Tuesday, March 20, 2018


I have been off this blog practically forever, which is not good.  I am trying to turn over a new leaf here!

I will be offering a workshop next month at the Connecticut Storytelling Festival on the use of primary sources to craft historical stories.  I think I will begin by asking people to compare four accounts that I have of the incident in which my father was wounded on August 22, 1944 (ironically, 47 years to the day before he died) and discuss how to craft a story from them.   After the Festival I will post about how it went. For now, I will post the first account, the telegram which his parents got from the Army

Here is the text of the Telegram:; yes, it is all capital letters. 


RECEIVED AT GILSON’S CENTERDALE PHARMACY – AGENTS.

AKA134         CHECK 56

GOVERNMENT WASHINGTON D.C.      SEPTEMBER 8 3:38 P.M.

ARNOLD A. PRITCHARD
36 WELLESLEY AVENUE
NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I.

REGRET TO INFORM YOU YOUR SON WAS SERIOUSLY WOUNDED IN ACTION 22 AUGUST IN FRANCE.  UNTIL NEW ADDRESS IS RECEIVED ADDRESS MAIL FOR HIM QUOTE: FIRST LT. ANTON A. PRITCHARD S.N. [1]  (HOSPITALIZED) CENTRAL POSTAL DIRECTORY A.P.O.[2]. 640 C/O POSTMASTER, NEW YORK, NEW YORK.  UNQUOTE.  YOU WILL BE ADVISED AS REPORTS OF CONDITION ARE RECEIVED.

                                                                        J.A. ULIO
                                                                        ADJUTANT GENERAL


[1] Serial number
[2] Army Post Office


And here are some questions: 


What facts do you learn from the telegram? What dictates the selection of facts?
What does the Telegram leave out that would be vital to any story?
What do you learn that is not explicitly stated in the Telegram - not just about simple facts, but about the world of 1944?
Do you imagine yourself in anyone's place as you read the telegram?
Does this remarkably dry and factual document produce any emotions/feelings in you?  Why?

Incidentally, to learn about the CT Storytelling Festival, see

http://www.connstorycenter.org/festival.htm


Thanks for your attention!



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