Who is Chuck and why does he like to travel?

I was born to be a writer and when I wrote my novel Wild Point Island, Chuck, my orange and white recently rescued feral tabby, got it in his head that he wanted to travel to the island and see the place for himself. Well, of course, Wild Point Island, can only be seen by revenants (you'll have to read the book to find out who they are) and Chuck is no revenant so instead, I concocted a plan to take Chuck with me when I travel around the world, which I do frequently. Not an easy task. First, I have to deflate the poor kid of all air, stuff him in my carry-on bag, remember to bring my portable pump, and when I arrive, I pump him back up. Ouch. But he's used to it by now and given the choice to either stay home in his comfy cat bed or get deflated, he pulls out his passport, ready to travel, every time.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Chuck Lured to Enigma Machine in France


              Chuck can usually be lured to a place he doesn’t want to go by the promise of a pretty girl OR a snack.  This time . . . when we were bound for The Peace Museum - a museum and war memorial in Caen, France - established in 1988, dedicated to peace and considered the best World War II museum in France . . . it was a machine that proved to be the ultimate allure. 

Chuck agreed to visit The Peace Museum because of a promise. Chuck would see one of the actual Enigma machines used by the Allies during World War II at Bletchley Park in England to crack the secret German code used during the transmissions.

It all started the year before when Chuck watched one of my favorite movies -- Enigma, starring Kate Winslet of Titanic fame.  The story of Enigma takes place during World War II in Bletchley Park, England.  A cryptanalyst returns to the park to help the codebreaking team regain their ability to break the German code used during their transmissions. Obsessed with his missing former girlfriend, he and his girlfriend’s roommate help to unravel the mystery of her disappearance.  

Enigma was co-produced by Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones who not only put up the cash to make the movie but also lent the movie use of his Enigma machine to add authenticity to the movie.  

When we arrive at the Museum, I tell Chuck-- be prepared to be wowed by the experience.  I’ve been warned that going through the museum is quite an experience.  Chuck, however, is of one mind.  He only wants to see the machine.  

He doesn’t much listen as I explain that the Peace Museum traces France’s role during World War I and World War II to stop the spread the Fascism and Nazism.  The museum’s displays capture “moments in time.” 

We pass an exhibit of nap sacks, helmets, and leather pouches.  I’m fascinated by this type of display and try to imagine the real people over 50 years ago who owned these objects. 

        We pass a brick wall with a poster and again I try to see myself on a deserted street, perhaps, in Paris, in an occupied city.  

         We pass the side of a building with graffiti and a bicycle, evocative of a, perhaps, secret meeting inside.

There are symbolic exhibits.  The river of red lights stand for all the Holocaust victims.  

When we FINALLY reach the Enigma machine, Chuck stands in rapt attention. He understands that during World War II, because the enemy created an elaborate code where one letter stood for another letter when they transmitted messages, breaking the code without the machine was almost impossible . . . because the possibilities for variations were endless.  

I stare long and hard at the Enigma machine, too.  It saved many Allied lives.  

Yeah, again for technology, even the 1943 style!


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