I picked up a copy of a national gossip magazine, which I never do. You know, one of those filled with pictures of celebrities doing their thing. For weeks, most magazine covers have been of Michael Jackson, and I look at the headlines, and may thumb through a copy while waiting at the check stand, but never buy one. BUT this particular mag mentioned MJ's fascination with Nazi memorabilia, so I had to take a look and didn't have time to read it before the cashier began ringing up my groceries.
Funny, I never thought any "normal" person would be interested in that kind of dark stuff, but surprisingly, according to this mag, he was. If what I read is true, he kept this dirty little secret private, but his uniform-style dress was supposedly inspired by Nazi uniforms. Apparently, he was obsessed with the power Hitler held over people. MJ stashed his treasures away from most people. I wonder if this collection was authentic or replica, and if the later, did any of it come from Jack's business way back when? It's pure speculation because I will never have access to this collection, but Jack was the first to reproduce Nazi memorabilia. Much of what's still out there floating around is Jacks's. Only he could tell originals from fakes. Jack was the greatest fake-maker.
J & S Military Supply in Moss Landing (also in East Garrison) is one of the places I remember going to as a young girl with my dad (Jack) to peddle his “militaria.” The place is still there along highway 1. I decided to check it out and pick up some camo pants. In the 1970s and early 80s the front counter display was filled with Nazi memorabilia, which they now call “foreign military” and keep in a small stand alone case by the front door. It’s no longer the predominant attraction in the store.
I stood at this miniature display, examining the Nazi patches, medals, pins, etc., almost all of which I’d handled so many years ago. How many orders used to come in for iron crosses, Hitler Youth pins, and Waffen SS patches? Hundreds, even thousands. My dad made so much money; he hid it in shoe boxes, and eventually Swiss bank accounts. And then, like I wrote in East Garrison, he pissed it away on booze and sex, lost everything he owned, except for his van, which he lived in for over a decade.
As I leaned in closer to the glass separating me from the merchandise, I remembered all the times I’d been in that store and many stores just like it. How I’d go to gun shows with my dad, and walk amongst the primarily male attendants. I have to admit I loved the stuff, even though I still can’t identify most of it. There is something about the uber masculine military that makes a person feel strong, and isn’t that what we all want to feel?
MJ was no different.