Monday, October 27, 2008

On Sunday the sun was warm and brilliant.  I was sitting at a picnic table with a man with whom I'd just filmed an interview.  He was reminiscing about interviewing he'd done himself years ago as a merchant marine.  He'd been set the task of tracking down and recording conversations with men who'd been part of a submarine surveillance program during WWII.  

"The military had commissioned sailing yachts all along the coast.  Each guy would sail around in a 15 square mile box, climbing up the mast to look for sign of U-boats.  And they saw them, too."

Of course decades later the men were long scattered, but he'd manage to track down one, who'd know of a couple of others, and those would know of one or two more.  

He said, "My favorite part was when I'd say, 'Well, Joe Bates said that . . . '  And the old man would say, 'You talked to Joe Bates!?  He's still kickin'?  You don't have his phone number do you?'  And, I'd say, 'Yup, I've got it right here.'  And these guys were just so tickled to find out what the others were up to and get back in touch with them after so many years."