06 January 2008


My grandfather and I were both war babies. He, Robert Lee Durham, born just after the War Between the States, in 1867, was named after General Robert E. Lee. I, Lee Durham Stone, born 80 years later, in 1947, just after the Second World War, was named after that same grandfather who died two weeks before my birth. He, if alive today, would be in his 141th year.

His father, my great-grandfather, jumped off a Union prisoner-of-war boat traveling down (up?) the Ohio River and--as it has been passed down to us--kept the flame dancing in his pipe while he swam ashore. But, I'm certain, it was no dance to travel home
undercover to Kentucky during war time.

My father "fought" in WW II and spent some time in a German castle during the war emptying the gigantic wine keg that was so large the top formed a dance floor on the castle floor above. Immediately after the war, as assistant editor of the German edition of the Stars and Stripes, the U.S. Army newspaper, he visited Hitler's personal compound, Berghof, near Berchtesgaden, when Allied occupation troops were looting the complex which lay in ruins after the Royal Air Force bombed it on 25 April 1945. I remember as a boy the piece of marble paving stone he took from the complex. Perhaps Eva and Adolph watched village children perform Bavarian folk dances on it?

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