Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My family connection to Vonnegut recedes, alas

In April, I posted this:
My family owns about 80 acres of woodland in Saluda County, S.C., acreage on which -- I grew up being told -- U.S. Army troops performed battlefield maneuvers as part of their training before being shipped overseas in World War II. The cabin used as a command headquarters was still standing in my youth, and we'd stay in it for a week or more each summer.
I found out this week that I had misremembered the family story. The battlefield maneuvers took place not in the mid-1940s but in the late 1950s, because my brother, Allen, born in 1944, remembers visiting the encampment with our father, and seeing the camouflaged soldiers emerging from the woods like ghosts. (My brother also reports the cabin is still standing, and in surprisingly good shape.)

So those maneuvers couldn't have been the ones narrated by Billy Pilgrim in Kurt Vonnegut's novel Slaughterhouse-Five, as I speculated earlier. Yes, the Trafalmadorians would say my sequence-of-events obsession is naively linear -- but the fiction vs. non-fiction distinction is a stumbling block, too.

I see now that my original post appeared April 1, but I didn't realize I was April-fooling, honest.

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