Poticha and gave his rank, the dates of his service, the name of his outfit during the war and said that he had been captured by the Germans while fighting in France and became a prisoner of war. Questions were asked and answers were given and I believe that anyone listening would have had some idea of what it was like to have been a frightened, young man, fighting for his country far from home in a prison camp.

As a surprise for my father, I managed to find a copy of Kay Keyser’s “Don’t Fence Me In” which my dad sang to himself while he was looking out the gates of the prison camp. I used the music to break up the interview a bit and thus, my format was born!

In the next days and weeks many people contacted me so they could tell the stories of what part they played in World War II. My hope is that with this blog (which hopefully will turn into a book)
I can re-create the feelings I experienced while interviewing each of the veterans I came to know.

My father and many of the other veterans I knew are gone now but their stories will live on forever for me and hopefully for you too.

Advertisements

Bucket List

While I’m getting up the gumption to begin my WWII stories I thought I would do something totally narcissistic  and publish my bucket list. Well here goes:

  1. Go to Tibet and become enlightened
  2. See the Northern Lights
  3. Stay at an underwater hotel
  4. Have a drink at an ice bar
  5. Go back to Föhr
  6. Take a trip by dogsled
  7. See the Great Barrier Reef
  8. See a dog or a cat give birth (in person)
  9. Go to Israel (and not be hot)
  10. See the fjords of Norway
  11. Go to Mt. Rushmore and see it without a crowd of toursits
  12. Learn to speak Spanish
  13. Take a watercolor class
  14. Learn to draw
  15. Go on a Habitat for Humanity trip
  16. Write my World War II book
  17. Have my children’s book published
  18. Take a pottery class
  19. Write an iphone ap
  20. Take a covered wagon across a state
  21. Take a trip on horseback for a week
  22. Go back to Germany
  23. Go back to Paris
  24. See a tornado in person
  25. Stay in a cave
  26. Stay in an earth house
  27. Stay in a tree house
  28. Go to Great Bear Lake or Great Slave Lake on a week long fishing trip
  29. Own a Scottish Deer Hound or an Irish Wolf Hound
  30. Watch every Tom Hanks and Robert Duvall movie ever made
  31. Have the money and the time to do all of the above

Need encouraging

I started this blog in an attempt to inspire myself to write the World War II book that I’ve been telling myself I was going to write for the last ten years. Not only was my father a POW in Germany during WWII but I hosted a radio program wherein I interviewed WWII veterans and played appropriate 40s music to coincide with the stories. I interviewed my father several times along with General P. Tibbets who along with his navigator, Dutch VanKirk dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, three or four vets who were in the Normamdy invasion on D-day, one of the first women in the military and many others.

I think i am procrastinating because I figure no one will be interested so why go to all the trouble for nothing? I am slowly coming around to see that whether or not anyone else wants to see my book  or listen to these stories of the brave men and women who risked their lives for their country, their stories should be told.

So stay tuned for me to get up my nerve to WRITE SOMETHING!

Bad and Worse

ghostly-presenceDeath is all around. It lingers in the trees and lays in the grass.

This depression is sickening. I feel nausea as I look at the moon

surrounded by darkness.

The same feeling hangs over me as I see the brown, bug filled bark

on the trees; the intensified buzzing of the bees, the beating of

the butterflies wings.

The people walk in ghostly silence with their mouths open. They

say nothing. Lips move and worthless words crackle out and break

in the sunlight.

The dogs are howling and the birds are screeching. I imagine they

are content but today, they cannot communicate.

My body is apart from my brain. My thoughts are trying to break

through but my head is too far from my shoulders.

Lovers are full of doubt, friends are full of hate, hope is full of

suspicion, happiness is full of shadows.

Satisfaction

We took a walk today

Just my pony, my country and me.

My pony was bright and steppedHorse-Wallpapers-1024x576

very high. He sparkled under

the sun and ran like a king

whose throne was the sky.

The country was mine

and shouted to me.

The emerald trees smiled and

waved in the wind.

The hot breeze blew memories

back to me.

The water coming from my mountain

was clear–

like a crystal rose with glimmering petals.

Then there I was.

I sang to the stones.

I laughed with the clouds.

I thought to myself,

I thought…

I’m alive and my God,

this isn’t a dream.

A Good Night

It’s a good night.

A good night?

A good night for what?

The sky is black,

the trees are dying,

no one knows me,

no one cares to know,

the lights are going out,

I’ve run out of candles,

no one cares,

no one cares to give,

the oven’s cold,

the air is hot.

It’s a good night.

A good night for what?