Straight from the Scullery

a blog about life, love, and the pursuit of food and happiness...

Friday, June 13, 2014

Place Stamp Here

June 13, 1920

I went to the post office the other day to ship off my latest eBay sale, and the sleepy postal worker behind the counter wanted to know if there was anything liquid, hazardous,  or perishable in the package to be mailed. No, it was just a pair of boots that I'd fit into a flat rate box that somehow ended up costing more than the "flat rate" by the time the questions were through. I have mailed (or had mailed to me) many things over the years. Brownies to my children at camp. My brother mailed a Foster's Lager to me for my sixteenth birthday (much to my parents' chagrin). Pike Place Market in Seattle has sent fresh salmon to me overnight. I have not (to this date) tried to ship my children anywhere, however; and I am not sure how they would qualify under the "liquid, hazardous, or perishable" stipulations.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!

June 12, 1987

As World War II ended, Germany was left with four different powers in charge. The United States, the UK, France, and the Soviet Union. The country itself was split by these occupations, as was the city of Berlin. Post-war plans included a path to self-sufficiency on the part of the Germans; however, the Soviets were not interested in complying with this agreement. Stalin's basic idea was to wait it out while the British and the Americans slowly left Germany, which would then leave nothing to stand in the way for communism to take over. 

Over the course of the late 40's and throughout the 50's, the grip on East Berlin tightened. The German Democratic Republic (GDR) was officially formed in 1949, a secret treaty was signed (not so secret once the Soviets gained full control over things) and East Germans began emigrating toward the west. Tens of thousands of East Germans left each year; by 1953 that number reached over 300,000; by 1953 that number reached over 300,000, and by 1961 the total was around 3.5 million.