Archive for the ‘nursing, nurse, nurses’ Category

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….

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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.

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

 

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.

WORLD WAR 2 — SNAPSHOTS

September 1, 2017

tents

Lt. Helen Eberhart Daley, Army Nurse, and Captain Frank R. Daley, M.D. (Early pictures find him still a lieutenant in the Army, however.) As I was writing and revising and rewriting With Love, Wherever You Are, I used each of these photos to help me describe locations and to help me visualize my young parents in such strange circumstances. Helen is pictured in Rennes, where she served in an Army hospital during the war. Frank is in a Battalion Aid station inside Germany, then in Heidelberg, and in a temporary camp. In the old Army trunk, I found both the sleeping bag on his back and the canteen pictured in the bottom-right photo.