Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

Community Park

This morning the weather started out fairly pleasant. I dined once more on Corn Pops and skim milk. I took Beatrice for a walk, which she enjoyed. I decided to drive to the nearby small town of Princeton. On the way I stopped at a dollar store to get one dollars' worth of pens and a tiny booklet marked Composition Book for another dollar.

I went to Community Park. Community Park has an interesting history.In 1940, 76 cabins were built of California redwood for use by migrant workers who helped with this farm region's two crops--onions and cotton. In 1945, the camp served for eight months as a prisoner of war camp for German prisoners among the over 300,000 prisoners held in the United States during the last year of the war.

The historical accounts indicate that the local farmers liked having the labor of the prisoners, who were by and large felt to be young soldiers rather than ideological. The prisoners, in turn, were paid something somewhat less than market value for their efforts and reported that they felt well-treated. The whole arrangement only lasted eight months or so. The prisoners were even contracted to expand the start of a city park into a full-fledged city park through a special act of Congress. The cabins were pulled down in the 1980s, so the park itself and a plaque are the only signs of the episode. It's a bit of a shame that so little is done to commemorate this bit of history. Yet some 70 such camps existed in Texas. Perhaps a pleasant park is the only good memorial of war and its prisoners.

I walked in the open spaces of the park. The grass had been cut into a kind of path at the perimeters of the park, near the trees. In a bit over two hours, I walked 5.6 kilometers, in two circuits of the fairly huge park. I listened to Radio NZ on my headphones as I walked. A feature on Poetry Day included a moving broadcast of a speech by J.A. Lee, a Labour politician of a by-gone time, in memory of the poet and novelist Robin Hyde. A short story performed by schoolboys, on the other hand, was obviously written by those same boys, involving a somewhat Medusa-like princess and a wizard with pink protective glasses.

During my walk, I saw two female Orchard Orioles, a Lark Sparrow and a Red-Shouldered Hawk. I next drove to McKinney to the Golden Chick restaurant, where I ate a roasted chicken breast and chicken wing.The Dallas radio station broadcast concerned sports commentators lamenting the injury to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Sports is a big pre-occupation in north Texas. I am neither all-in nor all-out about such things.

This evening we went to Market Street, where I had yet another helping of grilled chicken, along with cabbage and brussels sprouts. We watched once more the 1963 film "The Great Escape", which I have seen perhaps dozens of times. I remember reading the book when I was a teen or late pre-teen. The war crime committed by the German Gestapo in executing 50 of the recaptured prisoners still rankles.

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