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.”

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.

SCHNAPPS

April 9, 2017

Schnapps (2)

I can easily identify 2 out of 3 in this photo: Lt. Helen Eberhart Daley, Army Nurse, and Schnapps, a true-to-life stuffed dog, whose name was a mystery to me before I read the letters I found in the Army trunk. If you’ve read this far in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, you know how the dog got its name.

Mom (Helen) was too generous for her own good. If I complimented her necklace or bracelet, she’d attempt to give it to me. But one day when I was probably 7 or 8, I was playing in the attic and found this cute, black stuffed dog. Thinking I’d add it to my stuffed animal collection, I carried it down and ran to find Mom. “Mom! Look what I found in the attic! It’s kind of beat-up, but the stuffing isn’t leaking.”

She took that dog and smiled at it as if she’d finally run into an old friend from another life. “Take it back to the attic, Dandi.”

“But I wanted to play with it!” I protested.

She smiled again at that curly-haired black dog. “Not this one, honey. This one is special. Schnapps belongs to me.”

I thought about telling her “Schnapps” was a dumb name for a dog. I thought about pointing out that she was too old for stuffed animals. But something stopped me–maybe her expression; maybe having her keep something I wanted. It certainly wasn’t like the mother I knew.

When I came to the first mention of Schnapps in a letter Mom had written Dad in WW2, I’d already started seeing “the mother I knew” as something more–Helen, a young newlywed in a war zone, lonely, missing her husband, caring for so many injured and dying soldiers. Another dozen or so letters mentioned the dog. I finally knew why Schnapps meant so much to her.

As for the real dog in the picture, I have no idea, and you won’t find that one in the book. You’re on your own there.

WITH LOVE, AND MARRIAGE, WHEREVER YOU ARE

April 7, 2017

honeymoon dinner (2)FRANK and HELEN after their whirlwind marriage in Chicago. I believe this is from the Blackhawk in Chicago, but this is one of the few photos they didn’t label on the back. It’s definitely from their honeymoon. I’d love to know if this is how you pictured them as you read.

WITH LOVE … FROM THE PALMER HOUSE

April 5, 2017

Palmer House (2)

Finished? Still reading? Wondering what I’m talking about? In With Love, Wherever You Are, The Palmer House plays a role, as it did in the real lives of Helen and Frank. Will you let me know that you know why I’m posting a postcard of this hotel? A few years ago my husband I stayed there, and it’s as lovely as it was in WW2, when this postcard came out.

WITH LOVE, WHEREVER THEY MET…

April 3, 2017

Battle Creek (2)

If you’re reading WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, you are already familiar with Battle Creek, MI. And if you were paying attention, you know quite a bit about things that happened in this hospital. Anyone know these answers??

I’m planning to post a bunch of pictures, postcards, memorabilia from WW2 over the next few weeks. Many of the items or locations are mentioned in the book. Other things are letters, etc. that didn’t make it into the book. I hope some of you will “play” along with me–not just answering the questions, but asking some of your own, or commenting, or telling me some of the vast information I don’t know!

WAR WEDDING

April 1, 2017

photo

If you’ve read this far in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, I’ll bet you know exactly what this is. Clues: 1) It’s nearly 75 years old and still intact. 2) The cake it topped is long gone. 3) That lovely white dress really should have been another Army uniform. 3) Check out that flag–only 48 stars.  So, have you read this far?

LITERARY LOVERS’ MARCH MADNESS

March 20, 2017

I love March Madness, except for the fact that Mizzou didn’t make it this year. (We’ll get ’em next year!) So, look what someone else is doing–a Literary-Lovers’ March Madness. And LARA and I made it to the second round. LARGER-THAN-LIFE LARA contains just about everything I know about writing. And since everyone has been bullied and has bullied in some way, readers get the subtle anti-bullying theme. I don’t think I’ve asked anyone to vote for me since I ran for office at  Missouri Girls State…and loss. Round 2 ends Thursday. Here’s the link if you’re up for it: http://readthearc.com/literary-lovers-madness-round2/