| Sam stood in front of the picture box display hanging in the museum. Everything in the case belonged to him. He carried it and cherished it all of his free adult life. Through the years he’d kept it safely hidden as a pirate would treasure his booty. Sam longed to touch it once more, maybe even to play it for the last time. His fingers slid over the cool glass. He nodded; his smile vanished as the memories washed over him. He leaned heavier on his cane. His head dropped, his shoulders drooped, his body slowly gave in and released the memories that he’d kept hidden for so long. He remembered the band of men that made it out. The band of just a few that came home to live, while others suffered and died in that horrible camp.
Brittany hovered in the doorway of the exhibit room. She made sure that Sam’s private viewing afforded him the time to process his donation. Brittany grew up next door to Mr. Sam and Mrs. Mary, back in the days when neighbors visited and the kids all played together outside. Brittany had listen to Mr. Sam’s story so many years ago. She knew he was reliving the actual events in his mind’s eye, just like she was reliving that afternoon in the attic when he told her the story.
She quietly walked up to Sam, and put her arm around him to support him. “Let’s go to the rocking chair, Mr. Sam.”
He shuffled over to the rocker with her assistance, plopped down and started to rock. Brittany kneeled on the floor in front of him. Just like the first time she heard the story. Gently, she patted his knee. “Mr. Sam?”
“I’ve never told anyone that story, you know. It just didn’t seem right. Brittany, it was so horrible. Nobody should remember those days."
“That’s where you’re wrong, Mr. Sam. The fact that you’re here, the fact that your son is about to be sworn in as president, the fact that this simple plot saved so many lives is all important. By donating your Monopoly Game and all of your artifacts, you’re honoring the people that made your escape possible. Mr. Sam, think about how different things would be if they hadn’t done that.”
“You’re starting that reference to “It’s A Wonderful Life” again. Gee, Brittany, can’t you think of a different argument?”
“It worked didn’t it?” she laughed, and Mr. Sam cracked a smile.
“Yes, it did dear, yes it did.” Sam sighed and rocked back and forth in the rocker.
Brittany stood up. “Mr. Sam, are you going to be alright? I have a couple of things I need to check on.” He nodded, so she turned and walked to her office, leaving Mr. Sam to rest before the opening.
Brittany’s staff worked diligently for months finding a variety of artifacts that supported the simple idea of transporting items necessary for escape to prisoners of war in a simple board game. A room filled with maps of different Nazi prison camps, small carvings and mementoes saved by so many survivors, Secret Service documents, so censored that it was like reading hieroglyphics before the Rosetta Stone filled out exhibit, with her most honored artifact sitting in the rocking chair, Mr. Sam.
Alright, on to Phase two of the plan for the opening this afternoon, she thought to herself as she entered her office. She contacted the manufacturer John Waddington, Ltd., of the special edition of Monopoly after Mr. Sam agreed to donate his artifacts. After weeks of researching, jumping through legal hoops, and numerous phone calls, she’d managed to find a ‘charity worker’ that delivered the special Monopoly games for the Secret Service to service men in a variety of Nazi prison camps. From the letters and phone calls, Brittany believed she actually found one of the ladies that delivered the games to Mr. Sam’s prison camp. Camille Dante arrived earlier and waited patiently in Brittany’s office.
She sat on the sofa. Her white hair, wrinkled face, and age spotted hands led one to believe that Camille was an ancient, but her spirit was as young and vibrant as any thirty year old. She worked for the Secret Service during the war, and she was proud of the work she did for them. She kept a wonderful diary, filled with details that if the Nazis prevailed, she easily could have been charged with treason. Brittany wasn’t sure that Mrs. Dante would ever give up the diary, but she planted the seeds and hoped that one day it would be part of the exhibit.
Camille’s daughter sat in the winged chair beside her mother, reading the diary that her mother had written during the war. It was her first reading, and she was amazed by her mother’s youthful antics. While she read she searched for the names of the prisoners of war in Stalag Luft 1, where her mother had delivered Monopoly games created especially for them. She found Lt. Sam Green, Christmas Eve as Brittany walked into the room. She looked up, with her finger under the text. “Here he is!”
Brittany couldn’t believe it. The lady that had delivered Sam’s means of escape sat in her office, while Sam rocked quietly down the hallway. She was overjoyed that they would finally meet again.
Mr. Sam tired of rocking in the exhibit room surrounded by his memories, slowly got up out of the rocker, and decided to find Brittany.
“Pops, I figured you’d be with Brittany. I guess I spoiled her surprise.”
The two men hugged, “I think I did, Son, she left me in the exhibit room. I’m the one wandering around.”
“Well, surprise! I wouldn’t have missed this for the world, Dad.”
“How did you find out? Well, never mind, that Brittany.”
“Still want to find her?”
“I sure do, I think I’ll tell her it isn’t good to shock an old man.”
Rounding the corner, Brittany crashed into her childhood buddy. “Oh, I’m so sorry, Scott. Uh, I mean Mr. President, sir.” She blushed, embarrassed by how flustered she suddenly became. “I’m so glad you came. Sam is in…”
“No, I’m not,” Mr. Sam peeked around his son’s shoulder. “Young lady, I have a thing or two to tell you.” Sam shook his finger at Brittany. Then Sam spied the ladies walking up to Brittany. The finger that was fussing at Brittany suddenly pointed to the senior lady in the hall. “I know you. You,” his mind was struggling to put a place to the face. “You brought the game. Oh, my goodness, did you even know what you were carrying?”
“I sure did.” Camille winked and smilled at Sam.
Mr. Sam offered her his arm as they walked to the opening of the exhibit honoring the operative that saved his life, which then allowed him to meet the love of his life, raise a future president and have a rascally little neighbor girl that brought them all together.
Prompt:Meeples Fun and Games - Week 1 Monopoly- In 1941 the British Secret Service had John Waddington Ltd., the licensed manufacturer of the game outside the U.S., create a special edition for World War II prisoners of war held by the Nazis. Hidden inside these games were maps, compasses, real money, and other objects useful for escaping. They were distributed to prisoners by secret service-created fake charity groups. This was the first "special issue" of the game. (Source: Wikipedia)