Archive for the ‘Army’ Category

MERRY CHRISTMAS #1

December 7, 2017

Christmas 1

It’s never too early to send Merry Christmas wishes, is it? My friends tease me because my card is usually the first they receive. Little do they know that I write my cards around Halloween and wait to mail them as long as I can stand it. And so, I’ll be posting a Christmas card every now and then throughout December. This is one Dad enclosed in Christmas cards about 5 years after WW2. As you can see, my sister, Maureen, and I are engaged in a serious discussion about reindeer. Sometimes, instead of sending a picture of us at Christmas, Dad would send people pictures of themselves, photos he’d secretly snapped of them during the year. People did seem to like those photos better than the ones of Maureen and me.

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“By Order of the Secretary of War”

December 4, 2017

name change

Well, I found this “R E S T R I C T E D” order in that old Army trunk I keep writing about. The first time I looked at the “restricted” label, I expected to see a war report from my Uncle Jack Daley, a spy in WW2, one of the first members of the OSS, which morphed into the CIA. The order had passed through the War Department at the direction of the President, by order of the Secretary of War. It was approved by Marshall, Chief of Staff and Ulio, Major General, The Adjutant General, then signed by Geisler. And what was this secret and restricted order? An announcement of the change of name of: 2nd Lt. Helen Marie Eberhart to Helen Eberhart Daley. It had only taken the Army nearly 3 months to register the change.

WW2 Etretat Mystery

November 28, 2017

Etretat

I found this postcard wedged at the bottom of the Army trunk I inherited from my parents, the one with over 600 letters they’d written each other while serving as Army Dr. and nurse on different fronts of the war. I knew Etretat was a French coastal city, where Mom and her 199th General Hospital unit had to sail to from Liverpool to catch the SS Leopoldville because the major harbor, Le Havre, was destroyed. That’s all I knew and all I included in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. But on the back of the postcard, Mom had written: After climbing up a steep bluff, one has this view as a reward. Apparently, she’d made that climb before sailing off. Wish I had that story….

THE FICKLE ARMY

November 21, 2017

Leave denied

Toward the end of WW2, all my mom (aka Lt. Helen Eberhart Daley, Army nurse) wanted to do was to secure a leave of absence and reunite with my dad (Captain Frank R. Daley, M.D.). She had been working nonstop in a General Hospital in France, and he had moved with a mobile unit (later called a M.A.S.H. unit) into Germany. When the war would finally end, they would have many hard decisions to make, and Helen wanted to make them together. Should she stay where she was? return to the States? volunteer for the C.B.I., service in China, Burma, or India? She carefully crafted this plea for a well-deserved leave, requesting only 7 days, though she had 26 days coming. The Army, through whatever powers that be, answered with one handwritten word: Disapproved.

http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are

 

ANOTHER COST OF WAR

November 16, 2017

Last night I looked through my parents’ old WW2 Army trunk and came up with these forms filled in by my mom (Helen in With Love, Wherever You Are). You may have to take out your magnifying glass, but each item is something soldiers (and Army doctors and nurses) were either issued or had to buy for themselves. Looks like only 4 or 5 were given. Items to be purchased: seersucker nurse’s cap, nurse’s cape (both mentioned or pictured in the book), jackets, gloves, leggings, overcoat, raincoat, skirts, sweater, some shoes, canteen, and on and on!

I know I’m blessed to have so many items preserved from my parents’ time in WW2. But many things are not in the old Army trunk. Still, I remember their re-purposed overcoats and a pair of old Army boots. And I did find the duffle bag and canteen and sleeping bag. I remember Dad always keeping an “Army blanket” in the car. Now it’s in mine.

INHERITED STORYTELLING

November 7, 2017

Schnapps (2)

This is my mom, Lt. and Nurse Helen Eberhart Daley, holding Schnapps on the steps of my grandparents’ home in Cissna Park, Illinois. Maybe because Grandma Eberhart was such a good storyteller, Mom was too. Even Grandpa Eberhart, never too talkative to the grandkids, told me stories of buying horses at auction and training and trading them.

When Mom was 3 years old and the Depression descended on America, she was sent to live with her aunts, away from her parents and siblings. She loved it! As the only child in residence from age 3-6, she received first-class spoiling. When she had to return home for the start of school, poor Helen saw her trunkful of lovely toys and dresses divided by her 10 siblings, who told her she wasn’t really one of them, but had been left on their step by the gypsies. Maybe that was good training to prepare her for serving in WW2, where she was called upon to speak German and care for German POW’s, causing some of her fellow nurses to whisper that she wasn’t one of them either. http://www.dandibooks.com

 

Lt. Dorothea Engel

October 26, 2017

scan-of-aunt-dot-in-the-army

When the nurses escaped the Japanese invasion on their island in the Philippines, they were taken to Australia to recover enough to be shipped back to the U.S. Almost immediately, Aunt Dot started writing letters to every officer and politician, begging them to help her find her husband, “Boots,” who had disappeared on the “Death March of Bataan.” She got little cooperation from the Army, who declared Boots dead, after having listed him initially as missing in action. The Army listed Dotty as a widow, but she refused widow’s pay because she believed her husband was still alive. And she continued her calls and letters to the powers-that-be. While she and the world awaited the end of the war, Dotty kept writing her brother, Captain Frank Daley, M.D., and her new and as yet unseen sister-in-law, Lt. Helen Eberhart Daley. Several of those letters appear in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, and it’s easy to see Lt. Doreathea Daley Engel’s determination and love.

AUNT DOT’S STORIES

October 24, 2017

Dot and Pete

If you’ve read With Love, Wherever You Are, you’ve heard a bit about my Aunt Dot and read a few of her letters. Nurse Dorothea Daley, big sis to Dr. Frank Daley, joined the Army before the outbreak of WW2 and was sent to the Philippines. The Japanese bombed her hospital the day after Pearl Harbor, forcing surviving nurses to drag patients into the jungle. I remember Aunt Dot’s stories of brave wounded soldiers who helped in any way they could, then returned to battle. She met “Boots” there and married him in a foxhole during bombings. He was captured and forced into the “Death March of Bataan.” She never saw him again, but spent the rest of her life trying to find him and waiting for his return. So many stories . . .

DAD’S STORIES

October 17, 2017

Dad Dandi

I remember sitting in that chair and listening to Dad’s stories until someone would make us quit–usually, a phone call from a sick person who needed a house call ASAP. Dad made his WW2 buddies come alive for me: Anderson, Lartz, colonels and majors, privates, doctors, and patients. He told me stories about his family–how my Uncle Jack ended up a spy in WW2, or how he quit his restaurant job in Columbia, MO, so that Dad could work there and put himself through school at Mizzou. And if I pressed him, he’d tell me about the beautiful nurse he met in Army training and married after only a few weeks–Helen Eberhart, my mom. http://www.dandibooks.com

 

HELEN READING . . . Upside Down

October 3, 2017

Upside Down

Following my reading theme, I had to post a picture of Mom reading. She didn’t usually read upside-down, though. The picture was Dad’s idea. He loved to take weird pictures, as you’ll see when we reach Valentine’s Day and Christmas. I’m thankful for each photo that’s trickled down, especially those in the back of WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE.

And in case you’re wondering, those are my feet and hands in the background.