Magazine article America in WWII

Fifi, Mildew, and Wrinkly Fabric

Magazine article America in WWII

Fifi, Mildew, and Wrinkly Fabric

Article excerpt

IT'S GREAT TO READ ABOUT HISTORY! As publishers of a magazine we heartily encourage you to do just that. But I'll admit (grudgingly) that there are things you can't learn from a magazine, or from a book or video. For those things, you need to get out of the house and go to an event like the annual World War II Weekend at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania.

For many of the past 13 years, Heidi (my wife and my boss) and I have spent the first weekend of June at the World War II Weekend. Most of the time we're at our table in the hangar, meeting people and selling magazines and special issues. But we take turns sneaking out to explore. That's when we discover things about World War II and the 1940s that we couldn't know any other way.

Take Fifi for instance. You can read about a B-29 Superfortress, look at pictures and diagrams, even watch a video clip online. But when you see Fifi in all her metallic glory, dwarfing the proud B-17s, B-25s, and other warbirds around her, you feel the shock WWII-era people must have felt encountering these giant bombers for the first time. And yet when Fifi takes to the sky, her supple grace is astonishing.

Even something as simple as a trusty army tent has things to teach. You smell the canvas, the rope guy lines, and the inevitable mildew. These were the aromas (or odors, depending on your perspective) of home away from home for service men and women.

Even closer to home is the WWII and 1940s clothing, modeled by living history folks throughout the World War II Weekend. …

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