Archive for the ‘letters’ 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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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….

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.

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 . . .

WITH LOVE, HELEN EBERHART DALEY

September 19, 2017

Ohio Mom

This is my mom from 2009, Helen from WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. She was as lovely then as in her WW2 days. We convinced her to come live with us in Ohio, and to leave Hamilton, MO, her home with Frank, my dad, for 60 years or so. It wasn’t an easy battle with this feisty gal! But once committed, she never complained, but looked for new ways to share the Spirit that lived inside her and touched everyone she met. Those last 5 years were my best with my mom. I pumped her for war stories, never mentioning the stacks of letters secure in the Army trunk and untouched since 1945, letters she and Dad wrote as newlyweds on different war fronts, letters I wasn’t allowed to open until she joined Dad in heaven.

FRANK R. DALEY, M.D. AND SUE ELLEN

September 12, 2017

Dad and Sue Ellen

If you’ve read about Captain Frank R. Daley in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, you probably won’t be surprised to learn about his bravery in another fight, his fight against cancer (carcinoma). Up to the last year of his life, whenever I came home, my dad and I played 3 sets of tennis on a dirt and chat court he built and maintained in our pasture. We played in Missouri summers, with temps in the 90’s and humidity to match. Mom would chastise both of us when we limped home. Dad remained a unique character, as anyone who knew him will testify. We grew up with horses, dogs, cats, parakeets, canaries, and a variety of wounded birds we saved and set free. The cat in the picture is Sue Ellen, named before identified as a male. Sue spent every waking minute draped across Dad’s shoulders.

WW2’s MOST IMPORTANT SOLDIER

August 29, 2017

EPenicillin

Can you imagine a world without antibiotics? Can you imagine a war without an effective way to treat all kinds of infections? In letters and in conversations, Dad (Captain Frank R. Daley, M.D.) referred to the new drug, Penicillin, as “the best warrior in this man’s Army.” I found this War Department Bulletin among the treasures in that old Army trunk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJL59-UsAyo&t=1s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMpbNFs687A
http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

WARTIME BRACELET

August 24, 2017

I loved this bracelet when I was a kid, though Mom rarely wore it. All I knew about it was that she acquired it during WW2, when she was an Army nurse serving on the front in France. She kept it in the little gold box, also picked up in France. The bracelet was the only piece of jewelry I wanted after Mom died.

Then, as I was reading through the 600+ letters I found in an old Army trunk, letters my mom and my dad wrote each other as Dad, an Army doctor, served on the German front, the pieces fell together. Dad wrote that Fritz, a trusted German prisoner in their British unit (more details in With Love, Wherever You Are!), was making coin bracelets for soldiers to send home to their wives, and Dad was thinking about getting Mom one. But a later letter said he’d decided they should collect coins from every place they were able to rendezvous. I ran to the little gold box and examined the coin bracelet.

Here’s what I can make out with a magnifier: 50 centimes 1922 “Commercie Industrie; Farthing 1943; Nazi Swastika and bird, 1941, and on the other side “Hitler Deutsch Reich Pfennig  (I think); 1922;  5 Centimes 1932 “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite”; 1944 coin has a stern-looking man’s head and says “Emanvele III”, 10, followed by a small c with a dot in it. I may have mistakes, as it’s hard to read. I welcome any input on these coins! But I felt as if I’d unearthed a treasure, so I wear this bracelet whenever I do a reading of With Love, Wherever You Are.  http://www.dandibooks.com