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BOTD 2/12/16 "A Blast From The Past - 1944 - The Circus" A Stevie Production (No Poo)

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David M. Katz

A Stevie Production

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It is early July 1944 and you are a single father living in Hartford Connecticut with a sixteen year old son named Brian, who has a best friend named Nathan... they've been inseparable since they were small and still do everything together including double dating.

There is, of course, a war going on and consequently many day-to-day items are in short supply; some things are actually rationed and cannot be bought without the proper coupons. Rationing in the US is not anything like as severe as in the UK, but it is nonetheless a significant problem when it comes to providing decent clothing for your son...

The boy recently grew out of his shoes and badly needed a new pair - you had to apply for an extra pair on an emergency basis and appear before a board to prove that they were actually needed... this was a severe nuisance and you had to take time off from your work at a local aircraft factory to do this, causing friction with your manager at the plant. You did get the coupon, and your son got his new, very utilitarian, shoes...

On the fifth of July, the circus rolled into town; short of men due to the war, many local youngsters were hired to help set up the tents and various accoutrements which went with them... in return they received free grandstand tickets to the matinee next day - which was quite fair as the tickets were worth about $3.00 or so - quite a lot of money in 1944.

Brian and Nathan both pitch in with a will - for one thing, they are already bored with their summer vacation - and work very hard to earn their tickets. However, Brian arrives home late for dinner and with his new shoes absolutely ruined and stinking of a material that elephants tend to leave behind them when they work. The meal is ruined - food is not exactly rationed but is expensive and not always easy to come by due to shortages. You lose your temper with the boy and forbid him to go to the circus next day...

He is to stay at home and attempt to get his shoes clean, then do some badly needed chores around the house that have been neglected lately while you have been working mandatory overtime at the plant...

Later in the day, the word spreads across the plant that there has been a terrible fire at the circus... the rumors  have it that hundreds of youngsters have been killed and many more have been badly burned. You are glad that Brian is an obedient boy and hope that he would not have disobeyed you and attended the show. Production at the plant is shut down for the day and the workers sent home - there are too many of them frantic over their kids.

What you find when you arrive home is extremely disturbing... both Brian and Nathan are missing; Nathan's parents are hysterical because they believe he went to the circus with your son despite your prohibition.

As you begin to dissolve into a panic, the two miscreants arrive home - soot blackened and with minor burns to their arms and hands but otherwise unhurt... they have obviously been involved in the fire, but your son ripped a large hole in the sidewall of the tent through which he, and about 50 other kids, escaped; he was burned while pulling one little boy through the tear. The papers have actually picked up on this, and your boy will be described as a hero in the morning editions...

However, just what do you propose to do about the direct disobedience?? (The chores were not done, by the way.)

Editor's note:  The scenario is based on a historical incident.  CF: 

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


Okay - very honestly, I need to learn how not to overreact. How exactly was the meal ruined? I know where he is, and if we didn't wait for him before it was prepared, why did we wait for him to eat?

What he did was brave and heroic and exactly what we need right now, and I'm going to let him know that. He did disobey me, but since he's probably going to wore soon, I was a jackass to try to restrain him from something fun that he'd worked to earn. I'll clean his shoes while he does the chores.

"In the end, it's just a story. But if you ask me, it's all true."


I agree with Jack. Yes, they disobeyed. But...they also saved a whole bunch of other kids who might well be dead or maimed had Brian and Nathan not been there. They've already had a huge fright. I'm not going to punish a hero. As it's 1944, and I would most likely believe in a God (or at least some higher power), I'm going to believe the boys were there for some reason other than serendipity.


Editor Extraordinaire
I'm with Jack and Kier.



A tragedy that, perhaps unsurprisingly, I'd never heard about.

But to answer the scenario, I agree that I need to give thanks that my son has returned relatively unscathed when so many other people have not.


An easy one .............. I'm going to tell him how proud I am of him.

OK.  He has behaved in a way that in normal circumstances would bring punishment but in this instance the main event trumps all the trivia.

Although Brian may be embarrassed by all the (probably OTT) adulation about to come his way he will, inside him, be feeling a quiet pride in himself in that when surrounded by panic he kept his head and saved not only his own but many lives.

At this time any harping on by me of trivial past indiscretions will only serve to diminish me in his eyes - and rightly so.


Brians had an awful experience and a trial by fire as well and he's come through it as a hero. Nothing I could to him would match that. Not sure I can d hugs very well so Brian may have to settle for a rib buster from his mother and firm handshake from me. Hopefully he will miss this war but either way he has proved himself. There will be no punishment. Think his Mother would divorce me if there was.


Ditto the ones before as the general consensus is mutual.....,

Hugs kal

David M. Katz

kalico wrote:Ditto the ones before as the general consensus is mutual.....,

Hugs kal


Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


Stevie thinks the first thing he would do is to have the boy's burns seen to and all...


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