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|THUNDER ON THE RIGHT - November 2011|
|Written by Paul Jackson|
THUNDER ON THE RIGHT
By Paul Jackson
Comrades-in-Arms, as Veterans’ Day approaches - Remembrance Day for Canadians - I remind myself that paradoxically I actually have that loathsome Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler and his German Luftwaffe to thank for being in this world.
What’s Jackson up to now, my hordes of harsh critics will be murmuring under their breaths.
Sit back, here’s the story:
Back during the Second World War my home seaport town of Kingston-upon-Hull in Britain was the most bombed city in the entire country. It was hit worse than London during the Blitz, and worse than Coventry. At the start of the war it had 105,000 houses, shops and offices. Come the end of the war 95,000 had either been destroyed or damaged. It really had been hell on Earth.
Anyway, in June, 1943, when my father was assigned to defusing unexploded bombs and my mother was also in uniform, one of the frequent and ferocious air raids came over. The pair ran to a nearby and deserted air raid shelter. And fearing it was their last night alive, did what Irving Berlin said comes naturally. That’s even though my father was married to someone else.
And in the midst of that firestorm, I was conceived. All accidentally, as you can bet I surely wasn’t wanted. A big inconvenience.
By the time I actually popped out in February, 1944, to take a look at things, there was still the occasional air raid, but mainly all there was to see was rubble.
Growing up as a youngster I recall three aspects of life back then:
First, I initially had to sleep in an abandoned air raid shelter, since there was a chronic shortage of housing.
Next was that bombed out houses were our playgrounds. We played Tarzan in them, and when the city council started to tear them down and build new homes we kids were very upset. Our jungles had gone. As an aside, Britain was so devastated it took more than 20 years for the country to rebuild and end its housing shortage.
Then, I recall rationing and ration books.
Americans will be surprised by this, but rationing in Britain actually lasted until 1951 - all essential materials and resources went to rebuilding bombed out homes, stores and factories - even bread was rationed, which it had never been during the war itself. All we kids got as we clipped our ration books were two ounces of candy a week, and rarely a soft drink. I recall neighbors knocking on our door to borrow a half-cup of sugar until the next week. Yet, because of this rationing I never developed a taste for candy or sugar, meaning even at my age I still have a full set of perfect teeth.
So, gee, not only do I have to thank that third-rate Bohemian corporal from Linz, Austria, for being in this world, but also for having a fine set of molars.
And, since I am one-quarter Jewish, the rabid maniac must really be clenching his teeth in his grave.
Beat you all the way, Herr Schicklgruber.