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Fascinating True Stories from the Flip Side of History

Tag Archives: 1945

Gift of 4-Tons of Fertilizer

 

Everyone loves getting gifts, particularly very large ones. But sometimes bigger isn’t better. For example, consider the case of Norval H. Milliken, who lived on McAnulty Road in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For Christmas of 1945, someone gave him four tons (3628 kg) of fertilizer. A pink ribbon completed this unusual gift.

For a greeting card, “Merry Christmas and a Prosperous Summer” were crudely painted on some wood and wrapped in tissue paper. Someone was having a good laugh with this gift.

Milliken did do some gardening, but nothing on the scale of needing so much fertilizer. In addition, he asked his friends and members of his garden club if they had gifted him this stinky prize. None seem to know anything about it.

It took a bit of detective work on Milliken’s part, but he ultimately traced the gift back to an Army buddy who had recently been released from the service. His friend confirmed that he sent the manure.

Norval Milliken may have needed a manure spreader for the unusual Christmas gift that he received. Image is from the Massachusetts Digital Commonwealth collection.

Robert Oppenheimer Falls Asleep on His Date

 

Physicist Robert Oppenheimer’s name has long been synonymous with the development of the atomic bomb, but he wasn’t always good at dating. It was reported on December 8, 1945, that when he was much younger he had taken a girl out on a date and his car ran out of gas. Since it was a chilly night, he insisted that his date where his coat to stay warm.

So, Bob went to get some gas. His date waited an hour and he never returned, so she went to the police to inform them of his disappearance. The search for the missing Oppenheimer was not difficult. The police found him home asleep in his bed. He apparently forgot about his date and his car.

And to think we trusted him with nuclear weapons…

J. Robert Oppenheimer. Image from Wikipedia.

Her First Husband Was Still Alive

 

Just twelve days after the wedding between Ann Ross Birdwell and Jack Marshall, the couple received word that Jack’s nephew Gene was alive and was about to be released from a prisoner-of-war camp in Japan.

The problem was that Gene was not only Jack’s nephew, but he was also Ann’s first husband. After receiving word the previous October that her husband had been killed on a flight over Borneo, she decided to marry her late-husband’s uncle. Now she was in quite a pickle.

Eights days after receiving the news – on September 7, 1945 – the newlyweds had their marriage annulled by a judge in Kansas City. Ann was once again the legal wife of her first husband Staff Sergeant Gene D. Birdwell

Staff Sergeant Gene D. Birdwell
Staff Sergeant Gene D. Birdwell awaiting a physical at the Letterman Hospital in San Francisco. Image is on sale on E-Bay. Click on image to see full listing.

Operation Bodysnatch

 
Useless Information Podcast

At the end of World War II, the United States was faced with the task of reburying four bodies of former German nobility. Three members of the Monuments Men were assigned this task and ran into obstacle after obstacle.

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