Friday, April 26, 2013

Living History Lessons

Written by Benjamin, age 7:
"Aujour'dui en allen a soucy nous avons trouver une vrai, vrai grenade, nous avons du prévenire la police que nous avons trouver une grenade, de la geuur [guerre]...
les policiers di c'etes une vraie grenade il ont dit que cé tai une vraie grenade.
ils sont enelver la grenade, pour pouvoir aller à soucy en sécuriter."

And his English version:
"thursday we found a grenade. We did tell the police that we found a grenade. the police did look if it is a real grenade. the police said that it was a real grenade. The police did take out the grenade so that we can go to soucy safely."

From time to time, we walk on this dirt road that starts behind our neighborhood and goes all the way to the neighboring village of Soucy. Several months ago, we saw what we thought could be a grenade embedded in the path. But when we went back to mark the spot, we couldn't find it again.

So yesterday, we borrowed our friends' metal detector and went out to look for it. (Other noteworthy finds: an old piece of pottery of some sort, and a heavy piece of metal that could possibly be part of a leftover shell from the war, or something else, who knows.)

And we did find it. It looked like this when we found it. We had the kids pick up all the rocks they could find and set them on the side of the road to mark the spot. Then we went home, and called city hall, who said to call the police.

The police ("gendarmes," who are military) came within about 30 or 40 minutes. Frédéric walked up with them to show them where it was. They dug around it a bit (yikes) to make sure they weren't going to be calling the bomb squad out for a pétanque ball. When they uncovered the top of it, they quit digging and marked it with red and white striped tape tied around some rocks. (Contrary to Benjamin's story, the police did not take it out themselves.)

Then they left to let the mayor of our town know, and to ask the bomb squad to come out and take care of it. They told us it may take a week for the bomb squad to come out, so in the meantime we're letting the neighbors who use that road occasionally know so no one sets it off on accident. (I had written "by accident," but I changed it back to "on accident" for you, Dad. You're welcome.)

My friend Emiley's dad, who is an EOD technician, says it is a British mills bomb. It could have been from either WWI or WWII. Our area had significant activity during both wars.

Benjamin seemed less than impressed when I told him the grenade could be 70 or 100 years old, but he wrote the story last night, so maybe he was more impressed than he looked.


Top-of-the-Arch said...

Yike! I would not be so brave to even go near the spot. Not to be paranoid but sure wonder how many are hidden under the ground that we could not see.
Have a good weekend and hope you don't have any no more "history lessons" - haa haa.

Ryan said...

Or in Benjamin's Franglais:

"And we did find it. It did look like this when we did find it....Then we did go home, and did call city hall, who did say to call the police."


Xenia has a different problem. In Hungarian the 3rd person personal pronoun is genderless. So Xeni can never figure out in English whether to say "he" or "she".