Posts Tagged ‘history’

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.

READING . . .

September 26, 2017

Dad on step

This is my dad (Frank from WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE) reading on our back step in Hamilton, MO. I think I was in high school when I took this picture. Just this morning I read an article that explained how reading creates more white matter in the brain and expands learning areas of the brain, enhancing intelligence and empathy. Dad read every chance he got–everything from novels to medical journals, how-to books to Alfred Hitchcock magazines. I remember Mom laughing over funny novels, like Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, while Maureen and I read novels . . . and comic books. What books do you guys remember reading when you were kids? What did your parents read? What are you reading now?

WW2, BASEBALL, & ROCK AND ROLL

September 21, 2017

Rock and roll

I had the best time when I took the family back to Hamilton, MO, my hometown, birth through college (at Mizzou, of course). I loved sharing Hamilton with Joe and our granddaughters. In a library talk, Ellie (short for Helen) dressed in Mom’s (Helen’s) Army jacket when I talked about WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. She changed into her rock ‘n’ roll persona when I read ROCK AWAY GRANNY. But I got to wear my Royals’ jersey as K.C. Batgirl for A GIRL NAMED DAN. Dream come true for this small-town gal!

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.

WW2’s MOST IMPORTANT SOLDIER

August 29, 2017

EPenicillin

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJL59-UsAyo&t=1s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMpbNFs687A
http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

WARTIME BRACELET

August 24, 2017

I loved this bracelet when I was a kid, though Mom rarely wore it. All I knew about it was that she acquired it during WW2, when she was an Army nurse serving on the front in France. She kept it in the little gold box, also picked up in France. The bracelet was the only piece of jewelry I wanted after Mom died.

Then, as I was reading through the 600+ letters I found in an old Army trunk, letters my mom and my dad wrote each other as Dad, an Army doctor, served on the German front, the pieces fell together. Dad wrote that Fritz, a trusted German prisoner in their British unit (more details in With Love, Wherever You Are!), was making coin bracelets for soldiers to send home to their wives, and Dad was thinking about getting Mom one. But a later letter said he’d decided they should collect coins from every place they were able to rendezvous. I ran to the little gold box and examined the coin bracelet.

Here’s what I can make out with a magnifier: 50 centimes 1922 “Commercie Industrie; Farthing 1943; Nazi Swastika and bird, 1941, and on the other side “Hitler Deutsch Reich Pfennig  (I think); 1922;  5 Centimes 1932 “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite”; 1944 coin has a stern-looking man’s head and says “Emanvele III”, 10, followed by a small c with a dot in it. I may have mistakes, as it’s hard to read. I welcome any input on these coins! But I felt as if I’d unearthed a treasure, so I wear this bracelet whenever I do a reading of With Love, Wherever You Are.  http://www.dandibooks.com

1945 THE INDIANAPOLIS

August 20, 2017
Harpoon 15 Aug Close-up

In the news this weekend was the discovery of pieces from the battleship INDIANAPOLIS, downed in 1945, toward the end of the war. It sparked my memory of an Army bulletin, The Harpoon, published on The Marine Panther as the ship made its way through the Pacific, carrying  my dad and a host of other American soldiers to see the war to an end. Dad, Captain F.R. Daley, M.D., saved this issue in the old Army trunk he left me. I thought this might be a good time to hear the news from the exact time it happened. I’ve enlarged the announcement of the tragedy. The full page is below. And more details are in With Love, Wherever You Are.

Harpoon 15 Aug

FORT DRUM (WW2)

August 10, 2017

Ft. DrummI had no idea what this monstrosity was when I found the picture in the bottom of a WW2 Army trunk. Thankfully, someone had written “Fort Drum” on the back. Known as “the concrete battleship,” it was a fortified island in Manila Bay, Philippines. The U.S. built it in 1909 as a harbor defense. It was captured by the Japanese in WW2, 1942, then recaptured by the U.S. in 1945. “Dotty” my aunt, whose letters appear in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, served in this area and was there for the fall of Corregidor and the Death March of Bataan.

LETTERS

August 8, 2017

Just Sayin'

When is the last time you wrote a letter? When is the last time you received one? In our age of texts and emojis, letters have dwindled. When I wrote WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, I was able to study over 600 letters written by my parents serving in WW2. Who preserves texts, even for the life of the phone? I decided I’d write a novel totally in letters. The result is JUST SAYIN’, a middle-grade novel in letters. The postmark and setting are Hamilton, MO, where I grew up.