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Posts Tagged ‘History’

We’re not talking about Pillsbury.

Doughboy was a terms used to describe members of the U.S. Army or Marine Corps, most often use for members of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. While origins of the term are unclear it was initially sued in the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. There are other uses throughout history.

While World War I began in 1914, the United States didn’t enter the conflict until 1917, in part due to the American sentiment that we didn’t go fight wars for other people.

Because of the later entrance into the war, one of the jokes surrounding the term was that the doughboys were “kneaded” in 1914, but didn’t “rise” until 1917.

But for the script I’m working on, it’s a term of endearment used for my grandfather and his buddies. These doughboys came from the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountain and traveled to a far land to fight for their country. Many didn’t return.

All who did return were changed.

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My script, Clean Dry Socks: Diary of a Doughboy, continues to be a work in progress. As I’ve mentioned, it’s in the editing stages now.

But to get to his point I found that I had to read and research much more than what my grandfather had written in his diary, and what my aunt had provided in commentary.

So, for weeks, perhaps months, I read more about World War I. I searched the Internet. I listened to podcasts.

And then it really hit me that I didn’t need to “study war no more…”

The story I’m telling is that of one American soldier, not the entire U.S. military or England and France.

I’m telling one story, and the tendency is to want to put in all of the details, all of the history.

But, then I wonder how much an audience really needs to be told about the horrors of war. That’s almost a given. Almost.

What’s not a given is how that war affected the average soldier far away from home.

That’s the story I’m telling.

This blog is the story of that story. There’s work to be done.

After all, it’s a long way to Tipperary.

 

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My script, Clean Dry Socks:  Diary of a Doughboy, had its first public reading last night before the Richmond Playwrights’ Forum.

I am grateful for the opportunity to present my work, and am particularly grateful for the six actors who took an evening of their time and shared their talents.  I also appreciate the words of encouragement and instruction from the members of the Forum.

This has been a long time coming, and I’m excited about the prospects for the future.

As for last night’s experience, well, it was actually pretty good.

I mean, no one stepped up and said here’s a million dollars, let’s put this on the stage.  But the comments were supportive, and encouraging and gave me some new direction as well as solutions to some of the problems.

It remains a work in progress, and I have work to do.

But today, I’m a little farther down the road, a little closer to the stage.

And, that’s a good thing.

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worldwar1a

It’s been over eight months since last I posted here. I had high hopes and fancy plans to keep this going, along with my regular home on the web at The Write Side of My Brain. But schedules change, and plans change.

So, today I’m back and we’re taking this blog in a different direction. I’ll still talk occasionally about meetings and events, but for now, we’re looking at history, specifically World War I history.

I plan to be here every Tuesday to talk to you about the development of, and the promtion of my stage play.

See, I’ve written a script entitled: Clean Dry Socks: Diary of a Doughboy.

It’s a stage play based on the diary of my grandfather from World War I. The first public reading is this coming Monday with the Richmond Playwright’s Forum.

Here’s how the script came to be.

I’ve had a copy of the diary for years. The version I have was transcribed by my aunt, who also provided commentary and history. The original diary is now at the Library of Congress as part of the Veteran’s History Project.

In addition to writing, I also spend some time on the stage. About two years ago, I was again participating in A Night at the Quartermaster Museum, at Fort Lee, Virginia. I’ve done this annually for the last four years and will be there again in November.

Two years ago I portrayed a World War I era doctor. The nurse and I talked to the students about the hazards of trench foot and prevention methods which include…you guess it…Clean Dry Socks. I remembered my grandfather’s diary at that point.

But things started to gel the next day when I attended the first performance in the newly restored Beacon Theatre at City Point in Hopewell, Virginia. The program was a series of letters written during the Civil War era.

I was inspired to go home and pull out my grandfather’s diary where I learned, or remembered, that he had trained at what was then Camp Lee, then marched to City Point in Hopewell where he and the 80t Blue Ridge Division departed for France.

It was then that I knew that I had to take this story to the stage.

So, the script has been written, and re-written, and will soon be read in public for the first time.

Is it ready? The reading will tell.

But it’s closer, and it’s on its way the stage.

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how the reading goes.

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drking

The third Monday of the month is set aside as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to honor the civil rights leader born on January 15, 1929 who was assasinated on April 4, 1968.

Dr. King’s legacy lives on and is a testament to the fact that, while we may not always like our history, we should always remember it.

Here are five American History blogs to peruse:

Civil Rights Law & Policy Blog
Up-to-date news on Civil Rights issues from Editor Andrew M. Ironside. A member of the Law Professor Blogs Network.

Discourse.net
Michael Froomkin Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law writes about contemporary civil rights issues.

Old Virginia Blog
Richard G. Williams, Jr. is an award winning Southern writer, autodidact, tour guide, relic hunter, preservationist, researcher, and raconteur who specializes in Virginia history and the War Between the States.

History and Women
Mirella Sichirollo Patzer offers a compendium of Women’s History and Biographies.

Religion in American History
An expansive and engaging group blog looking at religion in American history and culture.

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leejackson3

Since 1889 Virginia has celebrated the birthday of Robert E. Lee. In 1904 Stonewall Jackson’s name was added. Both men had birthdays in January. The day was celebrated on the third Monday of the month.

But in 1983 the third Monday of January became the federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For a time Virginia celebrated the day as Lee-Jackson-King Day.

In 2000 that was changed and now Virginia Celebrates Lee-Jackson Day on the Friday before Martin Luther King. Jr. Day.

Not all localities celebrate Lee-Jackson Day, but state offices are close on both Friday and Monday of that weekend.

Robert E. Lee (January 19, 1807 – october 12, 1870) was the commanding general of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia until such time as he surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia in 1865. Following the war, Lee served as President of what is now Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson (January 21, 1824 – May 10, 1863) was perhaps the best known Confederate general after Robert E. Lee. Jackson was accidentally shot by Confederate troops at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. He lost an arm to amputation and died eight days later from complications of pneumonia.

Both Lee and Jackson are honored with statues along Richmond’s famed Monument Avenue.

History isn’t always pretty, but it’s always worth remembering.

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oklahoma-postcard

On this day in 1907, Oklahoma became the 46th state.

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