ABOUT PAPER CLIPS
The unexpected continually swirls around us. As an example I never expected that my world would be saved by a paper clip.
Unexpectedly, in 2017 at the American Association of Community Theater gathering in Rochester Minnesota I won a prize at an event drawing. It was a fascinating model of the Earth encased in an acrylic, transparent, outer spherical shell which remains stationary while the internal one spins using a combination of advanced magnets and solar cells. No wires or plugs. This delightful example of art and technology was created by a company called MOVA GLOBE*. My particular prize is of the Earth laid out by nations. However the globe can be other planets, the Moon, other moons and Constellations. My Earth rotates during the day, sleeps at night and is a small wonder to behold. Then unexpectedly, last week my world stopped turning. At first I thought it wasn’t getting enough light and moved it. No help. I shook it a bit. Nothing. Finally I called MOVA and was immediately put through to customer service. That was unexpected right there. After listening to my lament about my non-rotating Earth she simply said, “place a paper clip on the North Pole.” When I did so, the paper clip spun around and then my world started spinning once more. I just took a peek at the Western Hemisphere rolling by. It makes me smile.
Speaking of paper clips and the unexpected, an uplifting event took place concerning both in the rural Tennessee community of Whitwell in 2001.
At the Whitwell Middle School, the school Principal, several teachers and student volunteers created the Children’s Holocaust Memorial to shine as a beacon against intolerance and evil. The undertaking’s was centered on the collection of six-million paper clips from all over the Earth to represent the Jewish victims who were exterminated under in the shadow of the final solution. Due to the project’s world-wide renown and through extensive press and television coverage, twenty-nine-million paper clips were ultimately received. As a result of the overwhelming response, the organizers rigorously sought and acquired a German railway cattle car to serve as a memorial. The wooden car was constructed in 1913 and actually used in the conveyance of holocaust victims to the death camps. It would eventually house eleven-million of the paper clips that were contributed in memory of the six-million Jews and five-million Catholics, gypsies, homosexuals and others who were transported in similar railroad vehicles and perished amid the horror, brutality and insanity of the despicable Nazi regime. A sign placed on the memorial reads:
“AS YOU ENTER HERE
WE ASK YOU TO PAUSE AND REFLECT
ON THE EVIL OF HATRED AND INTOLERANCE.”
This unexpected revelation of the unique expression of grace that blossomed in this southern hamlet is that at the time the project was envisioned and enacted, Whitwell, TN had not a single Jewish person living in it. This makes me smile.
The everyday things we tend to take for granted, like paper clips, can, in time, bring unexpected and joyful results. My desktop world spinning again and the world in which we live finding some hope.