HAMILTON FIRE–help please!

May 13, 2017

Ham fire

Getting ready for our pilgrimage to my hometown, Hamilton, MO, I ran across these pictures. On the back, they’re labeled: Hamilton, but no dates. I’m hoping some of you native Hamiltonians can fill me in on the details and dates. I do know that one big fire that destroyed most of the buildings on Main Street turned out to be arson. And I’m thinking there were two fires. I know I’ve seen a picture of a big white building ablaze, and on the back, the photo read: Hamilton Theater burns. I also remember the fire department using water from the swimming pool to help put out a big fire. It’s a mystery I’m hoping someone can solve and set me straight.

A RARE RENDEZVOUS

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!)

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

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WITH LOVE–Hamilton, Missouri

May 11, 2017

In about 2 weeks, I’m going “home” to Hamilton, Missouri. I grew up in this small town, where we rode horses bareback, never locked our doors, and left the keys in the car. (Yes, I do realize times have changed.) Both of these pictures were taken before my time. The train no longer chugs across Main Street, and I’m pretty sure the Penney store closed. Hamilton was the birthplace and hometown of J.C. Penney, who went to school with my grandfather. The Penney Farm was just up the gravel/dirt road from our house. I graduated from Penney High School. And on Saturday, May 27th, I’ll be speaking and reading and signing books at the public library, which is in the Penney Museum. That night I’m speaking at the Alumni banquet. I am so excited and so very grateful!

I’m hoping to post a few more old pictures and memories before Joe and I and Ellie and Cassie, our 6 and 8-year-old granddaughters, head for Hamilton. Stay tuned!

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.

 

FREEBIE BOOK!

May 1, 2017

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I LOVE when this happens! My publisher is doing a special promotion this month on RUNAWAY, the first novel in my Starlight Animal Rescue series. Here’s the deal:

FREE from 5/1 to 5/3

$1.99 the rest of May

Tyndale’s eBook Extra promotion page through the following link:

http://e-bookextra.com/

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…Before and After

April 21, 2017

2 Franks

War changes everything, including warriors. Lt. Frank R. Daley, M.D. is in both photos. In the first one, I think he looks so young and eager, still stateside, but about to travel and see the world. In the bottom photo, he’s on his way to Alsace-Lorraine, a stopover before pushing into Germany with a battalion unit. He’s seen a lot, too much. He knows that the railroad car he’s traveling in was purloined from the Nazis. And he strongly suspects that the train had been used to carry captives to concentration camps.

I discovered the second photo in one of Frank’s letters to Helen. At first, I wondered at his odd expression from the box car. Then I read the letter. He explains that he was sucking on a rare piece of hard candy when the picture was taken.

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.”