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BORN IN 1939? WHAT ELSE HAPPENED?

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  79th BIRTHDAY

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1939hitlergreen.jpg

In 1939, Hitler was the man to watch.  He bullied Europe, he took over a few countries, and bamboozled the Brits. By the end of the year, most of Europe ganged up on him, and a phony war had millions of men idling in trenches eating their Christmas turkeys.  Back home in Oz, the drunkometer was breathless awaited, pigeon pies were on the nose, our military canteens were sometimes wet and sometimes dry.  Nasho for young men was back, Sinatra led his bobby-soxers, while girls of all ages swooned for crooner Bing. 



EXCERPT FROM THE INTRO TO 1939

For a young boy, as the War years went on, reality and fantasy went hand in hand. As I heard of our victories, I day-dreamed of being at the head of our Military forces, throwing grenades and leading bayonet charges. I sank dozens of battleships from my submarine that was always under attack. And I lost count of the squadrons of Messerschmitts that I sent spiralling from the sky. Needless to say, I was awarded a lot of medals and, as I got a bit older, earned the plaudits of quite a few pretty girls.

But, mixed in with all this romance were some more analytical thoughts. Every day, once the battles got going, I would go to the newspapers’ maps of where the battlelines currently were. One for the Western front, one in North Africa, and a third in Russia.  Later, another in the Pacific. Then I would examine them minutely to see just how far we had moved, backwards or forwards.  I read all the reports, true and false, and gloated when it was said we were winning, and shrunk away from our losses.

. . . . And finally, when war did come, and grind on, year after year, what effect did it have back here in Australia?  How did we as a society cope with a world that just had to continue on, given that the sons and dads of the nation were actually being killed daily overseas?  When the postman did his normal delivery and brought a letter saying your loved one is dead?  What did we do when old jobs suddenly disappeared, and new ones were created a hundred miles away? When goods, long readily available, were no longer for sale? When everything changed?

                 


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YOU WILL NOT BE EXAMINED ON ANY OF THIS

 ABOUT THIS SERIES   …  But after that, I realized that I really knew very little about these parents  of mine They had been born about the start of the Twentieth Century, and they died in 1970 and 1980. For their last 50 years, I was old enough to speak with a bit of sense.  I could have talked to them a lot about their lives. I could have found out about the times they lived in.  But I did not.  I know almost nothing about them really. Their courtship? Working in the pits? The Lock-out in the Depression? Losing their second child? Being dusted as a miner? The shootings at Rothbury? My uncles killed in the War? Love on the dole? There were hundreds, thousands of questions that I would now like to ask them.  But, alas, I can’t. It’s too late.

 

Thus, prompted by my guilt, I resolved to write these books. They describe happenings that affected people, real people.  The whole series is, to coin a modern phrase, designed to push the reader’s buttons, to make you remember and wonder at things  forgotten. The books might just let nostalgia see the light of day, so that oldies and youngies will talk about the past and re-discover a heritage otherwise forgotten. 

Hopefully, they will spark discussions between generations, and foster the asking and answering of questions that should not remain unanswered.