Topic: "Barbed Wire Escape (2)"
There was a time when entry into any male dorm room in America would be the same no matter which way one turned. There would always be one of two, or perhaps both, posters displayed somewhere in the room. Raquel Welch, starring in the Movie "One Million Years B.C.," would thrust her silicon-guided missiles into the eye of the beholder in one of those posters. Head turned slightly to the right, animal skin teasingly clinging to one of two legs, as the head of a T Rex appears menacingly behind her (Strange that even though Frodo was never required to memorize said details, they remain locked in place).
The other poster was of a man, on an airborne motorcycle, wearing a cut-off sweat shirt and chino pants, leaping toward freedom. Steve McQueen, in "The Great Escape," was attempting to clear the barbed-wire barrier between Germany and Switzerland, while Nazi soldiers were hot in pursuit.
In his days at the College of the Shire, Frodo wanted to be Steve McQueen when he grew up. No man, much less an actor, epitomized the unbridled independence and coolness of Steve McQueen. As time passed, Frodo realized that it was more the character than it was the man whom he so admired.
Frodo recalls these memories because of an e-mail he received from an internet friend, i.e. a soul-mate whose face he will never know. The e-mail mentioned the passing of Squadron Leader Eric Foster, age 102, at his home in England. It seems that Eric Foster had survived the crash of his Wellington Bomber in Germany in 1940. Subsequently, he escaped from various prison camps on seven occasions. He ended up in Stalag Luft III, from whence he was released in 1945 when he convinced his captors that he was insane.
Eric Foster was the inspiration for the character portrayed by Steve McQueen in the movie, "The Great Escape," or so the story goes. McQueen, by the way, died of lung cancer in 1980 at the age of 50.
If, indeed, Foster was the inspiration for the movie, then Frodo owes him a great debt. Frodo refuses however to accept the iconoclastic image of some squirrely Limey as his hero "Hills." McQueen spent countless hours in "the Cooler" bouncing his baseball off the wall, driving his Nazi guards to distraction. McQueen and James Garner organized a special Fouth of July celebration for the entire camp at Stalag Luft III. McQueen raced motorcycles, not horses. No Limey, including the heroic Mr. Foster, could have been "Hills."
Only Steve Mcqueen, or perhaps Frodo.