Gas Mask Bag

Out of nowhere
I heard the shutter click
It made me feel real nervous
It made me feel real sick

Deep inside the gas mask bag
An eerie light did glow
A mannequin hand with camera
Put on quite a show

That bag forgotten long ago
It was from World War One
Twas used to fight off mustard gas
The Battle of Verdun

The field photographer
Who didn't shoot a gun
Shot dead soldiers bodies
Battlefield on the run

He almost nearly made it
Across the wooded knoll
And down the steep embankment 
To his safe fox hole

The German fired only once
He had a dead end sight
It struck him in the abdomen
On that fateful night

My Father was from Stuttgart, and my Grandfather came to America in 1924 before his family – then sent for the two boys but not their daughter. Oddly – my Grandmother (Widmann from Langenargen – with connections to Switzerland) “gave” her daughter to her sister – who couldn’t have children – and my Aunt became part of the Hitler Youth – and hated every minute of it. She must have acted up – because she was sent to America when she was 14 – as the Nazi Party was rising but before WWII. My Uncle was “illegitimate” – born out of wedlock and before my Grandfather married my Grandmother.

My Grandfather was in WWI – and was a pacifist who laid down in his foxhole and never killed anyone – not sure if he even fired his machine gun. My Father was in WWII – and enlisted twice – he hated Hitler and wanted him dead. He also never had to kill anyone. He wanted to learn to be a pilot in the Air Force – but they rejected him on the grounds he was born in Germany and thought he could be a sympathizer. Instead – because he was a machinist – they had him fix tanks several clicks behind the front lines. He told me the hillbillies from West Virginia were the craziest and fiercest fighters – they drank like crazy and lived to kill.

Pretty amazing family story, eh?

The lyrics and music are not matched – but somewhat related – both are stacked with historical references. The song is an older song – but like my photography – I’m finding the old “gems” stack up to my best efforts now. I guess you could say its an introspection into my art and music to see what is good and what stinks. I’d say about 20% of everything I do makes me very happy and satisfied and the rest are the stepping stones required to get there. Call it the “inverse 80/20 rule” – hehehhe. Since I am a computer programmer – dealing with data for the last 42 years – I guess I like to have this analytical information. I feel its a gift that I actually can realize what I set out to do with my art and music – when I was in my 20’s I was such a wannabe – honestly – I was one step away from being a poseur – as I did not have the focus to put in the work as I have with my photography or more recently – music.

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