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By Laura Moore
Special to The PREVIEW
My grandfather was a master toast maker. There was never a wedding or party that didn’t involve him making one of his famous speeches, riddled in wit, charm and humor.
He was an equally great storyteller and had great stories to spin. This is one of my favorites about the role he played as a low ranking officer in one of the most important moments in history, which he wrote about in a private memoir for his children and grandchildren:
“My comrades, the NCDUs, were a very junior group. The officer roster was something like one lieutenant, two j.g.s and thirty or so ensigns. I was a senior ensign, so I was included among the four officers who answered a call to report on board the U.S.S. ANCON to discuss the top secret business of the Normandy Invasion.
“Several truths became self-evident. The obstacles had to be cleared at low tide or at least before the tide covered the obstacles. The tide not only had to be low but rising to facilitate landing craft getting on and off the beach. It had to be daylight but not long after daybreak for the best concealment at sea. It was not our concern as to which month or year this show took place, but at an hour after daylight with a rising tide, there were only three of four days each month that worked according to the tide tables. Eisenhower agrees in his memoirs, mentioning our criteria as being compelling factors in the selection of both D Day and H Hour. After a few hours, it became evident that these fabulous ideas had to be put in writing. There were some notepads handy, but no one had anything to write with, except one. Little ole me happened to have a pencil and thus began writing the plan as the hours dwindled. Of course, we all know the draftsman has the key role in preparing any committee report. Unbelievably, that plan became the official plan for the Invasion of Normandy.”
My grandfather passed away in 2007, the year that “Hidden” was written. As time marches on, the events of World War II fade into the past. Those who experienced these devastating wars and the events that surround them are dying each year, and soon there won’t be anyone left to tell their stories.
I sat onstage during the world premiere of “Hidden” in 2007 and heard so many stories from the audience during the talk back. I heard about the American who was hidden along with 17 others in the home of a woman and her young daughter, whom he married after the war and who was sitting beside him in the audience. I heard stories of sisters hidden apart from each other, only to find one another 50 years later, and stories of loved ones left behind.
Soon, we won’t be able to hear these stories firsthand. And like the story that my grandfather told about claiming to pick D Day and H Hour, the story is so much richer when I can hear his voice telling it, complete with the twinkle in his eye.
Thingamajig Theatre Company hopes to see you at the May production of “Hidden: Stories of the Dutch Resistance,” where seven voices tell the stories of the people who hid and were hidden during the Holocaust. Join us as we open the door to stories from an era that only a few of our audience members will be able to account firsthand. Theatre is a community experience; it is a place to go to laugh, cry, sigh, think, remember and share with fellow audience members. We hope you come experience this with us and we hope you will tell us your stories.
The Champagne Opening is on May 10 and tickets include food drink and a not-to-be missed opportunity to talk back with the cast after the show. Tickets to the opening are $30 in advance and $35 at the door.
Regular tickets are $18 in advance or $25 at the door. Tickets for members of groups of 10 or more are $16 and a special rate for “Hidden” groups of 20 or more are only $10. Groups must book together and be paid in full in advance as one reservation over the phone or in person.
“Hidden” runs Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. from May 10 through May 26. Tickets can be purchased online at www.pagosacenter.org or by calling 731-7469.
The play is appropriate for ages 12 and up.