Archive for the ‘family’ Category

“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.

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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.

FRANK THE STORYTELLER

November 14, 2017

Dad and Dandi

My dad, Captain Frank R. Daley, M.D., told me stories before I understood what he was saying. I remember that when I was very young, Mom would read me a story at bedtime. Then Dad would come in and make up a story. My favorites were part of a “Big Foot Dan” series, where Dan always beat Superman and Mighty Mouse in races. It wasn’t until a decade later that I figured out the amazing similarities between Dan’s feet and mine.

When I was a bit older, I got to partake in the story creation. Dad: “Once upon a time, there were four horses grazing on a hill. Their colors were. . .” Dandi’s turn: “Um, brown and brown and brown and brown?” Thankfully, my answers grew more sophisticated as time went on.  http://www.dandibooks.com

 

MORE FROM HELEN THE STORYTELLER

November 9, 2017

Ohio Mom

For the last five years of my mother’s life, she came to live with us in Ohio. What an honor and a blessing it was to listen to her stories, to hear poignant details of the war, stories she’d never told me before!

In With Love, Wherever You Are, I retold the story of the day 9-year-old Helen determined she wanted to be a nurse. She’d raced home from school and found her mother lying in the garden, unconscious, blood spurting like a fountain from her leg. Helen ran to the house and called Dr. Roberts, who lived a good distance from their farm. He told Helen that a varicose vein must have ruptured and she would have to stop that bleeding before he got there. Then he instructed her to get a dime and hold it over the source of the bleeding, pressing hard until he arrived. Doc must have heard her gasp because he said, “Helen, I know you don’t want to touch that blood and–.” Helen interrupted him. “It’s not that, Doc. Where in tarnation am I going to find a dime in this house?”

Not only did little Helen find a dime, but she managed to stop the bleeding and keep up the pressure until Doc arrived. He had to pry her fingers away and proclaimed that Helen Eberhart was going to make a fine nurse one day. He was right.

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

 

MY GRANDMOTHER’S STORIES

October 31, 2017

Cissna

This is the home of my grandparents (Lt. Helen Eberhart Daley’s parents) in Cissna Park, IL. My sister and I loved to visit there twice a year to play with our cousins in fields, corn and coal bins, barns, basement. Mom was one of 11 children, so we were blessed with an abundance of cousins. Grandma Eberhart (maiden name Eichelberger) could tell a great story. Grandkids ate in the kitchen, a swinging door separating us from the long table in the dining room. I remember pressing my ear to the crack in the door, waiting for my two favorite words: “‘Member when…?” These words were followed by the most amazing, but true, stories. My favorite came when one of Grandma’s children would get her to tell about crossing the ocean to come to America. Her job was to carry the little plastic Nativity brought from home in Germany. Little Helen slept with the figure under her pillow. Nauseated from rough seas, she clutched that figurine as she leaned over the side of the boat and “fed the fishes.” The only item I retrieved from the ol’ Eberhart house was that plastic Nativity. It now sits in our dining room.

What family mementos do you have? Do they come with stories you should pass down to your grandkids?

 

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 . . .

Car Trips with Frank and Helen

October 10, 2017

Daley Trio

This may not look like a car trip of happy campers (Maureen was taking the picture), but my memories of our travels are all good–except for my persistent carsickness, which continues to this day. Car time was one of the best times to pump my parents for stories, many that became part of WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. Joe and I have always used car trips for telling our kids family stories, and now they tell their kids and we get to trap our grandkids in the car and inundate them with stories. That’s the way it works.

Granddaughter Cassie, barely 7, listened intently to my husband’s story about a fishing trip when his mom caught the big fish. Cassie knew that “Pa’s” dad died when Pa was a kid. She studied a picture of her, sighed, then said, “I miss all the dead people I didn’t get to know.” Me too. But our stories are the next best thing we can offer.