Sunday, February 15, 2009

"I'm Calling a Meeting. Bring Your Gas Mask."

Greg Germani is an Atlantan with a deep love for his city and its history. He came across some of my Dad's old photos of Atlanta from the 1950's and 60's that I had posted to Flickr, and was kind enough to post them to his remarkable website, the Atlanta Time Machine. (My mother was born in Atlanta, and we visited there frequently from New York State when I was growing up.)

Some time after Greg incorporated those photos into his website, I received an e-mail from Carey Waldrip, who graduated in 1956 from the Atlanta High School that was named after my maternal grandfather, J. C. Murphy. He had some very nice things to say about my grandfather, and noted that "[his] father ... sold WW II War Bonds with [my] grandfather, JC Murphy, during the war. JC was a fine citizen and city Alderman and deserved the high school to be named in his honor."

Carey later sent me this electronic copy of a form letter that J. C. Murphy had sent out in his capacity as Director of the East Atlanta District of Civilian Defense to all Wardens in his district (please click on the image to see a legible version):

Homeland Security, indeed. The fears were real; the steps were earnest, even in a place that today we envision as having been far from danger in that particular war.

And I love the afterthought. About the only thing that any meetings I've attended in academia have in common with the one my granddaddy called is the desirability of having a gas mask thereat.


Adam said...

Pretty clear to me now, who I inherited my AWESOME grammar skills from.

It's official, my new favoritest team name is The Atlanta Crackers! Where, and how soon can I find a jersey?

Score one for Native Americans everywhere!

Dann said...

Without intending to cause more of a fuss than usual, I'd respectfully argue the our current cause for concern is every bit as real and serious as was the cause for concern back then. Of course it can be [successfully IMO] argued that the current "steps" taken to prepare the home front are somewhat less serious than those taken back then.


Mike said...

Right. Today it would be "I'm calling a meeting. Bring your waterboard." Those Nisei had it way too easy in the camps -- no wonder none of them ever admitted what they were up to!

And Adam, while you're waiting to find that jersey, do a search for "The Fighting Whites." Amaze your friends!

Sherwood Harrington said...

Dann, don't worry about causing any fuss. I don't think I implied that any current concern is less real or serious than the threat that my granddaddy's message was addressing.

Adam, WHO taught you to be such a cracker, anyway? Eh? Eh?

Mike, I absolutely, positively, *love* the "Fighting Whit(i)es" dude. I haven't looked exactly like that since, oh, 1980.

Dann said...

Hi Sherwood,

Well sometimes the reception on the current set of rabbit ears can get a little.....skewed.

Thanks for understanding. [grin]