Churchill continued talking as if he were giving an unplanned speech to Frankie and Harry, as both stood, listening closely.
He spoke of the European Economic Community (or the EEC), which had just been established in 1957, with the founding countries of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Also called “The Common Market”, the purpose of EEC was to prevent the killing and destruction caused by conflicts like World War II. It would also bring together the economies of member nations, to create a more unified Europe. In this way, it built up on the goals established by the Council of Europe, an organization that was was formed in 1949. ”
Some, like Churchill, wanted these actions expanded, making a deeper, more lasting alliance.
“Well, his dream seemed to come true. The UK, with Denmark and Ireland would join down the line,” Frankie said to Harry, as they headed away from Churchill’s house an hour later. “Bet he’d be happy to know, years from…um, now, I guess…even countries that were once Communist under the Soviet Union, like Hungary and Poland, would end up growing the membership to…like...”
“Twenty-eight membas,” Harry helped.
“Yeah, twenty-eight members.”
“But it didn’t seem like he saw the challenges the European Union (EU) might face.”
“Wike what,” Harry asked.
“Um…economic problems like the financial crisis in Greece...the continuous stand-off between the EU and Russia…attacks by the terror group ISIS…that whole migration thing, with millions of immigrants coming into the European Union illegally.”
Harry winked at Frankie. “See? You can wearn afta all!”
Now the talking dog is sarcastic, Frankie cringed, head shaking, putting a hand on the dog’s neck, wishing to be back at his grandfather’s house.
A bright flash of light, and a nauseating spin later, the pair were back at Poppop’s. Only a few moments had passed for the old man in the meantime.
“Here’s the book to read on Churchill…”
Frankie stood, eyes wide, as Harry panted, tail wagging.
“Oh…my…you two…time traveled,” Pop stammered, nearly dropping the book.
“Yeah, met Churchill,” Frankie said as if it were normal.
Poppop sighed, head shaking, glaring at Harry, who barked in approval. “So…was he able to help you?”
Frankie shrugged. “Yeah. He…well, pretty much preached to me about why Europe needed unification. The good it would do,” he said, pausing. “But…he also showed me that a nation’s identity…their individual sense of pride, would probably always go against complete unification. Kept saying that ‘Britain needs to lead this’, ‘Britain needs to be first’, like they’re the only ones that mattered.”
“Hence why some countries never adopted the currency, the Euro. To try to keep that sovereignty,” Pop added.
“And now with more and more immigrants coming in, I guess a large part of British voters have had enough. Feeling their national pride overwhelmed, they voted to leave the EU, despite what may happen to the economy. I guess the fear is that more countries will do the same, and Europe will become divided again.”
“Very good,” Poppop nodded, impressed. “Now, just don’t tell your mother, OK?”
Frankie watched his Poppop’s eyes light up, as the old man threw him a knowing look, his hardened lips actually forming a bit of a smile.
For probably the first time, Frankie felt a closeness he hadn’t experienced with his grandfather. He smiled. He would certainly ace this essay, he thought, petting Harry, mind still reeling. Frankie couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement grow inside; his life was about to become more adventurous than he could ever imagine.