February 11th, 2010

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Poem for Thursday and Blizzard of '10

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As of Wednesday, Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD have officially broken their all-time snowfall records. Baltimore had more snow -- 72.3 inches so far this winter -- but their record has stood only since 1996, whereas the DC record dated to 1899 and is now measured at Reagan National Airport, which is technically Virginia. Our local snowfall so far is probably between Washington's and Baltimore's, since we live west of both and north of the former. We got about a foot on Wednesday on top of what was already on the ground. I feel very, very lucky that we kept power through both storms *knocks wood* considering that we know people who are staying in a hotel because their home hasn't had any for so many days.

I wish I could say I accomplished a great deal while in the house, but I had kind of a lazy day. Everyone was home -- there was a blizzard warning and the police were asking people please not to drive to work unless one needed to be at a hospital, fire department, etc. -- so we all had brunch together. Paul did several phone conferences from home, the kids played various video games, I did some reading and watched the second and third episodes of the Pre-Raphaelite soap opera Desperate Romantics, which is really enormous fun, with Rossetti about to seduce Hunt's fiancee and break both Hunt's and Siddal's hearts and poor Stephens trying to be a dutiful fan boy.


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In the evening we watched the first episode of Faces of America With Henry Louis Gates, Jr., "The Promise Of America," which had wonderful segments on Mike Nichols and Kristi Yamaguchi. Nichols' family story has quite a bit in common with mine, though his relatives emigrated later (they were among the lucky ones allowed to come in 1939) -- the ones in Europe were killed by people following Hitler and Stalin, respectively. Meanwhile, Kristi Yamaguchi's grandfather was serving in the U.S. military with distinction while his relatives were incarcerated in camps.

I'm not sure which I find more completely unthinkable, that the Holocaust happened less than a century ago or that the Japanese internment camps did. Germany and Russia always seemed far away and completely foreign when I was very young, a place where horrible things could have happened to Jews because perhaps the people there were very ignorant -- I knew nothing of European history at the time, and, obviously, very little of U.S. history, since I tended to think about how U.S. citizens treated Native Americans, African Americans, Mexicans, et al as Once Upon a Time before modern responsibility. But the Japanese internment camps were our own recent history, though the legend I grew up with was that we were Not Like That. I wish I didn't feel so much like we might be again.