Terry* has been gone now from our factory for about a year. A turn of good fortune in his family allowed him the resources to say goodbye to heavy metal manufacture and to return with his wife to his beloved Newfoundland. Hard worker. Trustworthy in detail. Avid reader. Avid crossword puzzle solver. Dry humourist. Lover of all of Canadian history. And in the last couple of years in his long stay with us, a deeply depressed man needing a break. His very silent withdrawal had been a sad thing to watch, as were some ill-deserved upsets with authorities.
One of the books I watched Gary read over lunches was The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (2006). I got a chance to see the movie. This week I picked up a copy of the book. Only 216 pages. Tells the story of nine year old Bruno whose family get promoted to leadership on the “Fury’s” say-so at a strange Camp that Bruno calls “Out-With” (obviously Fuhrer and Auschwitz).
For a lot of young boy’s reasons he is disappointed with the move from his beloved Berlin and from Grandfather and Grandmother. And Grandmother is appalled with the development. Eventually in secret he takes to exploring his whereabouts, and discovers the barbed-wire fence and the nine year old in the striped pajamas named Shmuel, sitting in the dirt cross-legged and opposite. A friendship ensues; a slow realization of the darkness of adults and of nationalism and a heart-wrenching conclusion that wounds us all.
Now why had I caught wind of this tragic and needful eye-opener from my friend Terry*?
You can probably hazard a guess, and you must, you MUST, share with me from the riches of one wounded, largely misunderstood and possessing purchase.
(*not the man’s real name)