I was surprised to discover how many people did not know about the Monopoly Game use in WWII.  The resident history buffs in this household did not!  They know a lot of trivia.

In light of lack of knowledge of yesterday’s Monopoly info, I thought today I would add further info that I found when I was researching the other.    This one is totally written by another and I have shared the name and link.

“Gotta” love trivia!


Digging for Secrets in Washington, D.C.

By Thomas Boghardt – Historian – International Spy Museum, Washington, D.C.

When construction crews started work on a new embassy complex for the Soviet Union on Washington, D.C.’s Wisconsin Avenue, many local residents were not amused. After all, this was still the Cold War. The FBI, on the other hand, spotted a golden opportunity. In 1977, with embassy construction proceeding above ground, the Bureau and the National Security Agency (NSA) launched operation MONOPOLY—digging an underground tunnel to eavesdrop on unwitting Soviet diplomats above. The FBI discreetly purchased several real-estate objects in the neighborhood as observation posts, and one house as a starting point for the tunnel. Two FBI undercover agents moved in to maintain the semblance of normalcy to the outside world. But spotting the spooks quickly became a neighborhood pastime. Locals told of a three-story building with permanently drawn shutters that no one had lived in for years and where no mail was ever delivered. Despite this, neighbors said, people came and went on a shift basis through the rear entrance. Another resident recalled: “Once I came back from a party and I could see a telephoto lens sticking out of the upper window (facing the embassy).” Meanwhile, MONOPOLY faced unexpected problems: Water leaked into the tunnel, the NSA’s high-tech equipment often didn’t work, and exploding costs eventually left the FBI with a bill of several hundred million dollars. Moreover, the “moles” were uncertain about their exact location. As one FBI man recalled: “We had the plans [of the embassy], but you don’t know what a room is used for. It might end up being a Xerox room or a storage room. What you want is a coffee room where people talk.” When the Cold War ended, the Soviet Union (now Russia) still had not officially opened their new embassy, yet the tunnel project continued regardless. In the 1990s, the FBI finally decided to end the financially ruinous MONOPOLY game and seal the tunnel. According to John F. Lewis, Jr., former assistant director of the FBI in charge of the intelligence division, the tunnel had produced “no information of any kind. I don’t remember receiving any intelligence.” And even if the tunnel had gone operational after the Russian embassy moved to Wisconsin Avenue in 1994, MONOPOLY would have been doomed; in 1989, FBI agent Robert Hanssen had betrayed the project to the Soviets, a fact that emerged after Hanssen’s arrest in 2001. In exposure, the tunnel’s most intriguing aspect became its precise location. Many neighbors believed a heavy manhole cover near the embassy was one of several entrances to the tunnel. Another resident told the press that two mysterious subterranean chambers in his house adjacent to the Russian embassy were really part of the FBI’s tunnel system. Unfazed by rampant speculation about the tunnel’s whereabouts, Russia’s ambassador Yuri V. Ushakov demonstrated his good sense of humor when queried: “If we find it, perhaps we can use it as a sauna.”


By ktsquared Posted in Trivia



The month of June found our home filled with our three grandchildren.  The fun part is that they are very willing to put down electronics and play board games which their Grandmother adores.  I love Scrabble and long for someone to play this game with me.  When they suggested it I was in heaven!

Their favorite board game I believe is LIFE.  Oh the gales of laughter especially if Grandpapa plays.  It is also fun if we go around with no children or like the last time when our youngest had 4 children and was hysterically frightened he might spin for more.

The other game that is a big hit is an old family favorite and until he learned RISK, Monopoly was the youngest go to game.  Well until he lost last time.

The trivia about Monopoly being based on Atlantic City is common knowledge.  I am not sure that anyone can relate to the thrill of driving on those streets.  The first time I was in Atlantic City and Ventnor and Pacific and Baltic and States Avenue and New York all came to life I was enchanted.  These places are real.

Today I got an added piece of Monopoly Trivia in my inbox thanks to one of my high school classmates.  Thanks Dean!  As an aside I have to share how energized and happy I am that our class is still much in touch with each other on a regular basis not just at the 5 year reunions.   Perhaps coming from a small town with only 41 students in the class makes a difference.  I am not sure of this as I think we all generally simply like each other!

So to the Monopoly Trivia that was new to me this morning.  I am presenting it as Dean sent it and since I did not write it nor can verify who did I have listed several links to the same information.  It really is a fascinating read!  Enjoy………………

Monopoly – I Did Not Know This!

Starting in 1941, an increasing number of British Airmen found themselves as the involuntary guests of the Third Reich, and the Crown was casting about for ways and means to facilitate their escape…

Now obviously, one of the most helpful aids to that end is a useful and accurate map, one showing not only where stuff was, but also showing the locations of ‘safe houses’ where a POW on-the-lam could go for food and shelter.

Paper maps had some real drawbacks — they make a lot of noise when you open and fold them, they wear out rapidly, and if they get wet, they turn into mush.

Someone in MI-5 (similar to America ‘s OSS ) got the idea of printing escape maps on silk. It’s durable, can be scrunched-up into tiny wads, and unfolded as many times as needed, and makes no noise whatsoever.

At that time, there was only one manufacturer in Great Britain that had perfected the technology of printing on silk, and that was John Waddington, Ltd.  When approached by the government, the firm was only too happy to do its bit for the war effort.

By pure coincidence, Waddington was also the U.K. Licensee for the popular American board game, Monopoly.  As it happened, ‘games and pastimes’ was a category of item qualified for insertion into ‘CARE packages’, dispatched by the International Red Cross to prisoners of war.

Under the strictest of secrecy, in a securely guarded and inaccessible old workshop on the grounds of Waddington’s, a group of sworn-to-secrecy employees began mass-producing escape maps, keyed to each region of Germany , Italy , France or where ever Allied POW camps were located.   When processed, these maps could be folded into such tiny dots that they would actually fit inside a Monopoly playing piece.

As long as they were at it, the clever workmen at Waddington’s also managed to add:

1.     A playing token, containing a small magnetic compass

2.     A two-part metal file that could easily be screwed together

3.     Useful amounts of genuine high-denomination German, Italian, and French currency, hidden within the piles of Monopoly money!

British and American air crews were advised, before taking off on their  first  mission, how to identify a ‘rigged’ Monopoly set — by means  of a tiny  red dot, one cleverly rigged to look like an ordinary printing glitch, located in the corner of the Free Parking  square.

Of the estimated 35,000 Allied POWS who successfully escaped, an estimated one-third were aided in their flight by the rigged Monopoly sets.   Everyone who did so was sworn to secrecy indefinitely, since the British Government might want to use this highly successful ruse in still another, future war.

The story wasn’t declassified until 2007, when the surviving craftsmen from Waddington’s, as well as the firm itself, were  finally honored in a public  ceremony.

It’s always nice when you can play that ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card!

I realize that many of you are (probably) too young to have any personal connection to WWII (Dec. ’41 to Aug. ’45), but this is still an interesting bit of history.





I am not sure where this idea came for me today with the exception that one of the first things I saw this morning as I came down stairs was our guest book on the hunt table in the hall.  Oh my, another small idea just floated through my head.  I am like a crow who sees a sparkly item and flits from one thing to another.007

A hunt table, which many of you have no idea what is it, is a high longer than normal slim table.  It was used in the old days as a sideboard for foods for after a hunt.  Today it is commonly used, due to its slim width, in a hall for a lamp or behind a sofa for a lamp as well.  Ours is old with a glass top.  It is about ten inches wide and 48″long.

Years ago you could get a whole collection for a reasonable price from Montgomery Wards or Sears.  The set had two end tables and a long low coffee table.  You could add an additional octagonal end table with another low octagonal coffee table and a hunt table.  I do not think any of them cost much more than $100 or $125-50 each.  We had a living room and family room and a hall so throughout the course of time we now have all the pieces.  They are wood and glass with lattice bottom shelves. I know you know what I am talking about.  If you did not have them someone you knew did!  Perhaps a picture?

Our hunt table is at the bottom of our stairs.  It is below an oak mirror that actually has a matching bench.  The bench is serving a utilitarian position for seating in our family room.  The long table fits nicely under it and holds, back to the first thought, our guest book.

No one, or rarely, has a guest book available anymore.  The guest book used to be in the foyer of every home in the Victorian age.  People would come for a visit either short or overnight and leave their names and addresses, the date and perhaps even a short comment about their visit in these books.  Ours has been sitting on a table in the entry (sometimes it was not fancy enough to be called a foyer) of our home for a long time. It has been at least for over ten years.  The last entry was made by my sister-in-law in 2012.  There are no more entries as I do not believe people are aware of the significance of this book.  A nice perhaps quaint custom gone.

As I thought of this while getting coffee and thinking of my day I thought of my new business cards.  At my age I am foolishly 005starting  new skincare business.  I found a product I really like and if I am going to use it I thought I might as well sell it to defray some of my own expense.  It is not a party product.  Most of the selling and buying is through the internet and networking.  If someone I approach does not need it perhaps they know someone who does.  The company Rodan + Fields is owed by the same two doctors that produced and sold Proactiv®.  Their thought was if they could do wonderful things for acne why not do the same for people who have skin (we all do don’t we) that is open to the elements and aging.  It is a terrific product and has done wonders for my aging face.  I had a lady in a local donut shop, during a conversation, who could not believe I was celebrating my 67th birthday!  Good stuff!!!

The business card I believe came from “calling cards”.  Again back in the Victorian times if not before when people would visit or “call” on one another they would leave a “calling card” in a tray on a table in the hall of the residence.  If you were wealthy the tray was usually silver.  I think I might find a piece of silver-plate and stick it next to my book!  There I go again – the sparkly object got me off course.

“Calling cards”  often simply had a short message or picture with the name of the owner of the card.  If you were wealthy the letters were probably embossed. The card would be presented upon arrival or left if there was no one home to receive the person making the call.  A call by the way is a visit.  Another part of the etiquette was that a call would not be made until the card had been sent before and an invitation issued back via card.  If no card was returned then the person was given the very obvious information that they were not welcomed.

There was a whole etiquette around cards.  If you came in person you folded down the upper right hand corner.  If you stopped by to offer congratulations for something you folded down the upper left hand corner.  If you are saying good-bye you fold the lower right hand corner.  The lower left fold offered condolences.  If a young lady wished to have a young man escort her home she could give him her card.  A married woman was to not ever leave her card without leaving her husband’s card as well.  Men carried their cards in their vest pockets.  Women had lovely small cases for which to carry theirs.  It all sounds so lovely and calm and peaceful.  I could go on for paragraphs about the politeness of the Victorian age and need not as most have read Jane Austin or Bronte or Dickens to belie the facts that all was not well all the time.

They did have some nice customs.  Today we have the telephone and internet.  Of which none of mine are working due to a storm last night.  I suppose I could do some cleaning.  Alas like the loss of the cards and guest books of the Victorian Age, maids are not as common either.  Not that I could have one – it is simply a nice thing I can think of as I dust and vac this humble abode!!!




By ktsquared Posted in Trivia



I am betting that I have more than once spoken about how quiet this building is once the grandchildren have left.  Today is no different.  The last ‘package’ was delivered yesterday.  Yesterday afternoon I did not accomplish much and did not excoriate myself for that lack of performance!  Today is another day.

Our annual “Grandcamp” was held early this year.  We have a busy end of July first of August schedule so we had to make alternative plans for the funfest with our three grandchildren.  June was the month and a fun time it was.  We had the two olders with us for the whole month and the youngest joined us the last week for camp.  He is here regularly as he only lives 2 hours away.  The others we only see a couple of times a year.

Our time this year consisted of swimming everyday rain or shine.  We had crafts and art and archery and incorporated some USA geography and state history to round out the agenda.  Of course we tie-dyed shirts which is a favorite.  A trip to the Zoo was the kick-off.  Movies and board games every night ended up fun as well.  We played Life and Monopoly.  Since the children are older we introduced them to RISK.  The 9yr old beat us twice!!!  It was a great week.

This morning I awoke to quiet which I have done every morning as the older they are the longer they stay up at night the later they sleep in the morning.  This morning I made my bed and got dressed for the day.  During Grandcamp I simply got up, went to the office, stayed in my robe until swimming time which was between 10 and 11 each morning.

During Grandcamp at about 9 the parade of hugs would begin.  It was interesting to see who would awake first.  Each day it was different as they seemed to take turns amazingly.  Each of them came into the office where I usually was sitting.  Each one gave me a morning hug with an ‘I love you Grandmama’.  Can you imagine a better way to start the day?  I cannot.

This morning I got my coffee and sat at the desk and waited.  Alas this morning there was no ‘Pele’ screaming around the corner with my hug.  No ‘Katniss’ slipping in quietly for a squeeze.  ‘Steve Jobs’ was absent with his large hugs – he has become taller than the Grandmama!

Even as we delivered each child back to their parents I knew this morning was coming.  What I failed to remember was that the quiet can be so deafening.

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence. (1)

So perhaps it is time now to “Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk”!!!(2)  I think I need to make a list to restock the pantry and clean the house!!!