Archive for the ‘humor’ Category

SUPER HELEN

April 30, 2017

helen-in-cape

I have to admit that I’m not sure how I came across this cape. I discovered it when I unrolled an Army sleeping bag. Helen did not like the Army’s fashion sense. More than once, she got in trouble for not wearing her helmet or her cap.

Who could blame her? Here’s how the Army described the clothing for Army nurses:  Cape, Olive Drab, Nurses’ – Stock No. 55-C-5910
Wool Barathea Cape in two layers, with newly designed collar and buttoned tab closure, in Olive Drab Shade No. 51      Jacket, Wool, Olive Drab, Women;  Skirt, Wool, Olive Drab Dark; Trenchcoat, Wool . . .

Adding insult to injury (as Mom used to say), nurses had to pay for their own uniforms–plus their nurse’s uniforms! Not many of my frugal parents’ uniforms survived because as soon as they were out of the Army, they re-purposed coats and jackets so they could wear them in civilian life.

SCHNAPPS

April 9, 2017

Schnapps (2)

I can easily identify 2 out of 3 in this photo: Lt. Helen Eberhart Daley, Army Nurse, and Schnapps, a true-to-life stuffed dog, whose name was a mystery to me before I read the letters I found in the Army trunk. If you’ve read this far in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, you know how the dog got its name.

Mom (Helen) was too generous for her own good. If I complimented her necklace or bracelet, she’d attempt to give it to me. But one day when I was probably 7 or 8, I was playing in the attic and found this cute, black stuffed dog. Thinking I’d add it to my stuffed animal collection, I carried it down and ran to find Mom. “Mom! Look what I found in the attic! It’s kind of beat-up, but the stuffing isn’t leaking.”

She took that dog and smiled at it as if she’d finally run into an old friend from another life. “Take it back to the attic, Dandi.”

“But I wanted to play with it!” I protested.

She smiled again at that curly-haired black dog. “Not this one, honey. This one is special. Schnapps belongs to me.”

I thought about telling her “Schnapps” was a dumb name for a dog. I thought about pointing out that she was too old for stuffed animals. But something stopped me–maybe her expression; maybe having her keep something I wanted. It certainly wasn’t like the mother I knew.

When I came to the first mention of Schnapps in a letter Mom had written Dad in WW2, I’d already started seeing “the mother I knew” as something more–Helen, a young newlywed in a war zone, lonely, missing her husband, caring for so many injured and dying soldiers. Another dozen or so letters mentioned the dog. I finally knew why Schnapps meant so much to her.

As for the real dog in the picture, I have no idea, and you won’t find that one in the book. You’re on your own there.

WITH LOVE, WHEREVER THEY MET…

April 3, 2017

Battle Creek (2)

If you’re reading WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, you are already familiar with Battle Creek, MI. And if you were paying attention, you know quite a bit about things that happened in this hospital. Anyone know these answers??

I’m planning to post a bunch of pictures, postcards, memorabilia from WW2 over the next few weeks. Many of the items or locations are mentioned in the book. Other things are letters, etc. that didn’t make it into the book. I hope some of you will “play” along with me–not just answering the questions, but asking some of your own, or commenting, or telling me some of the vast information I don’t know!

WAR WEDDING

April 1, 2017

photo

If you’ve read this far in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, I’ll bet you know exactly what this is. Clues: 1) It’s nearly 75 years old and still intact. 2) The cake it topped is long gone. 3) That lovely white dress really should have been another Army uniform. 3) Check out that flag–only 48 stars.  So, have you read this far?

LITERARY LOVERS’ MARCH MADNESS

March 20, 2017

I love March Madness, except for the fact that Mizzou didn’t make it this year. (We’ll get ’em next year!) So, look what someone else is doing–a Literary-Lovers’ March Madness. And LARA and I made it to the second round. LARGER-THAN-LIFE LARA contains just about everything I know about writing. And since everyone has been bullied and has bullied in some way, readers get the subtle anti-bullying theme. I don’t think I’ve asked anyone to vote for me since I ran for office at  Missouri Girls State…and loss. Round 2 ends Thursday. Here’s the link if you’re up for it: http://readthearc.com/literary-lovers-madness-round2/

BOOK RELEASE DAY!

March 7, 2017

with-love

It’s here! And as if that weren’t enough for me, it’s getting two starred reviews–Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist. I’ve waited so long for this. I thought about dozens of pictures I could post, along with witty, but poignant things to say. But here I am, speechless and grateful, hoping that you like my story.

Check out giveaways at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/38952.Dandi_Daley_Mackall  If you’re on GoodReads, will you add the book to your favorite lists and to your shelf as to-read? Thanks!

WHAT’S IN A LETTER?

March 6, 2017

These are only a few of the WW2 letters I inherited from my parents, Army doctor and Army nurse, newlyweds shipped to different countries for the duration of the war. They wrote each other 2-3 times a day and prayed for mail call and the (too often unreliable) delivery of their most precious, vital, real connection–their letters. It was all they had to help their marriage survive. They wrote on whatever was at hand–V-mail (infuriatingly short), bummed stationery, and even abandoned German paper, though only when necessary. One letter was written on a small, brown paper sack. They had worked out a clever code to foil the censors and to arrange rare rendezvous. (Took me a while, but I cracked their code.)

I fear we’re losing our letters to texts and emails. I admit that I rarely write letters, though I’m delighted whenever I receive one. Think of all the great historical and literary collections that wouldn’t exist if their writers had I phones. I can’t even imagine writing WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE without my trunkful of letters. Tomorrow is the official release date for the book!

I’ll be answering questions on Goodreads all week. Please join me there, okay?  Here’s the link: Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/38952.Dandi_Daley_Mackall

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

 

LARTZ, the Army Artist

February 18, 2017

Through letters and stories, I came to admire the doctor/soldier named Lartz. I believe he was Frank’s best war buddy, his quiet and uncompromising friend, even in the midst of some pretty crazy colleagues. These two sketches hung in my dad’s den as long as I can remember. I don’t think I ever asked where they came from because they were permanent fixtures, like wallpaper. I learned more about the pictures from the letters left in their Army trunk. In one letter, written shortly after arriving in England, Frank mentioned that Lartz was working on a charcoal drawing of Helen, working from a photograph. In a later letter, Frank complains (in good humor) that Lartz made him sit for over an hour to do a charcoal drawing of Soldier Frank.

Does anybody else have old photos or pictures around, things you wish you knew more about? People you suspect are in your ancestry, but you don’t know who they could be? I think we should all write dates and info on the back of every photo we take.

Uncle Jack the Spy

February 6, 2017

Move over, 007, and meet John “Jack” Daley, my dad’s big brother. Uncle Jack signed up in 1939, when the government appealed to accountants to help organize the armed forces from the inside out. The select group of pencil pushers were called “Thirty Day Wonders” because that’s how long they committed to serve in the US Army. Only the “wonder” came months later, when thirty days stretched to ninety, then to a year. None of them got out of the Army for years, so Jack was still in service when his little brother joined him in Europe. In WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, it’s fun to see Jack pop up unannounced and know everything, but tell little. He became part of the OSS, Office of Strategic Services, the first organized effort by the United States to implement a centralized system of strategic intelligence. The OSS was the predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Special Operations Command, including the US Navy SEALs and the Green Berets. Even though he delighted in dragging his little brother into a couple of dangerous adventures, I remember Dad saying that his brother was the most generous person he knew.

As for the German stationery with the hateful insignia, it helps to know that Jack the Spy likely swiped it from from a Nazi and put it to better use.

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/100384.Most_Anticipated_Christian_Fiction_2017

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

Aunt Dot, Army Nurse

February 3, 2017

Happy February! I’ve decided I’d like to introduce you to some of the characters that populate WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. This is 1st Lt. Dorothea Daley Engel, my Aunt Dot, the same one who sent her younger brother the cartoon. When the Japanese overran and bombed the Philippines, Dotty and a few other nurses cared for their patients in the jungles. That’s where she fell in love with “Boots,” a soldier she’d met before, but only gotten to know when he had malaria. As she wrote to her brother: What kind of world is this when the one you love contracting malaria is good news?” Her heroism earned her the Medal of Honor, which was presented to her by President Roosevelt and pinned on her by Eleanor. She never talked about it and didn’t even tell her family about the ceremony until it was too late for them to attend . . . except for my Uncle Jack, the spy. He’s next on my agenda of characters.

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

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/100384.Most_Anticipated_Christian_Fiction_2017 Please add WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE to the list! Thanks again!