March 20th, 2011
On Hatteberg's People - When generations merge good things happen. And it is, right now happing in Lindsborg, Kansas. Ann Parr had an idea for a book project. The idea was to have students interview the generation that experienced WWII. She thought both might gain insight, and more important, some history might be saved. History from the mouths of the people who lived it.
Warren Webster, "We all have different stories. They are old memories that I hadn't thought about in years."
Elaine Ragan, "You have to know that I was eleven years old when World War Two started out."
And so a lifetime has passed since then. And now in Lindsborg, Kansas, a creative and cutting edge Swedish community the Vision-Tek Building is where, now, generations meet.
"Were they getting kind of cocky?"
"Well, they were headed that way, but they go sidetracked."
Vision_Tek is a partnership between the school system and the town to bring computer technology to everyone.
Ann Parr was in need of a location for her idea to bring students together with those from the World War Two generation so their stories could be saved.
Ann Parr, “Senior citizens would be partnered with students, in this case sixth graders, and the vehicle would be stories about the senior writers experiences in World War Two.”
So Ann's project coincided perfectly with Marla Elmquist, who heads Vision_Tek. She was enthused about helping the community become more involved with the school system's computers.
Marla Elmquist, "The other day, I told Ann it's almost hard to picture what World War Two was and what it is all about, but for some reason, we've gotten closer and closer and we've found out it's not one big picture, but millions of little tiny pictures and those are all stories of the people who lived through that time."
Maxwell Howe, "Did you have to learn Morse Code?"
Don Ferguson, "Oh yes."
That's 90 year old Army veteran Don Ferguson teamed up with eleven-year-old Maxwell Howe.
Maxwell Howe, "After meeting with people, they are so nice and so kind and they have really good stories."
Don Ferguson "Well, he sure seems interested, and after all, we got bombed fifty-six nights in a row, but what they were really after were airplanes."
Ann Parr "The senior citizens come in here and they are laughing about something or they are sharing something that is very deep and the kids respond in 'like' ways. It's been wonderful."
"So was it fun dealing with planes and making them?"
At another table 91-year-old Mary Holmquist is working with 12 year-old Lindsey Johnson.
Mary Holmquist, "I need something to do anyway and this is fun."
Lindsey Johnson, "People are really nice and it is interesting to hear all their stories."
So as the writer's project continues -- in the end, books like these will be published of each person's World War Two story. Ann Parr and Marla Elmquist on a mission to make sure the people and their stories live on for future generations to know the sacrifices and the service of the people who lived it.