Archive for the ‘medals’ Category

WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE

July 24, 2017

Imagine yourself serving in a makeshift hospital overseas. Now, imagine you’re in the middle of World War 2, trying to care for desperately sick, wounded, terrified soldiers. And on top of that, you are a newlywed, and your spouse of only a few weeks is also at the front, caring for battlefield wounded . . . in a different country. How could such a marriage survive?

Letters. These are just two of the Army trunkful of letters from my mom and dad, Dr. Frank Daley and Nurse Helen Eberhart Daley. They lived for mail call, when they would hear from each other and know they were safe and still in love, in spite of the physical distance between them. Imagine waiting for a letter, hoping, praying . . . and nothing for days and days. You had been writing 2 or 3 times a day, every day. And then, imagine receiving a treasure–11 letters at once.

I based the novel, WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, on my parents’ stories and on the over 600 letters they left me. http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

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WITH LOVE, At the End of the War

July 6, 2017

Harpoon 15 Aug

I have several of these HARPOON bulletins from the Marine Panther, the ship that set out for Japan, China, Burma, or India. (The soldiers didn’t know where they would end up or how long the war on that front would continue.) Don’t miss the bottom paragraphs detailing the results of war, statistics that dampened the victory celebrations.

Dad, Captain/Dr. Frank R. Daley was on the Marine Panther soon after Germany surrendered and war ended in Europe. The ship, and Frank, were headed for 2-4 years of additional service in the Army. When the Japanese surrendered, all ships that had passed through the Panama Canal had to keep going for 2-4 more years of peacekeeping. Those ships that hadn’t yet reached the Panama Canal got to turn back and head for America. The Canal was in sight, but not entered when, to the cheers of the passengers, the Marine Panther turned around and headed home.

WITH LOVE, CAPTAIN DALEY

June 8, 2017

Captain Promotion

You are now looking at a “RESTRICTED” special order from WW2. If you’ve read WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, this 72-year old piece of paper may make sense. F.R. Daley, MD, and his fellow doctors entered the war as First Lieutenants, with the promise of a very swift promotion to Captain. Thanks to a certain American Colonel’s negligence, or animosity, Lt. Daley and friends missed the promotion deadline, and promotions were frozen as soon as they arrived in Europe. Frank didn’t crave the elevated honor of becoming a captain, but he did crave the increased captain’s pay.

Anyone remember that Colonel’s name?

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

 

WHEREVER (on Earth) YOU ARE

May 8, 2017

battalion aid (2)

Dr. Frank R. Daley, MD, looks so serious, so angry. This is not an expression I recognize from my childhood. My dad was fun, witty, and always ready to play with his family–football, baseball, basketball, tennis, ping pong, poker.

I believe in this photo he’s deep into Germany, on the edge of a battlefield, sleeping in that tiny tent, where he could never keep warm enough. I think he’s wearing everything he has with him. And I believe he’s vowing that he will do whatever it takes to get back to Nurse Helen Eberhart Daley.

PETE & THE POWER OF STORY

May 4, 2017

Pete (2)

Meet Pete. Dr. Lyle Peter Daley, MD was of the magical, or diabolical, age to have served in WW1 and WW2. In the second war, he taught Army medics and doctors, preparing them for battlefield care. Like his sons, the beloved Dr. Pete had a dry wit and ready smile. Legend has it that when I was born, he took one look at me and declared, “She’s a dandy!” It’s a nice story anyway. I think I have memories of Pete, my grandfather, who was never called anything but “Pete.” I can picture his large shoes under our dining table, where I’d taken refuge during the grownups’ dinner. I can picture him standing beside his old car, and me, clinging to his ankles because I wanted to go with him.

But I was only 2 years old when he died. And now, I can’t distinguish memory from story, stories I’ve heard dozens of times. Am I really remembering those moments?

It was Pete’s heart attack that made Frank and Helen leave Washington D.C., put off their plans of moving south to set up their medical practice, probably in Miami, and go to Hamilton, Missouri, to care for the town’s patients “until Pete recovered.” But Pete never grew strong enough to resume his role as town doctor, and Frank and Helen stayed…and stayed…and stayed–50 years.

 

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.

UNCLE WILBUR EBERHART

April 25, 2017

Uncle Web

If  you’ve read WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, then you’ve already met my Uncle Wilbur, aka Uncle Web. Helen received a touching letter from him while they were both in active duty during WW2. And she told Frank proudly that her brother lost a rank or two because he’d decked an officer who’d barged into an elderly German lady’s home to steal the silver candlesticks he’d spied in her window. I had a big fat scene about him, but it was one of many I had to cut, or the book would have run over 1,000 pages. Helen loved her big brother twins, Walter and Wilbur.

Here’s what Wilbur’s son, my cousin Roger, related: Dad earned 2 Bronze stars. I know that one was when they left him behind to resupply ammunition for his 155 mm cannon.  Germans counter attacked with tanks rushing over the hill.  He said that being alone, he has to choose to run or fight. He loaded the shells by himself and fired them like a rifle.  After several rounds, the tanks turned around.  Good thing he still had the strength of a farm boy. Those shells probably weighed about 100 lbs each. His favorite story was after the war ended.  His job, since he spoke some German, was to tour the area and round up stragglers. A young boy was trying to get home.  Dad picked him up.   A Lieutenant stopped his jeep and ordered him to put that boy in the field with soldiers that had surrendered.  As you may have guessed, he chose to ignore that order since the field offered no protection from the rain etc. Instead, he drove him to his parents home. They were so happy to see their boy that he was invited to stay for dinner.  He said it wasn’t much but was still the best food he has eaten in months. Most of his stories were about people he met and not about battles. 

 

 

WITH LOVE. . . In War

April 18, 2017

 

Imagine being crazy in love, marrying in haste because you might not be together until the war ends, then being shipped overseas to the front, but to different countries. With nothing but their letters to keep them together for months at a time, Helen and Frank (aka Mom and Dad) wrote each other 2-3 times a day, often signing: With Love, Wherever You Are. Delivery of those letters was unreliable, with no word for days and days, and then a flood of 14 letters.

These V-mails were supposed to travel faster than letters. Both Helen and Frank hated the V-mails because there was never enough room to say all they wanted to say. I had much the same reaction to the tiny V-mails, though for different reasons. Their handwriting had to be so tiny that the letters are hard to read. Thankfully, they discovered that the infamous V-mails traveled no faster than their regular letters, so they went back to writing letters.

Food ration stamps, mail stamps, and even matches bore war slogans. Frank wrote his bride: “War gets into every corner.”

WITH LOVE…In Rennes, France

April 15, 2017

Rennes 3

Helen eventually got to Rennes, France, where she cared for Allied soldiers with everything from trench foot and amputations to shrapnel and gunshot, rare diseases, and victims of shell-shock. She also cared for German prisoners of war and survivors of the horrible concentration camps. Frank moved from France to Alsace-Lorraine, then on into Germany, where he set up a battalion aid station. I love the picture with both of them on a rare rendezvous, the light from above shining down on them.

With Love, Hair-ever You Are

April 12, 2017

hair (2)

First lieutenant Frank R. Daley, M.D., U.S. Army, took issue with the orders of a certain bald Colonel, orders which had little to do with combat. I don’t understand why the colonel wanted Frank to cut his hair. Helen loved to run her fingers through those curls. But Frank’s refusal, along with his comment to the hairless colonel: “I guess misery loves company,” put him on the train to a much more dangerous assignment.