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BBHQ Boomer Essays:

The Battle of Goofy

Our Boomer-In-Charge at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes about boomer memories and current events... from a boomer's perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, some-
times a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

The Battle of Gettysburg started as a conflict over shoes. While vacationing with his army of 70,000 of the south’s finest in Pennsylvania (let the record show: SOUTH Pennsylvania) during the summer of 1863, Confederate General Robert. E. Lee heard that there was a large supply of shoes housed in the little town of Gettysburg. As a distant relative of Imelda Marcos, the acquisition of shoes was often on the general’s mind. (After all, with the next season of “American Idol” 140 years away, what else was there to think about?) So, off he and his 70,000-man army marched.


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OK, we admit to a little subterfuge here. We're presenting a short history lesson this week. This essay falls into the category of education. An understanding of U.S. history is very important. But we know that if we promoted the essay as such, most of you would be afflicted with the MEGO ("My Eyes Glaze Over") syndrome. So we titled the essay "The Battle of Goofy" instead of "The Battle of Gettysburg." We did that mostly to get your attention.

But we make no apologies. We're going to make history fun this week... and yes, a bit goofy. And no, goofy has nothing to do with the species-conflicted character down the road at DisneyWorld. In this case, goofy means... well, just plain goofy.

Proving again that I march to the beat of a different drummer, a Google serach for "Battle of Gettysburg" will yield about 518,000 matches. "Battle of Goofy" will get you eight... until today, that is.

Most of you remember history as being taught by someone like Mrs. Jones, that straight-laced, formal, no-nonsense high school teacher. And yes, in my high school, Mrs. Jones was exactly that. This is my high school teacher, on the left, who just happened to be named Mrs. Jones.

But what you don't know is that, occasionally, outside of class, Mrs. Jones was quite the life of the party! Yes, that is she, on the right, too. It's a shame that she could not bring that life to the classroom. Because, history can be very exciting and a lot of fun. My evidence this week: the Battle of Gettysburg.

The Battle of Gettysburg took place two years after the Civil War began. It started as a conflict over shoes. While vacationing with his army of 70,000 of the south's finest in Pennsylvania (let the record show: SOUTH Pennsylvania) during the summer of 1863, Confederate General Robert. E. Lee heard that there was a large supply of shoes housed in the little town of Gettysburg. As a distant relative of Imelda Marcos, the acquisition of shoes was often on the general's mind. (After all, with the next season of "American Idol" 140 years away, what else was there to think about?) So, off he and his 70,000-man army marched.

Well, you just cannot drag a 70,000-man army through the hills of southern Pennsylvania without being spotted on at least a dozen web cams. So the Union army heard about Lee's plans and responded with 95,000 of its own troops. The resulting battle was inevitable. The outcome, however, was not.

General Lee was coming off a string of small victories, and was looking to make a bold move to wrap up this thing. If General Lee could whip the Union army in its own territory -- perhaps even taking Philadelphia -- he might be able to force President Lincoln into negotiating a settlement. The south gets an unlimited supply of Philly cheese steaks; in return, the slaves go free -- you know, something like that.

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