Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Adventures with the Military and the Top Shelf Flea Market by the Kyles


This past weekend Girl Kyle and I went to an open house at the Otis Air Force Base. The purpose of the open house was to let people see some of the barracks and the equipment being used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also there was a section where historical re-enactors set up recreations of a camp from their time period. There was a Civil War camp, both Union and Confederate soldiers; and a World War II camp, both American and German soldiers. I have to say that while I understand that someone always has to play the villain role, I don't think I could ever get into the mindset of portraying a Nazi, at least in a re-enactment capacity. I think it's just the idea of having to collect Nazi memorabilia in my spare time. There was a mock battle put on by the World War II re-enactors and it was great fun to watch. But at the same time it made me feel very uncomfortable. It had nothing to do with the people portraying the soldiers, it was actually the people who gathered to watch. I could see that the people participating in the skirmish were very serious about what they were doing and they had a healthy respect for what it was that they were doing. However there were several spectators, young and old, who had the attitude of "this is going to be awesome, I can't wait to see all those guys die!" It had a bit of a Roman Colosseum feel and it really upset me. For that reason I don't think I'd ever be able to do what those re-enactors do.
After the battle was over, we wandered to the modern barracks. There wasn't much to look at, just temporary housing mostly. But there were soldiers wandering around who are currently enlisted. I couldn't help thinking that it was entirely possible, even likely that these men and women could be overseas before Christmas. And that not all of them would make it home. It was a very heavy day for me and even though it's good to get some perspective now and again, I was grateful that I could leave the base, get a drink and go back home to watch Big Bang Theory. And it's because of the sacrifice of all the soldiers represented there, from the Revolutionary War to the present day, that I am able to enjoy the banalities of every day life.

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Moving on to a more lighthearted topic, last Sunday was the Top Shelf Flea Market in Somerville. It was a small gathering of local vintage clothing merchants who brought items from their shops and sold them at pretty steep discounts. I was able to procure a splendid cotton bow tie for $7. I've recently started a quest to start dressing even more like an adult than I already do and regularly wearing a shirt and tie is part of the plan. There was a lot less at the flea market than I anticipated but it was still fun to see all the vintage clothing.
After leaving the market, we had lunch at Redbones; a barbecue restaurant with an impressive beer selection, including an Imperial version of one of our favorite beers, Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale. The food was great and the beers were even better. I found out the next day that my boss' old shop was right around the corner from Redbones so we'll have to check it out the next time we're in the neighborhood.

I (Girl Kyle) had a different experience than the other Kyle during the open house at Otis. My family and I did Civil War reenacting for about 7 years. I haven't been to a reenactment since we stopped participating so it was nice to see the encampments and the soldiers and campfires and things like that. My mom and I portrayed soldiers and participated in the battles. Surprisingly there were a fair amount of women soldiers in the ranks (this is becoming more and mo
re popular which I definitely approve). I have never been to a World War II reenactment before and I've always wanted to go. This was a great opportunity for me to see what they do and how they set up camp. I agree with Kyle, it was unsettling to see the Nazi flag waving about in the German camp. I personally wouldn't feel comfortable portraying the Nazis. But I guess someone has to do it. They had some really cool items out on display. They had lots of tanks and motorcycles and jeeps. During the battle that we saw they actually used the tanks which was very surprising. The battle was very exciting. I haven't seen a reenactment battle in quite a long time. I'm always the one in the battle. It's a completely different experience watching a battle happen rather than being in it. Watching a battle happen can be very emotional for me. It's really hard to watch something that you know happened in real life and many people were killed because of it. It's really easy to separate yourself from that idea while you're in the battle. It's a lot of fun and typically you know a lot of the people involved so it's like playing war on the playground. But when you're outside of it and just a spectator, you can see what it really looked like and how horrible it must have been to be involved in it. I can understand other people's excitement watching the fake battle but they should remember that what they're watching happened in real life. People were killed, families were ruined. It's easy to forget that when you're emotionally detached. Seeing the modern soldiers walking around was hard for the same reasons that Boy Kyle said. They are involved in a real war. The other people are just portraying people in war, they won't have to be shipped out a couple months from now. So while the day was fun, it was also heartbreaking.

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