Monday, May 27, 2013

Hidden History: The Other Internment Camps

I think everyone is familiar with the disgraceful legacy of internment camps for Americans of Japanese descent during World War II.  However, if you're like me, you probably didn't know that internment camps existed for German and Italian Americans, as well.  

Family of Ludwig Eberhardt. Eberhardt was interred at Camp Kenedy in Texas

The World War II experience of thousands of German Americans, to most,  is an unknown.  During World War II, the U.S. government and many Americans viewed German Americans and others of "enemy ancestry" as potentially dangerous, particularly immigrants.  The government used many interrelated, constitutionally questionable methods to control persons of German ancestry, including internment, individual and group exclusion from military zones, internee exchanges, deportation, repatriation, "alien enemy" registration, travel restrictions and property confiscation.
 The human cost of these civil liberties violations was high.  Families were disrupted, if not destroyed, reputations ruined, homes and belongings lost.  By the end of the war, 11,000 persons of German ancestry, including many American-born children, were interned. 
 Pressured by the United States, Latin American governments collectively arrested at least 4,050 German Latin Americans.  Most were shipped in dark boat holds to the United States and interned.  At least 2,000 Germans, German Americans and Latin American internees were later exchanged for Americans and Latin Americans held by the Third Reich in Germany.
Apparently, this is one of those historical facts shrouded in secrecy.  To learn more, as well as read personal stories,  visit The Freedom of Information Times.

Is this a part of history you're familiar with?  If so, how did you learn about it?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bad Girls: Fun to Write, Fun to Hate!

I finally finished edits on Masquerade and just sent the manuscript off to my proof reader--who happens to be my amazing mother-in-law!  She catches errors 999 people out of 1000 would miss.

Yesterday, when I talked to her about the manuscript, I mentioned my bad girl, Lavinia. Lavinia was certainly a fun character to write, and my mother-in-law and I agreed that it's enjoyable to read about a character you love to hate! This brought to mind the chilling movie Leave Her to Heaven, a 1945 film adapted from a novel by the same name, written by Ben Ames Williams.

There's a major bad girl in this narrative, on film portrayed by the beautiful Gene Tierney.  According to Wikipedia, "The story revolves around a femme fatale who entraps a husband and commits several crimes motivated by her insane jealousy over everything concerning him."

In order to be really bad, there's got to be an element of mental illness. My character, Lavinia, is no doubt crazy, as is Tierney's psychopathic Ellen Berent.  A review of the movie Leave Her to Heaven follows from Rotten Tomatoes:  
Gene Tierney portrays a beautiful but unstable woman who marries successful novelist Cornel Wilde. Tierney wants to spend all her time with her new husband, but finds it impossible to do so thanks to his work and the frequent visits of family and friends. When Wilde's crippled younger brother (Darryl Hickman) comes to the couple's summer house to stay, Ms. Tierney indirectly causes the boy to drown. Later, upon discovering that she's pregnant, Tierney deliberately falls down the stairs, choosing to miscarry rather than share her husband's affections with an infant. When it becomes clear that family friend Jeanne Crain is attracted to her husband, Ms. Tierney commits suicide, making her death appear to be murder and framing Crain for the "crime." In court, Ms. Crain is mercilessly grilled by prosecuting attorney Vincent Price, who happens to be Tierney's ex-lover! 
Creepy, chilling, tragic and worth watching!  Have you ever seen Leave Her to Heaven? Who are some of your favorite bad girls in books and movies?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Merle Oberon's Secret

One of my favorite movies is the 1939 film version of Wuthering Heights, starring the extraordinarily beautiful Merle Oberon, a talented actress during the 1930s and '40s.

As Mother's Day has just passed, I must say, I find it sad the way Miss Oberon treated her own mother--her dark skinned mother--by passing her off as a servant. Throughout her lifetime, Merle Oberon kept her ethnic origin a secret. says "Merle Oberon earned an Oscar nod for her acting in 1935’s “The Dark Angel” and more recognition for playing Cathy in 1939’s Wuthering Heights. But off screen, Oberon feared that her secrets would be exposed. She wasn’t solely white nor was she born in Tasmania like actor Errol Flynn, as she told people. Actually, she was born in India to an Indian mother and an Anglo father. Rather than disown her mother, though, Oberon passed her off as a servant. When the actress visited Tasmania later in life, the press hounded her for details about her upbringing, forcing her to admit that she wasn't born there. Still, Oberon did not confess to being Indian."

For a more in depth look into Merle Oberon's life and deceit regarding her origins, check out this article about the 2002 documentary "The Trouble with Merle".

Have you seen any of Merle Oberon's movies?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Easy Chicken and Rice

It seems like there's never enough time in the day, especially for cooking!  So here's something scrumptious that's easy and delicious from the Campbell's Kitchen.  It's also one of those comfort food standards that brings back memories of your mother's home-cooking.  Ah...  

My mom, as a matter of fact, gave me this recipe years ago.  I'd just graduated from library school, gotten a job in Georgia, and had my own apartment--I also didn't how to cook much of anything.

This is super easy for a busy day, but can also be served to dinner guests--it's that good! For better flavor, be sure to use Campbell's Soup, Lipton Onion Soup Mix, and Minute Rice, not the store brands. Also, if you don't like mushrooms, you can use cream of chicken, cream of asparagus or cream of broccoli soup.


Easy Chicken and Rice

8 chicken thighs (I use boneless/skinless)
2 10 3/4 oz. cans Campbell's cream of mushroom soup (fat free can be used)
2 2/3 cups milk (skim is fine)
2 2/3 cups Minute Rice
2 1 oz. packets Lipton Onion Soup
salt, pepper and paprika

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine, rice, soup, soup mix and milk.  Pour into baking dish. Place chicken on top of rice mixture.  Lightly sprinkle chicken pieces with salt, pepper and paprika.  Cover.  Bake for one hour covered. Uncover and bake 20-30 minutes longer.

Delicious can't get any easier!

Have you ever had this chicken and rice dish or a variation of it?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!