10 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Give Me Some Backstory

  1. Geneticist and Biological Chemist Herr Friedrich “Freddie” Strauss and his wife the famed Ethnologist Frau Inga Strauss married in 1931 on the grounds of the University of Bavaria Science Institute where they were both well established as eminent teachers in their fields.
    In 1939 the couple found their true life’s calling when they were, at the request of the Fuhrer himself, asked to apply their expertise in the purification of the Fatherland. From April 1939 until February 1945 they plied their highly skilled trade among the camps at Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec where they earned the titles Oberststurmfuhrer Tot (Commander Death) and Frau Schreckgespenst (Lady Nightmare).
    Their service to the fatherland was unexpectedly terminated upon the arrival of Allied forces.
    They will not be missed.

  2. Janet Blake graduated from Sweet Briar with an English degree, but before she graduated had taken enough electives for a second degree in science, but not for the degree, but because she found science fun. She became one of the most trusted typists assigned to Oppenheimer’s office for the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos. There she met Wayne Plainfield from Des Moines, Iowa. He had a degree in library science from Southern Illinois University and was head of the lending library maintained for employees at the top secret base. The couple married six months after they met in 1944. Janet was never acknowledged for her actions, but she saved the Manhattan Project countless delays and failures by pointing out “typos” in papers she was given to type. During the height of the Manhattan Project, Janet took it upon herself to find out if major figures directing the project talked in their sleep. After the war, they separated. Wayne became the librarian in Oxnard, California, and Janet became the aid to the senior Senator from Virginia.

  3. I never knew Mom and Dad were Russian spies until they were arrested. After all, the Cold War was over, the Soviet Union could be found in the ashes of failed autocracies, and the KGB, if still living through Mr. Putin, was more interested in protecting the Russian oil businesses. Right? Wrong!
    Dad was from Kiev and Mom grew up in Leningrad aka St. Petersburg. They grew up communists, but said they renounced that ideology the day Yeltsin stood on that tank and stared down the commies. They had migrated to America during that Yeltsin era, the new Glasnost when the new Russia and the old U.S. became buddies. Dad became a salesperson for a major pharmaceuticals firm and Mom became a schoolteacher so she’d have time off to be with us. Sis and I knew our last name was Russian, but in the great melting pot of the U.S., ethnic backgrounds seemed irrelevant. We grew up as normal, bratty teens, never knowing Mom and Dad were sleepers.
    Even when they were arrested, it was hard to understand what kind of information, if any, they were passing to their Russian masters. I mean, they seemed so dorky and naive! Sis was expecting the football team captain’s kid, and I was doing my thing with the weed and designer drugs, when the FBI came down en masse upon our suburban home one fall evening.
    I was doing homework with my window open to let the smoke out. I don’t know what Sis was doing–probably reading one of her stupid romance novels. The FBI interrupted our idyllic and dysfunctional family non-together time when the doorbell rang….
    (Thanks. I had fun with this. It’s loosely based on real events happening in our hometown of Montclair, NJ, a few years back.)

  4. Even after all these years Grandpa still complained about the fifty bucks he paid that cop and the other fifty he had to slip to the photographer. It was worth it though. The world and the cops bought the image of the bullet-riddled car hook, line, and sinker.

    I’ve kept their secret. We all pretend that I didn’t find the diary and that I don’t know. In public I call them Horace and Hazel, but in my heart I know their true names: Bonnie and Clyde.

  5. The reclusive Langston couple live two blocks from the corner intersection, Earl and Ivy Langston. They are both cat lovers and devotees of most anything TLC, “What Not to Wear,” “River Monsters” and most every “Hoarder” show. Mrs. Langston loves to bake pies, especially key lime, and is the first person to tell the kids to move their lemonade stand to the next street. She can’t concentrate on her Yahtzee game with those dang kids yelling outside. Mr. Langston is pretty easy-going – the missus is the one with the real temper – until you tell him that the Old Man in “Pawn Stars” won’t be doing his public book signing next week. He secretly fantasizes he IS the Old Man and wants to grumble, barter and low-ball prices for Xbox games at his local Best Buy. (He and the missus are addicted to World of Warcraft) They don’t have any children, never wanted them, they keep to themselves. They keep a very tidy lawn, purse their lips at the neighbors who don’t rake their fall leaves, and want to retire to Florida to open a bait shop someday. The mister of this union likes to indulge in a Batman fantasy, where he wears a black cape and nothing else, and the missus is the Commissioner Gordon’s wife, who agreed to have a torrid affair. They tape their blinds shut so no one can see into their bedroom. She works part-time at a florist shop and hates handling the roses because “the buggery little thorns get her,” and he works full-time as a banquet and wedding services administrator.

  6. Wow. Everybody’s feeling a little dark today. Must be Halloween hangover.

    Milton and Susanne Caspar were living a quiet life in Upper Tilsdale on Thames, he a fastidious account with a flare for amateur theatricals, she a popular teacher whose real passion lay in knitting cummberunds “for the war effort,” though the war had been over for years. But their life of quiet anonymity was shattered when Susanne won first place in a national Harry Potter Look-Alike Contest. The resulting 15 minutes of fame spiraled out of control, ending with her photograph being aired on TMZ as she emerged from a limo outside a hip new club in Hollywood. Milton, ever patient, knerw that one day she’d return. She never did.

    So I guess I’m a little dark at the end there myself.

  7. I betcha anything these are your folks! Or probably related to the Pope or is a pastor and his wife.

  8. What happened? Where did we go wrong with our Timmy? We thought he was studying architecture. Now, the only way we can see him is to get visas, bribe some people in the KGB, and travel to Minsk.

  9. LOL, you guys are great. Keep writing!

    Actually, I think this photo was of some missionaries, but I can’t remember why I have it in my files.

    Anyway, this shows the wonderful fields of your imaginations!

  10. Frank Bishop married Anne Payntor, the preacher’s daughter, the year he lost the Senate election in Massachusetts by 54 votes. His rise in the polls quickly put him on a political path and he ditched his life as a serial rapist and murderer.

    Now, after 20 years, he has another itch. The lovely Ms. Fench, the wife of the man running against him in the Gubernatorial race.

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