Monday, March 5, 2012

U Boat, Me Boat

I'm currently in Chicago, and I went to visit the Museum of Science and Industry this weekend, which is a great museum overall, but one I haven't been to in many years. I went there with a small boy who is obsessed with one of the exhibits--the U-505 submarine that is on display in a special wing of the museum.

The U-505 was captured from the German navy (Kriegsmarine) in 1944 by the U.S. navy, and is one of only five U-boats from the era that exist in the world today (above water, that is--many were sunk by Allied ships and submarines). It is on display in tact, and you can even take a tour of the inside of it, complete with lights and sound effects that make you feel like you're in a real submarine in wartime. It was pretty cool.

I was personally fascinated by the sub--I'm a sucker for WWII history, and submarine movies in particular are among my faves in the suspense genre. But, the best part was touring the sub with a kid. It was so much fun to watch him growing excited about the exhibit, and to get to play along. As an adult, it seems like you're supposed to nod thoughtfully and stroke your chin and walk steadily, taking in all the sights in a calm grown up fashion, rather than racing through the exhibit making submarine churning noises and acting out dramatic explosions. The kid way is better.

I've learned I can use the excuse of being a children's writer to get away with doing fun, silly things like getting my picture taken with the U-505's anchor. Lots of kids were doing it, but no adults. Some people looked at me strangely when I made my way through the flock of children to get my turn. Well, fine. Be that way. I don't mind being thought of as childlike, and I hope that I can always keep that fun, silly spirit alive in myself. It makes the whole world seems like a better adventure!

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