Notebook of Sand

• Recent Publications
• Recent Projects
• Conferences & Speaking
"Comparing Spatial Hypertext Collections"
  ACM Hypertext '09
"Archiving and Sharing Your Tinderbox"
  Tinderbox Weekend London '09
"The Electronic Nature of Future Literatures"
  Literary Studies Now, Apr '09
"The World University Project"
  St. John's Col. Cambridge, Feb '09
"Ethical Explanations,"
  The New Knowledge Forge, Jun '08
Lecture, Cambridge University
  Tragedy in E-Lit, Nov '07
Hypertext '07: Tragedy in E-Lit
Host for Tinderbox Cambridge '07
Keynote: Dickinson State Uni Conf
Upper Midwest NCHC'07: Speaker
eNarrative 6: Creative Nonfiction
HT'05: "Philadelphia Fullerine"
  Nelson award winning paper
NCHC '05:
 Nurturing Independent Scholarship
Riddick Practicum:
  Building Meeting Good Will
NCHC '04:
  Philadelphia Fullerine
  Lecture on American Studies
WWW@10: Nonfiction on the Web
NCHC '03: Parliamentary Procedure
ELL '03 -- Gawain Superstar
• (a)Musing (ad)Dictions:

Ideas. Tools. Art. Build --not buy. What works, what doesn't. Enjoy new media and software aesthetics at Tekka.

Theodore Gray (The Magic Black Box)

Faith, Life, Art, Academics. Sermons from my family away from home: Eden Chapel!

My other home: The Cambridge Union Society (in 2007, I designed our [Fresher's Guide])

The Economist daily news analysis

Global Higher Ed blog

• Hypertext/Writing

Writing the Living Web

Chief Scientist of Eastgate Systems, hypertext expert Mark Bernstein. (Electronic) Literature, cooking, art, etc.

Fabulous game reviews at playthisthing.

• Stats

Chapter I: Born. Lived. Died.

There is a Chapter II.

Locale: Lancaster County Pa, USA

Lineage: Guatemala

Religion: My faith is the primary focus of my life, influencing each part of me. I have been forgiven, cleansed, and empowered by Jesus Christ. Without him, I am a very thoughtful, competent idiot. With him, I am all I need to be, all I could ever hope for. I oppose institutional religious stagnation, but getting together with others is a good idea. God is real. Jesus Christ is his Son, and the Bible is true. Faith is not human effort. It's human choice. I try to be the most listening, understanding, and generous person I can.

Interests: Anything I can learn. Training and experience in new media, computer science, anglophone literature, education, parliamentary debate, democratic procedure, sculpture, and trumpet performance. Next: applied & computational linguistics, probably.

Education: Private school K-3. Home educated 4-12. Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Elizabethtown College in Jan 2006. As the 2006 Davies-Jackson Scholar, I studied English at St. John's College, Cambridge University from 2006 - 2008.

Memberships: Eden Baptist, Cambridge Union Society, ACM, AIP, GPA.

Alum of the Elizabethtown College Honors Program, sponsored by the Hershey Company.

I wasn't no hero
Wednesday, 16 Nov 2005 :-: [soundtrack]

When you ask George DePuydt about his involvement in World War II and his Purple Heart, he's quick to tell you, "I wasn't no hero."

How did George get a purple heart? His son Peter DePuydt writes:

Regarding the Purple Heart my Dad received at Monte Cassino. He told me that they were getting ready to cross the Rapido River into battle. He said he was talking to man from another tank who was about 5 feet way when a bomb landed (mortar shell?). The explosion knocked my Dad down and he was hit with some small pieces of shrapnel; the other soldier was disemboweled by the blast. My Dad said he just stood up and could not believe he was still alive. He still mentions how in war one man can survive things like that and someone right next to him is not so fortunate. When he told me this, I said that they were probably out having a cigarette, and he agreed!

Maybe Mr. DePuydt downplays his own role because he remembers the men who didn't make it.

Company B of the 753rd Tank Battalion lost 28 men killed in World War II. A company of tanks had approximately 75 men when at full strength. So you can see that it was seriously dangerous duty being in a tank with the infantry at “the tip of the spear,” as the military historians describe it. I have attached a picture of my Dad with one of his tanks. Notice all of the sand bags strapped to it for extra protection. Under-armored vehicles are not new to the war in Iraq.

One of George DePuydt's own crewmembers (shown in the photo in the previous post) died during the war: Harold Uhlrich. George and Harold were good friends.

I'll let Pete tell the rest of the story:

In the summer of 2004, I was visited my Parents. While I was there I took some of my Dad’s World War II pictures over to a cousin’s house to scan them. When I returned, my Dad asked me if I had scanned the photo with Uhlrich, and I said I had it on the CD.

During the years he often mentioned his friend Harold Uhlrich, but on this occasion he told me something I had not heard before.

When Harold died, he left behind a wife and a baby daughter who was 2 years old. My dad said that at the end of the war he had wanted to go to see Uhlrich’s family and tell them what had happened to him. But Dad had been away from my mom for 3 years, plus he didn’t have a job or a car. Remember, in those days there were no freeways either, so road trips could really be time consuming. However, I think the main goal was to try and get on with life. My dad never made the trip to Dubuque, Iowa to see Uhlrich’s family.

So I filed that away in the back of my mind, until the fall of 2004, when I started wondering about whether I could help my Dad complete that trip. So, to make a long story somewhat shorter, I did a little Internet sleuthing, and by luck (or Divine intervention?), Uhlrich’s daughter was found in Arizona. She was thrilled to see the picture and wanted to talk with my Dad. I called him and he said he would be happy to speak to her, so they had a nice telephone conversation, from what I was told. She did not meet with him in person. She called me after talking to my Dad, and said they never knew much about the circumstances of Harold’s death.

From what my Dad tells me, here is the story. They could see some Germans off in the distance from a ridge where their tank was parked. Harold got out of the tank with a pair of binoculars to get a better look, when he was shot by a sniper in the upper leg of the groin area. The bullet severed the artery. The tank crew tried to stop the bleeding while a medic was called on their radio. They took Harold away to a field hospital, and later found out that he died. At least his family learned that he wasn’t alone, and people who cared about him were there at his moment of truth.

So, in closing, I once mentioned to my Mom that these World War II pictures look like they are from the History Channel, and she replied “that’s because they are!”

--Pete DePuydt

Today's soundtrack: "America the Beautiful", performed by the USAF Singing Sergeants.

O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife.
Who more than self the country loved
And mercy more than life!