WHEN THE FIRST QUAIL CALLS
THE TIME RETURNS, BOOK 1
A story of forbidden love, family secrets,
When Natalie Winslow discovers an old journal in a forgotten trunk, she unearths a secret that’s been hidden for more than a century. A secret which will shake the foundation of her entire family, and which has far more personal implications than she could ever imagine.
It’s 1967 and the world is changing, but in a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, things move at a different pace. Can Natalie find a way to bring reconciliation and healing to a place that still clings to the traditions of its deeply entrenched Southern roots?
Leviticus 19 includes other laws, such as the verse preceding it, which states: “You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard.” Why do we never hear anyone calling it a sin for a Christian man to trim his beard?
It’s important to understand that these laws were given for a purpose, so that the Hebrews would stand out as different from the cultures around them, as God’s chosen people. Through them, God would reveal Himself to the whole world. Under the law, forgiveness of sins could only be achieved through the shedding of blood in animal sacrifice. When Jesus died on the cross, He fulfilled the Law and was the sacrificial lamb for all of humanity who choose to believe in Him. (John 3:16).
After Jesus’s death, resurrection, and ascension, his disciples shared this message to the Jews and to the people groups throughout the known world. Even among his disciples, however, there was some confusion about what parts of the Law carried over. Acts 15 tells us that “Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: ‘Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.’” (If you don’t know what circumcision is, I’ll let you look it up for yourself.)
An assembly of elders and apostles considered the question and the Apostle Peter told them, “God did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are… It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.”
The Apostle Paul taught in Romans 3:28 – 30, “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.”
If we put our faith in the work of Jesus Christ, we are not under the Law, but under Grace. John 8:36 says “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” To clarify, we are free from the consequences of sin (eternity in Hell) through our faith in Jesus Christ, as well as from the requirements of the Law.
Paul addressed this concept in I Corinthians 10:23. “’I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but not everything is constructive.” If something falls outside of direct teaching in the Bible, which is the final authority on morality, then we must personally evaluate if what we wish to do is beneficial and constructive. (See also Romans 14.) If you claim to be a follower of Christ, give thoughtful consideration before you tattoo your body, but don’t fall into the trap of legalism.
2 Corinthians 3 and Matthew 5 both address the issue of obeying the letter of the law without obeying the spirit of it. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” And in Galatians 5, Paul writes, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” But he issues a word of warning: “Only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
Another common arguments Christians have against tattoos is that as followers of Christ, we should look different than the world. Romans 12: 2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The pattern of the world refers to pagan practices and mindsets, embracing things in the culture that are counter to the teachings of Christ. When it comes to outward appearance, the only people I know who look different from the world are Mennonites and Amish. During biblical times, tattoos were a way of identifying with false gods such as Molech, Asherah, or Baal. In current society, tattoos are body art, plain and simple. We can have something tattooed on us that means something evil, means nothing at all, or that means something profound.
So, yeah, I told you I had carefully thought it through and searched the Word of God! And for the record, I also think it’s lovely artwork and it brings me joy, both in its symbolism and as a thing of beauty.
Do I plan on getting another tattoo in the future?
Well, yes. Yes, I do.
(Also see: Romans 14, Matthew 15:11, I Samuel 16:7)
For folks local to the Eastern Shore, you might be familiar with the old Wye Oak Tree and its history. If not, let me educate you.
I love to bring attention to local historical sites in my novels, and in book 3 of the Ridgely Rails Legacy, there is a brief scene where Gloria takes her camera to photograph the Wye Oak in 1947. From 1941 until it's demise in 2002, the Wye Oak was the largest white oak in the United States. In 1939, the Maryland General Assembly purchased the tree and established the Wye Oak State Park.
The Wye Oak was believed to be over 460 years old at the time of its destruction during a severe thunderstorm on June 6, 2002. It measured 31 feet 10 inches (970 cm) in circumference of the trunk at breast height, 96 feet (29 m) high, with a crown spread of 119 feet (36 m). It is believed that the acorn that became the oak germinated around the year 1540. The Wye Oak was still bearing a maturing crop of acorns when it was toppled.
Dr. Frank Gouin, Professor Emeritus of Horticulture at the University of Maryland, Colleg Park, impressed both by the age and size of the tree, as well as its unusual resistance to oak wilt fungus and the gypsy moth, led a successful effort to clone the Wye Oak. The first two cloned saplings were planted at Mount Vernon on April 26, 2002. Another clone was planted in the remains of the trunk of the original tree during a June 6, 2006, ceremony; a marker commemorates the event.
Upon its falling, immediate efforts were made to salvage and preserve the tree's remains. Pieces of the tree that had fallen in previous years had been used to sculpt works such as the statue of two children planting a tree located in the Tawes State Office Building in Annapolis. A very large section of the lost tree became a new desk for the Maryland governor's office. Wood distributed to artists and crafts persons was used to create carvings, sculptures, oil paintings, a 3-dimensional collage, furnishings, and serving pieces; a gallery of the creations was made available online by the Department of Natural Resources.
You can take a look at the clone of the Wye Oak and visit the Old Wye Mill, a preserved gristmill in Wye Mills, Maryland, that is the oldest continuously operated water powered grist mill in the United States. Founded in 1682, the has a long and fascinating history and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During the Revolutionary War, the Mill was called upon to provide flour for George Washington's troops.
The second largest industrial venture in Ridgely was the 1939 opening of the Breyers Ice Cream Plant on upper section of Belle Street. This plant was used by the company to process local milk for use by the company's ice cream plants located elsewhere. This plant was designed to convert 90,000 to 100,000 gallons of milk per day. The plant remained in operation until 1961, when the Breyers Company stopped processing its own milk and began to purchase it from suppliers.
Local farmers delivered milk daily to the condensing plant. They were paid according to the butterfat content of their milk, which was tested twice a month. The company paid a set price for each hundred pounds of four percent milk, with an additional five cents added for every tenth above that amount. For every tenth below four percent, payment dropped five cents. Since different breeds of dairy cows produce different quantities and qualities, most Ridgely farmers had mixed herds of Holsteins, Jerseys, and Guernseys.
The milk received at Breyers was cooled and piped into thirty thousand gallon stainless steel tanks. The plant had a huge stainless steel vacuum cylinder, called a pan. With the help of steam and vacuum, the milk was condensed to a twelve percent cream, then piped into a cold wall tank for holding. The cream was then siphoned into one hundred pound milk cans and then conveyed on rollers to the box cars, well iced down. The north bound train would carry the loaded box car to the home plant in Philadelphia, PA. There, flavoring was added, the cream was frozen and packaged, and was ready to be enjoyed!
According to Tommy Rampmeyer, who worked at the plant, every two weeks the home plant sent a box of miscut slices to the Ridgely facility as a treat. He says that many employee's had to skip dinner on those days after having enjoyed a little much... Can't blame them there!
He says: "It was in 1945 when I was hired to work at Breyer's. There was a shortage of men because of World War 2. At that time Herbert Koeneman was the plant manager, and I was the first school boy hired at summer vacation time. When school started in September, I worked weekends and some nights during the week. My only job was to unload the tank trucks of milk. The next summer, Breyers hired more school boys, like my classmate Eddie Gallagher, then Clinton Guthrie, Bill Sculley, and Dave Walls.
The starting pay was 27 cents an hour, which was far better than any other Ridgely businesses were paying during the war years. The company furnished white uniforms and caps, but we had to buy the rubber, steel-toed shoes. Each employee was allowed to take home two quarts of milk per working day.
After graduating from Ridgely High School, I continued to work at the milk plant until they closed the doors in 1962. This was a sad day for all the remaining workers, a loss to the farmers, and to the whole town of Ridgely."
Change and the current size and condition of Ridgely came with the general shift from railroad transportation to highways and trucks in the 1950s. As business and industry began to concentrate in larger urban areas, the factories and processing plants in Ridgely could no longer compete with larger and more modern facilities operated by regional and national corporations.
Today, Ridgely residents can enjoy farm-fresh ice cream at the Ridgely Pharmacy, Cafe, and Gift Shop on Belle Street. They serve many delicous flavors of Vanderwende's ice cream, handcrafted in Bridgeville, Delaware.
THE RIDGELY RAILS LEGACY SERIES follows three generations of women living in a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Beginning with the late 1800s and the turn of the century, then through World War 1 and World War 11, walk through history with Ella Mae, Sophie, and Gloria as they search to find their own identities and struggle to redefine the roles of women in society.
Ella Mae longs to be a writer when only men are given that privilege. Her daughter, Sophie, joins Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party to fight for Women's Votes. And Gloria, Ella Mae's granddaughter, tosses convention out the window as she determines who she wants to be as a woman while the United States fights to defeat Hitler. Join these women as they face the conflicts of their generation, struggling to hold on to their faith and the men they love.
As women share their stories with me, I realize we have a serious problem. Many women in the church are suffering alone because they either do not realize that what they’re experiencing in their marriage is emotional abuse or because, for a number of reasons, they feel trapped.
If a husband was hitting his wife, she would know she was being abused and if she went to the pastor, he wouldn’t dispute it. Especially if she had bruises to show him. But what happens when those bruises are on the inside, where no one can see? Even the battered wife questions if its real when there are no visible marks. Certainly no one else would believe her. And as we all know, God hates divorce.
This leaves emotionally abused women feeling abandoned and alone, trapped and unloved, sitting in the pews of our churches every single Sunday. And I can’t help but feel like we’ve failed them.
For the record, men can be verbally or emotionally abused by their wives as well, and although this article is written with the assumption that the abuser is the husband, the truths addressed in it apply equally to either spouse.
To learn more about what constitutes emotional abuse, please follow these links:
There are several reasons for the church’s failure. First, most churches are very good at emphasizing that divorce is taboo. The very idea of getting a divorce is shameful to a Christian woman who earnestly seeks to please God. She believes that if she were to separate from her husband, she would be committing a grave sin regardless of what the details may be.
What many pastors don’t realize when they are preaching on marriage and divorce is that the counsel they’re giving is within the context of a healthy marriage. The advice given to a woman in an abusive relationship is going to be different than that within a typically dysfunctional one. As no marriage is perfect, there are always ups and downs and rocky seasons. There are two selfish, imperfect people struggling to learn how to live as one flesh. But in an abusive relationship, the dynamic is one of control versus submission. And that changes everything.
We all operate from within the sphere of our experience, and so most of these pastors are sharing based on their own knowledge of marriage with their spouse. They do not mean to inadvertently perpetuate abuse. Pastors and pastors’ wives are given the responsibility of counseling, but often without having been adequately trained. There is a level of discernment required to recognize if a marital conflict might be the result of ongoing verbal or emotional abuse—and these need to be understood and treated as abuse!
Scriptures, when taken out of context by either the abuser or the codependent spouse, can validate an unhealthy balance of power within the marriage. Verses can be misunderstood to teach that the individuals within the relationship are not as important as the relationship itself. It doesn’t matter how bad it is, stick it out! Suck it up! God hates divorce. And the abused party is left wondering, does God love me?
One of the problems with abuse is that it requires two parties: an abuser and a victim. While it is easy to focus on the faults of the abuser since they are more obvious, there’s another problem at play. A woman who marries a verbally, emotionally, or physically abusive man ended up at the altar because she didn’t recognize the signs of a controller before she said, “I do.” She already had a weak sense of self, poor boundaries, and a belief that she didn’t deserve to be treated better. Unintentionally, Christian teaching can reinforce these destructive patterns.
Please do not misunderstand me: God created marriage to be a sacred union, not to be entered into lightly nor abandoned easily. But let’s pause and make sure we understand why God chose to establish marriage as such an important institution. It is meant to be an illustration of the love and commitment Christ has for the Church. In that context, is God honored by an abusive marriage? What example is being set both within and without the church by a marriage where the one who should be cherished and protected is instead beaten down with harsh words and unrealistic and often changing expectations?
When we talk about God’s design for marriage, we usually look at Ephesians 5.
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
What we see here is a dynamic where the wife is cherished and nurtured by her husband, who makes himself a servant leader for his family even as Jesus did for the church. She respects his humility and sacrifice and is eager to honor him, knowing that he will always act and speak with her best interest at heart.
This is not the case in an abusive relationship. Abuse is ultimately a form of control. Barbara Roberts, author of the book Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion, defines domestic abuse as “a pattern of conduct by one spouse which is designed to obtain and maintain power and control over the other spouse. It always includes emotional and verbal abuse and may also include financial abuse, social abuse (restricting the victim’s contact with family and friends), sexual abuse, physical violence, and spiritual abuse such as twisting scriptures to justify the abuse.”
Let’s review the biblical expectations of the husband.
Husbands are commanded, “Love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:19). They are told to “love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (Ephesians 5:28–29). The focus of a husband’s Christlikeness in loving his wife is “love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
Christian husbands are not Christ. They are finite, fallible, forgiven sinners. They do not stand in the place of Christ. Their wives relate directly to Christ (Hebrews 4:16; 11:6), not merely through their husbands. Husbands do not have the wisdom or the power or the rights of Christ. Their likeness to Christ in leading their wives is limited and focused by these words: He gave himself up for her . . . nourishing and cherishing . . . not harsh with them.
Therefore, an abusive husband is breaking God’s law. He is disobeying Christ. He is not to be indulged but disciplined by the church.
It’s important to emphasize that everyone has good days and bad days. Abuse is a pattern of behavior demonstrated over a long period of time, and one which the perpetrator refuses to change despite having been asked to do so.
One of the most historically misused verses to support male domination is “wives submit to your husband in everything.” (Eph. 5:24). Let’s look at what Focus on the Family says about this. (https://www.focusonthefamily.com/family-q-and-a/relationships-and-marriage/submission-of-wives-to-husbands)
“The Bible makes it clear that a man should bear the responsibility for leadership in the home. But it is only as a leader that his wife submits to him (Ephesians 5:22) - not as a tyrant or superior being. By his leadership she is not disenfranchised or robbed of her personhood, nor is he given the right to run roughshod over her opinions and feelings. Rather, he is to love and cherish her - to die for her if necessary - even as Christ loved the church. He is to include her in the making of important decisions, weighing and considering her perspectives carefully and respectfully. In the end, the prerogative - and responsibility - of choosing and directing is allotted to him. But this does not give him license to disregard the needs and feelings of his partner - in other words, he is not to use it as a "trump card" to get his way. Rather, it places him under a heavy charge to become even more sensitive and more considerate, since he must ultimately answer to God for his choices and for the way in which he treats his wife. In this connection, it's worth adding that grave errors have been made through the misapplication of the man's "headship" in the home. If a wife believes that her husband is misusing this role, we'd advise her to speak with him about her concerns. If he is unwilling to listen, it would be very appropriate for her to bring the matter before a trusted mutual friend or a spiritual leader.”
Women are not being reduced to property, forced to surrender their individuality and personhood to their husbands. This is not God’s design. The husband is meant to represent Christ in the marriage, and abuse is absolutely counter to God’s nature. Men are being called to sacrificially love their wives, to protect and nurture them. Unfortunately, whoever has the power to protect also has the power to abuse.
Barbara Roberts states: “I believe the Bible allows divorce for domestic abuse, and the key text for this is 1 Corinthians 7:15 – ‘But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. For God has called us to peace.’ This verse has been generally assumed to relate to desertion: when an unbelieving spouse walks out, abandoning a marriage with a Christian spouse, but not legally divorcing them. However, in the Greek text the word “depart” (chorizo) means “to place space between, to separate” and it was one of the standard terms for legal divorce in the first century. Typically, perpetrators of abuse do not walk out of their marriages – they want to stay in the relationship because they enjoy the power, privilege and control they obtain therein. So the victim of abuse thinks this verse does not apply to her. However, when correctly understood, it is the verse which gives her freedom.”
“1 Corinthians 7:15 only applies to marriages where the opposite spouse is a nonbeliever. An abuser who professes to be a Christian typically resists the call to repentance, either by overtly fighting against having to take responsibility for his abusive behavior, or by counterfeiting repentance to get the admonishers off his back and make them think he is really changing. With counterfeit repentance, the change is only superficial: the abuser has not relinquished his belief that he is entitled to exert power and control over those he chooses to oppress. No-one could be a true Christian and engage in months/years/decades of coercive control and cruelty towards their spouse. Such conduct is anathema to Christ.
In Matthew 19:8 Jesus tells us, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended.”
If someone were a true Christian they would have a tender heart not a stony heart; they would be indwelt by the Holy Spirit and the Spirit would long since have effectively pricked their conscience about such wicked behavior so they would have willingly repented and ceased to behave so wickedly. They might slip into the flesh at times, like we all do; but when they did, they would not fight against admonishment. And they would not the shift the blame to another person, especially not to the person they had hurt!”
The perpetration of domestic abuse effectively pushes away the other spouse and divides the marriage. The fact that many victims eventually leave abusive relationships testifies to this pushing away. Perpetrators usually protest that they want the marriage to continue, but their evil conduct conveys the exact opposite – it effectually pushes the opposite spouse away.
When applying 1 Corinthians 7:15, the key question is not “Who walked out?” but “Who caused the separation?”
Another common misconception perpetuated either directly or indirectly within the church is that the abused wife is called to suffer. Let’s take a closer look at the teaching of suffering in I Peter 2.
Peter explains when we should endure abusive treatment. He writes, “For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.”
The good Peter is talking about here is a moral good, a doing-the-right-thing kind of good. Although in this passage Peter specifically advises us to submit to authority, Peter himself was flogged after he refused to stop preaching about Christ even though he’d been ordered by those in authority to stop. Peter refused to submit because in doing so, he would have to stop doing good (Acts 4:19; 5:17-42).
In the same way when a wife refuses to submit to her husband’s sinful behavior, or stands up for her children who are being mistreated, or refuses to sign a dishonest income tax report, or calls 911 when her husband is threatening to harm her or himself, she is doing good even if it doesn’t feel good to her spouse. Her behavior honors God, protects her children and does what is in the best interest of her spouse. (It is never in someone’s best interests to enable sin to flourish.).
A wife who does good in these ways will suffer because her husband will not view her actions as good. Instead he will get angry, defensive, and likely retaliate against her for what she’s done. That’s exactly the kind of suffering Peter is talking about. He’s speaking about suffering for doing good instead of being passive or fearful or doing the wrong thing or nothing at all. Peter is saying that when we do what is right and we get mistreated for it, God sees it and commends us.
Lastly, Peter reminds wives that their unbelieving husbands who refuse to obey God’s word can be won by their respectful and pure conduct. But we must keep in mind that a godly wife’s godly actions may include implementing tough consequences for repetitive and unrepentant sin in the hopes that those actions influence her husband to look at his destructive behaviors, repent, and come to Christ. God used that approach with hard hearted Israel when they repeatedly refused to heed his verbal warnings. Paul encourages us to do likewise (e.g., 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 13).
When a woman takes these brave steps, she will suffer. She may suffer financially as her husband sits in jail because she called the police when he hit her. She may suffer the censure from her church when she separates from him because of his unrepentant use of pornography and verbal abuse. She may suffer with loneliness, retaliation from her spouse, disapproval from her friends and family for the stance she’s taken.
When we counsel a wife that God calls her to provide all the benefits of a good marriage regardless of how her husband treats her, provides for her, or violates their marital vows, we’re asking her to lie and pretend. This is not good for her or her marriage. This counsel also reinforces the abusive person’s delusions that he can do as he please with no consequences. Marriage does not give someone a “get out of jail free” card that entitles one to lie, mistreat, ignore, be cruel, or crush his spouse’s spirit with no consequences. To believe otherwise is to not know the heart or wisdom of God.
I feel very strongly that within the church we need to be more educated and informed on an issue of such vital importance, and exercise discernment and wisdom when giving counsel on marriage and divorce. Having spent much time in prayer and searching the scriptures, I feel compelled to be an advocate for women who feel they are trapped by Christian principles within an abusive marriage.
I want these women to know that they are loved and valued by God, that He hears the cries of their heart, and that they will not be held in condemnation by Him for removing themselves from an abusive relationship.
A Nazi soldier who hated Hitler? That's the story of Franz Schroeder, the young man who was held at the Prisoner of War Camp for German soldiers in Hurlock, Maryland in my novel A PASSING MIST. One of the first things Franz establishes when introduced to Gloria's family is that he is Austrian, not German, and definitely not a Nazi. He had been conscripted into the German Army after his country was annexed by Hitler in a series of political moves, including a mock election.
Franz might have applied for exemption from the draft if he hadn't wanted to avoid bringing attention to his family. His brother, Heinrich, was a prisoner in the basement of their home. Why? Because one of the things Hitler brought with him to Austria was a eugenics program which would weed out the weak and "invaluable" members of society who needed food and shelter, but were unable to give back to their community. Heinrich had autism, and Franz was willing to risk his own life to save his brother's.
In the beginning, the general public didn't realize what was happening. They were asked to send any children with disabilities to a hospital where they would receive care specialized to their needs. Over time, however, it became obvious that those who went to "clinics" like Am Spiegelgrund in Vienna never returned home alive. Seven hundred and eight-nine patients were killed under the Nazi Regime's Child Euthanasia Program, also known as Aktion T4. Between 1940 and 1945, the clinic operated as part of the psychiatric hospital Am Steinhof. There, sick and disabled adolescents were unwitting subjects of medical experiments and victims of nutritional and psychological abuse. Some died by lethal injection and gas poisoning, others by disease, starvation, exposure to the elements, and "accidents" relating to their condition. The brains of up to 800 victims were preserved in jars and housed in the hospital for decades.
Beginning in the spring of 1938, an extensive network of facilities was established for the documentation, observation, evaluation and selection of children and adolescents, whose social behavior, disabilities, and/or parentage did not comply with the Nazi ideology. In my novel A PASSING MIST, to avoid Heinrich being sent to such an institution, Franz's family faked his death with the help of a pastor associated with Bonhoeffer's Confessing Church. They staged a funeral and hid the boy in the basement with the hope that one day Vienna would be free again and it would be safe for Heinrich to play in the sunshine and open air.
The ultimate purpose of this program was to desensitize the populace to the idea of euthanizing an unwanted group of people who had been assigned the value of "lesser than." When the value of life can be decided by certain individuals, the lives of all are endangered. Hitler's intended target was the Jews, and before he finished, he had killed six million of them and millions of others who posed a threat to his evil schemes.
When we buy into the belief that another person, or group of people, are lesser in value than others because of their age, mental capabilities, physical health, religious views, vocation, sexual orientation--or any other reason--we are opening the door for another Hitler to take the stage. And who will the target be this time? When the value of life isn't a fixed value that applies equally to anyone whose heart is beating, no one is safe.
At the conclusion of my novel, Hitler and the Axis powers were defeated and the prisoners of war were repatriated. After a time, Franz and his parents were able to obtain visas and bring Heinrich with them back to the United States, where they enrolled him in classes at the Benedictine School in Ridgely. There, he was able to learn and enjoy life in the sun as he always should have.
Today we remember the anniversary of D-Day, the Designated Day to storm the beaches of Normandy in the first maneuver of Operation Overlord in which Allied Forces crossed the British Channel and fought their way through France into Germany, delivering the final blow to Hitler's Nazi Regime. In my novel, A PASSING MIST, Vera Lynn's song (There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover was referenced numerous times as it represented the grief felt at the beginning of the war when the cliffs of Dover, England were under attack, and the longing for the world to once again be at peace.
There'll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover
Just you wait and see
I'll never forget the people I met
Braving those angry skies
I remember well as the shadows fell
The light of hope in their eyes
And though I'm far away
I still can hear them say
But when the dawn comes up
There'll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover
Just you wait and see
There'll be love and laughter
And peace ever after
When the world is free
The shepherd will tend his sheep
The valley will bloom again
And Jimmy will go to sleep
In his own little room again
There'll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover
Just you wait and see
There'll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover
Just you wait and see...
In December of 1941, the newspaper calls for volunteers and reports: "The Ridgely airplane observers' post, located at Spark's Filling Station, at Oakland, is now on a 24-hour service since war has been declared. The Ridgely observers' post are on a 2-hour schedule, when from 6 a.m to 10 p.m., one man will be at his post. From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. two men will be on the lookout for any airplanes that might be in the vicinity."
According to the memories of the seniors who served there, it was located twenty feet off the ground with a ladder to gain entry. It contained a small table, two chairs, a telephone, a writing pad, binoculars, and an airplane identification chart was posted on the wall. Freda Lord recalls that at the outbreak of the war, the Ridgely Fire Department had two men on duty all night at the fire house, standing watch with weapons. Beginning in April of 1942, women were called upon to volunteer for the daytime shifts, two at a time for three hour periods.
January 1942, BLACKOUT ORDERS
IF AN ALARM SOUNDS:
1. Keep calm. Keep cool.
2. Get off the streets. Walk--don't run.
3. If within five minutes of your home, go there. If more than five minutes away from home, go into the nearest building.
4. Don't mingle in crowds.
5. Motorists should park their cars immediately--off the streets, if possible.
6. Put out all lights. Obey blackout instructions.
7. Avoid the top and lower stories of buildings and seek shelter in the center portions of buildings.
8. Stay away from windows and outside walls. Do not use elevators.
9. Do not use the telephone. It is needed entirely by the Army, Navy, and Civilian Defense officials.
10. Do not believe all rumors. Think twice before doing anything.
11. If you are enrolled in one of the civilian defense agencies, go to your post immediately and follow your instructions.
12. Know your air raid alarm signals and what they mean.
13. Above all, keep calm. Help others keep calm. Prevent any disorder.
Test blackouts will be tried shortly all must be ready. Civilians defense workers will canvas the town on such occasions and all violators will be waited on.
* The above information can be found in Volume 7 of The Caroline Sun Historical Booklet compiled by Tommy Rampmeyer.
The following is the excerpt the novel:
One foal caught her eye, a little golden filly with a white mane and tail. She stood on spindly legs, with a round belly and her tuft of a tail wagging up and down in excitement. Gloria leaned into the rails of the fence, wishing the filly would get close enough to be touched.
“I wish I could buy that one, right there,” she told her friends. What she didn’t tell them was that Gloria wished she could take one of the ponies home to show Franz, since he was unable to share this experience with her.
“I hope you’re joking!” Gaby replied. “It’s awfully cute, but we didn’t bring a trailer.”
A couple standing beside her overheard their conversation and the man interjected, “We didn’t come planning to buy, but decided to after all. We’re going to take it home in our Oldsmobile, with our children.”
The three women stared in shock. “Really?” Gloria asked, unsure if he was teasing.
He grinned. “Sure enough. We have a farm in Delaware, with plenty of space for a pony. Might as well get one here as anywhere.” Realizing his manners, he stuck out his hand. “Mr. and Mrs. Hazzard.”
“Pleased to meet you,” Gloria said, shaking their hands in turn. “If I’d brought my farm truck, I could have taken one back without any trouble. But these girls,” she jerked her thumb at her friends, “they aren’t farm girls. They aren’t about to let me put an animal in their car.”
“Absolutely not!” “You’ve got that right,” the Saulsbury sisters agreed emphatically.
Gloria looked back at the golden filly with longing. She had a feeling Franz would have loved her.
“What are you going to do if… you know, the pony needs to…” Gaby’s eyes narrowed as she tried to imagine a road trip with a pony in the backseat.
Mr. Hazzard shrugged. “It’s organic material. It’ll clean up.”
“Oh…” she replied.
On Thursday, after the auction, Gloria and the sisters were walking back to their bungalow from the carnival grounds when they spotted their new friends from Delaware. True to their word, they were loading a foal into the backseat of their sedan, positioning it across the laps of three children. Two girls and a boy, with a capricious gleam in his eyes, were petting the pony like it was an oversized puppy.
“Good luck!” Gloria called, waving as they aimed their car for home with all the windows rolled down.
As they drove down the street, she observed frantic movement within the backseat. Two small hands appeared through the side window and a pile of manure was tossed into the road. The little boy stuck his head out grinned, waving and laughing as if it were a great joke as they turned the corner and disappeared from view.
Wild ponies have inhabited Assateague Island for hundreds of years. Some have suggested that the wild ponies of Assateague trace their origin to horses released to forage on the Island by early settlers. However, the evidence strongly suggests that they are the descendants of the survivors of a Spanish galleon which wrecked off the coast of Assateague. This story, which has been passed from generation to generation on Chincoteague Island, is stronger than fiction.
Pony Penning is still held in July during the Chincoteague Volunteer Firemen's Carnival. "Salt Water Cowboys" herd the horses across the narrowest part of Assateague Channel at low tide, after which they are examined by veterinarians. After a resting period, they are herded through town to a corral at the Carnival Grounds where they stay until the next day's auction. The Pony Auction not only provides a source of revenue for the fire company, but it also serves to trim the herd's numbers. To retain the permit to graze on the refuge, the herd must not exceed 150 horses.