Posts Tagged ‘storytelling’

FRANK THE STORYTELLER

November 14, 2017

Dad and Dandi

My dad, Captain Frank R. Daley, M.D., told me stories before I understood what he was saying. I remember that when I was very young, Mom would read me a story at bedtime. Then Dad would come in and make up a story. My favorites were part of a “Big Foot Dan” series, where Dan always beat Superman and Mighty Mouse in races. It wasn’t until a decade later that I figured out the amazing similarities between Dan’s feet and mine.

When I was a bit older, I got to partake in the story creation. Dad: “Once upon a time, there were four horses grazing on a hill. Their colors were. . .” Dandi’s turn: “Um, brown and brown and brown and brown?” Thankfully, my answers grew more sophisticated as time went on.  http://www.dandibooks.com

 

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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

 

DAD’S STORIES

October 17, 2017

Dad Dandi

I remember sitting in that chair and listening to Dad’s stories until someone would make us quit–usually, a phone call from a sick person who needed a house call ASAP. Dad made his WW2 buddies come alive for me: Anderson, Lartz, colonels and majors, privates, doctors, and patients. He told me stories about his family–how my Uncle Jack ended up a spy in WW2, or how he quit his restaurant job in Columbia, MO, so that Dad could work there and put himself through school at Mizzou. And if I pressed him, he’d tell me about the beautiful nurse he met in Army training and married after only a few weeks–Helen Eberhart, my mom. http://www.dandibooks.com

 

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.

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.