Never–seriously, never, did I think someone showing compassion for Nazi’s would get me all choked up. But, there I was this morning playing mailman with Cohen. This is when we take old pieces of mail and take turns delivering them to each other.
Some context before I continue: On Veteran’s Day (which my district kindly gives us for remembrance), I spent some time explaining why we had to call PaPaPa Jake and Other GaGaGa (Jake and Virginia Padesky). Keeping it non-violent and simple enough for a then almost-3-year-old, I explained to him that “a long time ago there were really mean people called Nazis and they were mean to other people, so Grandpa flew his plane to help stop them from being mean.” That was it. Several hours later, he looked at me real worriedly and asked, “they were boys or girls?” ‘Who?’ I wondered back. “The Mean Nazis.” So I went on to explain that there were lots of them and they were boys and girls and grownups and lots of people–all of which seemed to trouble him. I left it at that.
So, back to mailman. I’ll do my best to avoid storytelling and let the conversation tell the story itself.
Cohen: You say knock knock
Me: Knock Knock
Cohen: No, at my door
Me:(getting up and going to bedroom door) Knock Knock
Cohen: now give me the letter
Me: handing over the mail (an old postcard from Grandpa Jake with a B-26 and a brief history of his service on it)
Cohen: It’s from Santa!
Me: Oh, it is? Cool.
Cohen: Yeah, and its from papapajake–its his plane he flew to stop the mean nazis
Me:why yes it is!
Cohen: I want to see him fly his plane and stop the nazis
(considering the impossibility of this, but the desire to fulfill the request and further his interest in the whole thing, I consented and opened up YouTube and was amazed at how many hits “b-26” finds–I settled on an old army propaganda film about the “newest, fastest American bomber.)
Cohen: There’s papapajake’s plane!
Cohen: where he is?
Me: well, he’s not in this one, just his plane
Cohen: Oh, where the mean Nazi’s
(the footage is alternating between pilots, ombardiers, bombs falling from bombays, other planes and hazy pictures of the ground.)
Me: well, they’re on the ground
Cohen: why he up there stopping them?
Me: Well, on the ground, they’re dropping bombs to help stop them
Cohen: I want to see them
Me: Well you can’t they’re too far down.
Cohen: I want to see the mean nazi’s
(again, smart enough to know searching Nazi on youtube might not be the best idea, I settle on a reason.tv holocaust museum piece on nazi propoganda)
<footage of hitler in front of crowd>
Me: he’s the meanest Nazi
Cohen: who all they?
Me: They’re Nazis too
<hitler seigheil-ing a parade>
Cohen: They in the cars are nazis?
Me: yeah, I think they all are
Cohen: the beams fall on the people in the cars? (the fact he calls them beams tells you how little he knows about what a bomb does–he has literally NO context for what a bomb is or what it does)
Me: yeah, I suppose they might
Cohen: the beams fall on the girls, too?
Me: maybe, sometimes…
Cohen: <sad> oh.