Archive for the ‘medics’ Category

WITH LOVE, for Grandfather “Pete”

February 8, 2018

Pete 1942 (2)

Although I was barely 3 when my Grandfather Daley died, I remember him. I’m sure stories have blended with memory so that I can’t separate them, but I don’t want to. I called him “Pete,” not “Grandfather” or any variation thereof. I sensed his kindness and good humor. One story of where my “Dandi” name came from says that when I was born, Pete declared, “She’s a dandy!” I can still see him leaving our house and heading for his car, with me running after him, begging to come along. This photo from 1942 is labeled Camp Robinson. The Arkansas camp trained soldiers and housed German prisoners during WW2. And from 1942-1944, a Medical Training Replacement Center was located there to train soldiers as medical personnel. 13,500 trainees passed through in 8-week training cycles. The time was shortened if medics were needed more quickly. Pete is briefly mentioned in a couple of anecdotes in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. Like many of the characters in the novel, Pete deserves his own book.



February 6, 2018

Frank and patients (2)

Captain Frank R. Daley was sent from a wartime makeshift hospital in Alsace-Lorraine to a battlefield battalion aid station inside wartime Germany . . . probably because he refused to cut his hair (Helen loved those thick curls.) and, to add insult to injury, then said to his bald commanding officer, “So it’s true then.” “What?” demanded the officer. Frank shook his head and replied, “Misery really does love company.” Frank didn’t get the haircut, but he did get a freight train to the battlefield. He joined a British unit and performed surgeries in tents with mud floors. Toward the end of the war, he was able to doctor civilians, as well as soldiers. This is a photo of just a few of those patients.


August 29, 2017


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.


June 15, 2017

Just HelenAll that I know about this picture is that it’s my mother, Helen Eberhart Daley, Lieutenant and nurse, serving in France toward the end of WW2. But it’s the kind of photo that creates a scene, a story, in my mind. I imagine her staring out to sea, maybe from Marseilles, taking a rare break from the hospital, hoping to glimpse a ship that could take her home. Or, maybe she’s looking for Frank, hoping he received her code letter telling him where she was, where they could meet. What do you guys imagine?

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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?



May 12, 2017

Marseille Stroll

This is one of my favorite pictures of Mom and Dad, Helen and Frank. One of their rare rendezvous took place in Marseilles, France. Lt. Frank Daley, MD, had a brief assignment there, where he got to know a young French boy who worked in the post office. The boy talked the good doctor into accompanying him to help his sister, who was suffering from an unknown ailment. Frank treated the girl, and on one visit during a storm, the family let him stay in a secret room below their barn, where the farmers had hidden French Resistance fighters.

Frank had to leave Marseilles, but he determined to meet Helen there someday soon, even if he had to go A.W.O.L. to do it. (And if you’ve read With Love, Wherever You Are, you already know all about that!)

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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.


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.



April 30, 2017


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.

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.”