Glass Houses
Sept 19 2012

Hello to my dear Old Bolds (and friends),

Do you remember when your kids would call and start by saying, "I'm fine, I really am. But .... " Well, everything here is just peachy, but...

Let me start at the beginning. Despite the rain we got a good start out of
Jackson, and my neighbor was a sweet lady who neither hogged the armrest nor took up any of my seat nor started drinking alcohol at 7 am nor farted the whole way. In the world of airplane travel, it was a stellar morning.

Coming in through some strong buffeting wind to land was very exciting, but I'm guessing it might have been the computer that set us down as smooth as silk. Got the rental car, made it to the archives, and submitted my request for materials at 1:30. And then waited. And waited. Normally, it takes about an hour to pull a cart-full of boxes. Yesterday it took 2.

Yes, so in the normal scheme of things, no big deal, but when time is so
short that I run from place to place and don't leave my boxes ever to eat or drink while I'm there because there's no time, it was an eternity. Finally, at 3:30 I got a copier and settled in to work, just as a tornado warning was announced.

If you've never been to NARA II, let me tell you how new and beautiful it is. It is so new and beautiful that one whole entire side of the building - six stories - is made of atrium-like glass. So focused on my files and my
copier, I hadn't even glanced outside recently. When I did look up and out, the trees were bent over sideways, lashed by horizontal streams of shotgun pellet rain.

Oh dear. A warning blared over the PA. A tornado was bearing down on us, and we needed to get away from the glass and take shelter under a desk immediately. Actually a little silly advice for us, because if that glass shattered, the desks probably wouldn't do much to save us.

Instead of fear, I felt an almighty sense of frustration and resignation, and let myself be herded along to the basement. Honestly, though, thinking about the precious files sitting in harms' way upstairs, I wondered about the wisdom of constructing this place out of glass.

In any case, after an hour, the all clear was sounded, and some of us quickly moved to copy a few essential pages before being booted as they closed at 5.

Today they stay open from 9 to 9, so we'll see if I can make better progress. I'll be meeting the sons of a pilot who evaded with Bob Sweatt
here at noon. They'll be bringing me some of his fake papers from his time in France in '44, and I'll be showing them how to get their father's mission records. Win-win-win.

Oh! I'd better be going!



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