Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Monologue Mania Day # 1586 One Degree of Separation by Janet S. Tiger (c) June 20, 2018

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Monologue Mania Day # 1586  One Degree of Separation by Janet S. Tiger (c) June  20, 2018           
                                One Degree of Separation
                                A monologue by Janet S. Tiger (c)  2018
tigerteam1@gmail.com   all rights reserved      

       (Actor enters with newspaper)

I read another obituary this morning.

I read them now like the comics - some are funny, others have a great story.

But this man, I knew.

Maybe not in reality, but through the six degrees of separation....maybe.

He was a U-boat commander, born in Bremen, Germany, died in Bremen, Germany.

I was born 10 years after the war finished...in the United States.  So, how did we meet?

We didn't.  Not physically.  But we did meet.

Through my mother.

She grew up a few feet from the Atlantic Ocean, in Belle Harbor, NY, also known as part 
of the Rockaways.

And this obituary was about Reinhard Hardegan, who was a U-boat captain, head of Operation 
Drumbeat, the Nazi plan to interrupt shipping on the East Coast of the United States.

My mother told me that during the war, there was a fear of light.  She remembered vividly
 about the blackout curtains, and not being able to drive with
headlights on, and the streetlights hooded, so the enemy could not see well in the
night.  But that was not at the beginning of the war, when people felt the fighting was far away,
 across the Pacific.  So Hardegan did see some lights.  How?  
He took his U-boat up only at night, when, 
using guidebooks,  "he surfaced and followed the Southern shore of Long Island
and Queens, glimpsing the lights of homes and cars in the Rockaways."

So, one night when my mother stood on the boardwalk, looking at the sea, there's a chance 
that Reinhard was there, looking back.  She had told me about the submarines, and 
the ships they had sunk nearby - and her friends who went off to fight - and
the ones who never came back.

She was in the High School class of 1941, December - just after Pearl Harbor, and
all her male classmates - and some of the female, too - signed up.  

My mother was the youngest in her class (she had skipped two years) and she 
is 92 now.  Reinhard was 105.  He was a young man when he passed by close
to my mother - and she was a young woman.

Does that count as knowing someone?  Is it part of the degrees of 

Or is there really any separation on such a tiny planet as we are on - in such
a big universe.  

          (Actor folds the newspaper and exits.)

True story about Reinhard click here

And  true stories including the Rockaways click here  and here

but these are places I knew myself as a child - (I played at Riis Park!)

On the next evening, the U-123 was following a parallel course westward along the south shore of Long Island, towards New York City.  The submarine almost itself beached on the Rockaway shore, as the crew did not have detailed charts of the area and did not anticipate the southward curve of the Rockaways.  From the reports of the area including the description of " a hotel, shore lights, and sand dunes backed by low, dark woods",  the U-123 probably came close to beaching on the shores of Fort Tilden or Jacob Riis Beach.  Fort Tilden is the only part of Rockaway with dunes backed by woods and the Bathhouse building a Riis Park does look like a hotel.  Later that night at 10 p.m., Captain Hardegan was viewing the lights of the city of New York at 330 degrees, and the Parachute jump and Wonder Wheel of Coney Island from the U- 123.  The men of Fort Tilden posted as lookouts in the 100 foot tall towers at  Fort Tilden and Arverne did not spot this target and no action was taken by the shore defenses or patrol aircraft.
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Janet S. Tiger    858-736-6315                CaregiversAnon.org
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983

Swedenborg Hall 2006-8

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