Sunday, March 04, 2007

* A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WW II*

 by Sarah Helm

I was at first intrigued by this book. Then I was bored, very bored...and lost in lists of names, dates and unfamiliar locations....but somewhere along the line I again became very interested in the topic. I'm glad I kept reading.

This book centers around Vera Atkins who "selected and ran the four hundred (British) agents - thirty-nine of them women - who were smuggled into occupied France in World War II." Vera began as secretary at the newly formed SOE (Special Operations Executive) and then became the second in command. The fuddled bureaucracy portrayed in this book was amazing. I'd love to think this has improved over the years; but I fear not. At the time of the formation of SOE women were NOT to be sent to combat locations and yet at least 39 female SOE F agents were sent to France during the Nazi occupation. Since they were not military, they were not afforded the "rights" of prisoners of war when captured. Many died horrific deaths in concentration camps. After the war the female agents tended to fall through the cracks of bureaucracy once again...they had to fight for military benefits etc. Vera was at the center of most of this. Fighting for the rights of the women, fighting to cover the tragic and mistakes of the SOE, fighting for recognition for the SOE (disbanded after the war).....

Vera fought and won the right to track her agents who were missing immediately after the war. She served on war criminal boards.

Vera herself was an "enemy alien" during her time of service in the SOE. She was a Romanian born Jewess. Rosenberg is her family name. Questions still swirl around the memory of Vera...was she a double spy? Was she a Russian spy? A CIA plant? A German spy? Was she cold and heartless or riddled with remorse and having sent so many in the waiting arms of the Nazis?

I plan to read more on this subject....there are biographies out on various SOE F agents, a few movies...not sure where I'll start.

Garbage Saga

We are a big family. We try not to have lots of garbage...but even without packaging there is a LOT of garbage.

I began doing a monthly co-op and thought nothing of leaving the boxes at the curb once a month. They didn't seem to mind.

I didn't make the connection when we began weekly produce co-op. I DID notice our garbage service was getting REALLY bad. I did notice an extra charge for extra cans. We began recycling. The garbage men didn't seem to note that we were trying and our service got worse and worse.....Last week I found our garbage cans TOSSED OVER OUR FENCE.

I instituted "operation suck up". I went to Sam's and bought 4 6 packs of Pepsi. Friday I MADE Jamin run out (this is way beyond his comfort zone but I was still in my robe) and give them 2 6 packs of Pepsi. They smiled. But look how they left our cans. I'm determined to change their image so that we become the "nice house with the soda and cookies" rather than "that house with all the boxes and extra garbage!"
This cracked us up! Not only are the cans NOT thrown in the alley or over the fence....they are in the right spot, but they were obviously nicely placed with handles all pointing out for our ease. ::snort:: We're making progress.

Slice of Family Life - Sunday Afternoon

2:20 p.m. 4 March 2007

Josiah - is at a graduation meeting.

Zander - Caught a family pig????

Stacia loves to play with our produce boxes
Beatrix spends more and more time laying in the sun

Jamin, possibly fearing I would never get around to it, made granola

Some sort of internation competition....Jared is Brittan, Nolan is Scotland, Arielle is Wales, Zander is Ireland...I have no clue but keep hearing things like "It's a Welsh Ball"....

I'm checking nutritional information for Popeye's. That must be the last fast food restaurant in America without healthy options. ARGH. I did take off the skin, I could have had a corn on the cob...but didn't see salads or fruit....fried, fried, fried. Oh well. While at the restaurant Stacia spilled TWO cups of soda on me - one landed on Jamin too.