Auschwitz: Eradicating History (Part 2)

 

I was glad we were at Auschwitz on a busy weekday. The crowds helped me keep the heaviness of “man’s inhumanity to man” at fast pace where there was very little time to reflect and be stirred in one’s soul.

Auschwitz_arbeit

The infamous gate “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Makes Free) are at Auschwitz (prison proper), but the stoic, railroad gates that are also associated with Auschwitz are several miles up the road at Birkenau. Auschwitz, the original prison, is quite small.

 

 

Auschwitz

 

Folks, there is nothing profound I can say. I want to strongly urge us all to not fool ourselves into thinking that concentration/extermination camps cannot happen again. It can. The seeds are being planted right here and right now. Have you noticed people screaming, cursing, and assaulting people simply because they DISAGREE WITH THEM? People have been beating business owners who have been trying to protect their businesses. People are being physically assaulted for walking down their own streets. People are being assaulted and sometimes killed for expressing peaceful, American constitutional rights of speaking and printing patriotic beliefs that are all inclusive for every citizen. The people assaulting innocent people are people (all colors, races, & creeds) with decent educations, plenty of money (who in the world has time to maraud and assault people instead of working like I have for 37 years?), cell phones, latest tennis shoes, boots, new helmets, masks, and bandanas?  They are not starving, oppressed peasants… land serfs… abused factory workers, etc. They are under-read, over-fed, feeble-minded entitled jerks!

Word Press wants me to pay over $100 /year so I can put videos on here. It used to be free. You can see the multiple videos I posted in the past when it was free. Please watch the videoI recorded while I was in Gdansk.

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Poles abusing their fellow citizens: Gdansk World War II museum

 

The video is very tame without anyone kicking people in the head (like multiple people have done marauding and assaulting here in the United States May/June 2020) or setting anyone on fire. The absolute atrocity here is the fact that it’s Polish citizens abusing Polish citizens….just so happens the Nazi Polish citizens are assaulting the Polish citizens who are Jewish. RIGHT HERE … RIGHT NOW… United States citizens are assaulting and sometimes killing their fellow citizens. In the name of Jesus the Christ, PLEASE STOP.

 

One thing I was talking to Sean about the other day was the Nazis took photos of the work prisoners (not exterminated prisoners… they went straight to the ovens with no photos) when they entered. They looked like us friends: healthy, “vibrant”. They kept records of their deaths, and most of the people in the photos were dead within a year. Most within a few months. They were literally worked to death. If I’m not mistaken, the museum at the Schindler Factory had the photos of the political, educational, and religious (Catholic priests) prisoners. Once again, the political opponents of the Nazis were the first to go to prisons/work camps. Some were even set free.

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The Auschwitz prison-proper had only one shower for the Zyklon B gas extermination with the two ovens you see in the middle. When the demonic Nazis decided they needed more camps with more showers and ovens for extermination, they built a secluded camp in fields of birch (Birkenau) trees. There the Nazis had multiple showers (4… the Nazis destroyed them before the Russians liberated the camp) with ovens.

& to close… once again.. please read and ponder…

Birkenau_Auschwitz

Kraków, Poland

As their historical readings for 4th grade, Sean, Carter, and Ammon had been reading multiple books from the Holocaust: The Hiding Place, Irina’s Children & Anne Frank. Sean had read Schindler’s List by himself then he paraphrased / abridged, then taught Ammon and Carter some events that had happened with Jews and the Polish people in Krakow, Poland. Shindler’s Factory is almost 2 miles from downtown Krakow. By the time we finished the logistics of our Polish Summer, we knew we wanted to spend the most of our time in Krakow. We also decided to save Krakow for the end of our Caylor-Brown Polish Experience 2019. It was not just the engaging history and charming Polish architecture we were looking forward to in Krakow, but the geographic region is very much like Southeast Tennessee too: rolling hills, low-lying mountains, and lots of summer-green.

The 21st Century high-tech Polish passenger trained had taken 4 hours to get from Gdansk to Krakow. We had been anticipating Krakow for 2 weeks. The greenery of the Polish fields and the demure mountains of southern Poland pulled us like a magnet into the Krakow-Glowny Railway Station.

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One of those adventurous, engaging European train rides from Gdansk to Krakow- July 3, 2019

By taxi, we found our wonderful apartment (full apartment – huge Great Room -living room/dining area/kitchen , hallway, bathroom w/clothes washer, and huge bedroom … like $75/night). The Caylor-Browns were neither disappointed with the apartment nor the city of Krakow.

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You can tell by the size of the full kitchen kitchen how large the apartment is.

Milk Bar (s)– large cities in Poland have popular restaurants called Milk Bars. It’s cafeteria style and sells the same foods (perhaps a SLIGHT CHANGE of menu taking out some breakfast foods around noonish) all day long starting at 8 AM. If you find yourself at a Milk Bar in Poland be ready for lots of potatoes, beets, peas & carrots

I think we ate here at least once a day for 7 days.. well, almost. My most memorable moment was when, I think, a native Krakow couple was eating at this Milk Bar. The mentally disabled gentleman of the couple walked up to our table, grabbed a fork, and ate my remaining potatoes from off my plate!

The City of Krakow (associate the paragraph with the below photos)

I am really looking forward to returning to the St. Mary’s Basilica. It has been my favorite building of worship in Europe since I started traveling in 1984. I’ve only felt this spiritual connection one other time at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland, but I was only there for an hour. I was in Krakow for a week. Each morning after my morning jog (finishing up around gulp!….. 6:30 AM!! Sunrise was about 5AM), I entered the basilica, knelt, and prayed. They weren’t just rote-memorized prayers, but Spirit-lead… everything from my family, to distant friends, to the Polish people, to world peace, to Milk Bars! LOL I really felt a spiritual connection while in the basilica. Wawel Castle is on a hill overlooking the Vistula River. The castle (begun sometime around 1038) sits over rock caverns one of which was the home of the legendary Wawel Dragon. The bronze, fire-breathing dragon is a leviathan of enjoyment. It breathes fire about every 5-10 minutes.

 
 

There was a lot to do in Krakow proper, but I want to venture to some nearby attractions with you all: The Wieliczka Salt Mines and the Oskar Schindler Factory (Krakow Museum). The salt mine has 26 subterranean caverns. One of which is a chapel to worship. All the walls and sculptures in the salt mine are made of salt. If you go to Krakow for any length of time, you must take a tour of this mine: Well worth the money.

Huge Chapel in salt mine

From 1939 to 1944 Oskar Schindler, an official member of the Nazi Party, had an enamel factory in Krakow. Between the Krakow Ghetto ( walking distance to the Factory) and the Plaszow Work Camp, Mr. Schindler saved 1,200 Jews from extermination. In 1962, he was declared a Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem, Israel’s official agency for remembering the Holocaust. According to his wishes, he was buried on Mt. Zion , Jerusalem. Thanks be to God for such human beings as Oskar Schindler.

Schindler’s Desk & Schindler’s Secretary’s Desk . One of only 2 preserved 1940 rooms of the museum.
 

Two more things:

Nazis topple Krakow/Polish History

1) There is an underground museum in the Market Square. It commemorates Middle Ages Krakow. We were not allowed to take photos, so I will allow Trip Advisor to give you all a tour. 

2) Several countries, Russia, Austria, and Germany (Nazis) have tried to erase Poland from the world: Literally. When people do this, they eradicate art (sculptures, STATUES), literature, music, and language. They wish to ERASE your identity …. your heritage. While we were at the Schindler Museum I took a photo of a photo where Nazis were toppling a provincial / national Polish statue attempting to erase history. Folks, since the dawn of civilization, groups have done unnecessary sometimes horrific atrocities. No person, city, state, nation, or empire is blameless. That doesn’t mean we erase the art, literature, and heritage from the past. We simply need not repeat man’s inhumanity to man. 

I hope you have enjoyed this Krakow blog. If you happen to be following chronologically, you are approaching my final blog of Poland. It will be a blog covering our trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau. As I write the final words of this blog, I am already very emotional in my soul with its preparation. I am praying that I will do the experience of Auschwitz justice and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me.

Gdansk, Poland Summer 2019

I wasn’t pushing a stroller in the crowded Long Market this time. 10 years- old Carter and Ammon were walking and taking care of themselves in the streets of Gdansk this time.

Gdanks_bridge

 

In 2010, we had taken a day tour of Gdansk ( 20th Century European scholars may remember it with its German name, Danzig). Pushing strollers through the hot (there was a heat wave in the Baltic area that summer… temperatures in the 90s in Gdansk, Poland, St. Petersburg, Russia, and Stockholm, Sweden) was not comfortable, but there was something very likeable about Gdansk. This was one of those times an excursion from a cruise planted a seed, a goal, for the Caylor-Browns to return to an historical and charming European city. We saved and prayed, and God blessed us with a return in the summer of 2019. I’ve already shared Budapest  and Warsaw, and now I will continue with Gdansk.

Jogging in Gdansk

Jogging in Gdansk: Nostalgic feelings while I jogged ALONE at 6 AM remembering when I pushed and meandered with a stroller in 90 heat 9 years before.

 

The Millennium Cross above Gdansk Glowny is great not only for a photo op, but because of the bunkers with history mechanical/audio-visual history lessons.

Millennium Cross

Hill behind Gdansk’s Train Station that overlooks the city.

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Bunkers with life-size action figures (Disney World’s Hall of the Presidents style) depicting the history of Gdansk.

 

Gdansk World War II Museum

Overwhelming museum of Gdansk / Poland 1918-1945

World War II Museum: Gdansk, Poland. Man’s inhumanity to man. History is full of cruel people who make others their victims. This short video Jews in Poland World War II    shows how Jewish people were abused by Nazis before World War II. Take a close look. There are neither facial differences nor skin color differences. It’s all about people’s cruel character not race, creed, nor color.

 

Jewish Children

Jewish Children’s Monument

Whippoorwills are late in 2020

Whippoorwills were VERY LATE this year. Like 5 weeks late! What’s up with that? Oh, well, I heard my first 2020 whippoorwill at 5 AM this morning. I had to take Buddy the dachshund out for his morning constitutional, and the little whippoorwill was bellowing away!

Okay, so I am now anticipating lightning bugs, katydids, and cicadas. Your up, summer 2020! Don’t let us down. We need a good and fun one.

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Continue reading

Painting Mystery: Parenting Strategies on the Go

 

I’m going to leave a cliff hanger for the first time in my writing history, and, yes, it’s a shameless ploy to guide readers especially young parents to my book Parenting Strategies on the Go

Parenting Strategies on the Go

“Parenting Strategies on the Go” -Haven Caylor, Ed. D.

 

Ammon and Carter were born through surrogacy. Carter was born in San Diego (maybe 15 miles from the In Vitro Fertilization clinic), and Ammon was born in Mission Viejo. From beginning to end, God blessed every move/choice we planned from an egg-donor mother, to choosing two spectacular surrogates ( and their wonderful families), to donating our sperm, to the fertilization, to the implantations, through the gestations, until the births, we were blessed. Carter and Ammon were fertilized in February of 2008. When their surrogates were 6 months pregnant we combined a visit with them in San Diego with a personal cruise on Carnival Cruise lines out of Long Beach. When we ported in Puerto Vallarta and disembarked the ship, there was an artist who painted tiles with his pinky fingernail. In Spanish (you have to remember that I am fluent in Spanish), I gave explicit instructions to his apprentice how I wanted our “futuristic” painting to appear. We told him we would be very late returning, and he said there would be no problem. Even if the artist, Jorge López, wasn’t there, he would be, and he guaranteed that the tile would be finished.

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The Caylor-Browns Gazing into the Pacific Ocean at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – Jorge López

 

After a spectacular and long day in Puerto Vallarta, we did, indeed, retrieve our tile. It was BEAUTIFUL, but as we inspected it, we saw an error corrected. What was it? Well, in Chapter 4: Using Souvenirs as Teaching tools after you’ve been on the Go, you can find out. The painting blunder/cover-up still makes me smile and laugh after 12 precious years.

Train Whistles & Granddaddy Alexander

Train Whistles & Granddaddy Alexander

(Like Wikipedia, I welcome people to add names & pics… I will add things as I find them).

 

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(Thanks, TVA for the pic.. this is a restored, 1904 engine that ran on Southern Railway!) 

William Oliver Alexander : May 15, 1875 – June 29, 1935. Southern Railroad Locomotive Engineer.

Friday evening September 28, 2018 location = Collegedale, Tennessee, Collegedale Greenway 

I was jogging beside the railroad track headed toward’s Collegdale’s Southern University, and I heard a train coming: Sometimes it’s a BNSF train, and sometimes it’s a Norfolk Southern train. Traveling at about 35-40 MPH a Norfolk Southern diesel locomotive comes barreling into the clear. I smiled, kept jogging, and I waved. Of course, trains blow their whistles at the crossings, and the engineer had just passed the College Station Crossing. I had no idea if my waves would illicit a friendly blow, but THEY DID …. “Toot, Toot…. toot ,  toooooot”: I smiled from ear to ear and continued jogging. Granddaddy Alexander whom I never met (he died 31 years before I was born) immediately came to mind…. However….

Join me  the summer of 1988.

My dear friend of  mine, Loraine Morgan Hammontree (February 2, 1913- May 13, 1989) , and I had been cultivating our awesome, Varnell friendship, and she had said, “Uh, Haven, would you like to visit my sister (Ralph Morgan, I’m tracking you down for her name! LOL) in Dalton. She can tell us some stuff about Varnell from our childhood.”  Loraine’s sister was several years older than Loraine and she couldn’t drive, and neither could Loraine who had heart failure. I rearranged some of my busy, summer schedule (I was in town for the weekend from Lipscomb University Summer Semester where I was just about to finish my last year) , and we drove to Dalton. Loraine’s, sister was so hospitable and so sweet, and charming. I fell in love with her lovely demeanor immediately.

 

Loraine: Haven, I was just a kid and I don’t remember, but my sister remembers living in the Alexander’s house in Varnell. (Turning to her sister) Tell Haven about living there and Mr. Alexander.  Mr. Alexander was Haven’s great-grandfather.

Loraine’s sister: (With a huge smile). I didn’t know that! Let me tell you.  You know , Mr. Alexander had a fixed schedule, and we always kind of knew he was coming. He would begin tooting the whistle as he entered Varnell, and we would run down to the track. The train went right in front of the Alexander house, and he was going slow. Depending on what he had, he would toss it out to us kids. Sometimes, it was candy wrapped in sacks and sometimes it was bags of coal we needed for our coal-burning stove. It was like having Santa Claus!

Loraine: (Turning to me with a huge smile.) Yeah, just like Santa Claus, that’s just what I was thinking.

The visit was perfect, and I had spoken with someone who knew Granddaddy Alexander personally. I took Loraine home with a full heart and lots of joy.

Before I finish this Santa Claus tale of  Granddaddy Alexander, I ‘ve got to share one more thing (I could be dead tomorrow, and I want Carter & Ammon to know) LOL ….

Trains (Steam engines in the 1900s – 1930s) were steam engines and so different from the powerful diesels of today. The trains stopped at every “pig trail” in those days. Granddaddy Alexander’s route took him from Atlanta to Chattanooga. When stopping at the “pig trails”, boys from the local area would bring stuff (nuts, berries, live animals such as baby squirrels or baby opossums) to sell to him. He would buy whatever for a few pennies. On up the line, while stopping for water, coal, or passengers, he would let the animals go free. He sometimes would even take a baby squirrel or a baby opossum back to his house in Atlanta for Nanny, Madeline, and Florence to play with!  In a few weeks he would put them back in his pocket, take them to Inman Yard where his engine was then carry them back up towards Chattanooga where he would set them free.

Back to September 28, 2018-

As I turned around to face my jogging destination, I was overcome with emotion, and tears came unexpectedly into my eyes as I started sobbing  with happiness about Granddaddy Alexander as I trotted onward.

No one is ever perfect, but William Oliver Alexander was a good, caring human with a wonderful heart.  His girls (Mary Naomi Alexander Caylor, Gloria Madeline Alexander Kirk, and Florence L. Alexander Sheeley) adored him. Nanny always shared how he loved life, loved to joke, and loved nature.

With my memories and the wonderful avenue of the Internet and/or writing journals, I can keep Granddaddy Alexander and his story “alive”.

-Happy Saturday to all- Haven

5 Seconds of Summer (yes this title is from the Pop music group)

I wish I would have saved the date from this past spring, but one day as Sean, Carter, Ammon, and I traveled home from church the song “Want you Back” by the pop group 5 Seconds of Summer was playing on the car radio ( I REALLY like “Want you Back” ) . Ammon loves pop music, and she has practically a photographic memory of recording artists and what they sing.

I was driving and concentrating on the winding, country road that leads to our house, when Ammon asks Sean,

“So what does ‘5 Seconds of Summer’ mean, do you think?” It only took a few seconds for Sean to say, “Well, think about it like this…. What does the school year seem like when it comes to time during a year? “

Ammon: How long is a school year again?

Sean: 9 months… 36 weeks.

Ammon: How long for summer break?

Sean: Right at 10 weeks.

Ammon: The school years seems SO LONG

Sean: Does the summer seem to fly by?

Ammon: Yes!

Sean: I think that is the answer: the summer flies by, and this group randomly chose 5 seconds to show how quick it is.

We were practically to our driveway, and I said out loud, “Yep, I agree!”

How true, “5 seconds of summer!”

 

Haven’s Summer 2018 Time line:

May 25 = Dalton High has graduation

June 1 = Post Planning ends & my “summer” officially begins

June 6 = 1 Day Dollywood

June 20-22 = Gatlinburg, Dollywood

dolly_June20

July 8 – July 20 = Disney World, Daytona, Florida, & Savannah

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Ormond_2018

 

 

 

Savannah_2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 31 – Last Day of Haven’s Summer break

 

Our 2 week vacation really took a big chunk of summer vacation, but I want to add that I had 4 doctor’s appointments which took a lot of time as well. Out of the 4 appointments, I had an infamous colonoscopy which was a SUMMER DREAD & if you’ve had a colonoscopy , you know the process is 2 days and not just one because of the prep before the procedure. Other appointments were 1)dentist 2)prostate/urologist 3)dermatologist (another squamous scare that was just an inflamed scar) & 4) 6 month check up for when I changed internists last January and he wanted to check if my blood pressure was normal after 6 months of medication.

A blink lasts a little less than 1 second. So, from June 1, 2018 to July 31, 2018 I “blinked 5 times”, and my summer was over = “5 Seconds of Summer”

Now, for the blessings: I have good health, a good mind, and I have a job which I truly enjoy that begins again tomorrow. I am so blessed to be able to work and support my family. God is great, and “to every thing there is a season” . My blessed summer season is over. It’s time to move on to the next season of blessings…. Mmmmm perhaps, “30 seconds of a school year” for a new music group title?

 

Palm Sunday: Revised April 5, 2020

Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11: 1-11, Luke 19:29-42, & John 12: 12-19

Jesus was a human who experienced times of elation just like us. How many times have we had the thought, “It can’t get any better than this?” buuuuuuuuuuuut, we know it is fleeting and cannot always be this way. Our lives are not this way.

It is important to first mention that all four of the Gospels write of this event.  Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem must have been quite a sight to behold. The clamor, the hubbub about the Messiah/Hosanna, and the spiritual excitement of the King of Jews entering Jerusalem to “reign forever” must have been a glorious moment. It was a fulfillment of prophets from Zechariah (9:9): Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem. Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, and riding on an ass and upon a colt the foal of an ass. The people even lay palm branches on the street like a red carpet for their king.  What deserved pomp and circumstance for Jesus yet what physical and mournful tragedy awaited our Lord!

If you will, imagine all the Gospels from their beginnings to this point being like a roller coaster that chugs up a hill: Palm Sunday is the top/pinnacle of the hill. For Jesus, his physical life creeks over the top, then begins to plummet. In five days, Jesus the future Christ would be humiliated, beaten, and killed on a cross a criminal…to the world a crash at the bottom of the hill. However, it wasn’t the end, but the beginning of our assuredness of eternal life though Jesus Christ.

Enjoy Palm Sunday and get ready to walk Holy Week with Jesus anew.