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Power and Perspective



Pauline Nevins  November 9, 2019 - Auburn Journal



Perspective can be helpful. I thought about my late mother during the recent power outages. She was one among the hundreds of thousands of women and children evacuated from London to the countryside during World War II — protection from the incessant German bombing.

Although Mother was safe in the country — the bombs had stopped long ago — her memories lingered. During stormy weather, I'd come home from school and follow a thin line of gray smoke drifting from the small room under the stairs where the gas meter was located. There I’d find my mother, sitting in a chair, in the dark, smoking.

“When it thunders this bad,” she’d say, waving her Woodbine cigarette, oblivious to the fact she was sitting in a gas cupboard, "it brings back terrible memories of the London bombings. I wouldn't go to the air-raid shelters. People got buried alive in those things. I took my chances in the street."

Remembering this last week, as my husband, Jim, and I sat with our knees touching across from each other at the table in our travel trailer parked near the garage, I was grateful. Grateful not only that we have a travel trailer powered by propane gas, one we almost sold in the summer, but that I’ve never suffered as my mother had — no bombs were dropping.

Camping in your own backyard may not have the same allure as hooking up in a campground but it can be fun. “Let’s play a game?” I suggested to my husband after he forced down the last piece of chicken he ever hoped to eat.

Without having to stand, Jim reached the overhead cupboard and pulled down a spiffy, small leather case. He undid the bronze-colored clasps. We looked at the contents. We looked at each other. We’d forgotten how to play backgammon. The leather case was replaced with a board game appropriately named "Sorry." After one win each we looked at the time. It was 7:30 p.m. Time for bed.


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