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    Avatar photovtsaogames

    In 1964 I broke my leg in a bicycle accident. The orthopedic ward was full so I ended up with some older gents in another section. One fellow with an Italian accent in his 60’s was next to me. His tale follows. He grew up in Trieste, which was an Austro-Hungarian city. He was drafted and had to learn 50 words of German to understand his officers. He told me of upbinden, a form of corporal punishment involving standing on a barrel with wrists tied behind to a post and then having the barrel kicked out. This was given  by the hour. If you passed out, you were doused to cold water to insure you appreciated the whole experience. He was sent to the eastern front and was captured in 1916. Later I assumed this was during the Brusilov offensive. He ended up becoming a servant for a wealthy family in Petrograd. When the Bolsheviks took power they left some jewels sewed into pillows and told him they’d be back soon. He went to the local Bolsheviks and told them where the jewels were. I guess that got him in good with them. In time he returned to Italy and became a union militant. The rise of Mussolini saw our chap flee Italy, ending up in Brooklyn, eventually in the hospital bed next to mine. I’m now a couple years older than he was when I met him.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

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