Today we had a little snow. Don’t think that could have happened for many more weeks. Did not stop me from going to my lessons – first chair yoga.. Carlie our teacher is really fun and it feels so good afterwards. My friends Jackie and Maria.were there. Then in the afternoon the fellow came who is going to do the kitchen and I now had to wait for him to send me a quote. Should be interesting. I cannot wait for the new tile to go in and the counter top… It will just freshen up the whole room.. He is also going to screen the wood floor and recoat it. So happy…
Then at 6 I went with Rose to Tai Chi and Jackie was there as well. We had a good lesson and we all seem to be getting back on track after our weeks away from classes.
This afternoon I sent the Devaney family Pats letters from the time she met Charles until they separated in BC. I hope they enjoy them. I also have a picture of Charles to send them a copy of. There are more pictures up in Canada that I will have to send them in the spring when I can get into the school house. As I reread them I remembered who much I loved her love of life and the way she treated each event as an adventure to cherish. When you think how short her life was she certainly put so much into every day she lived more in her 29 years than most of us have lived so far. Yes we go through every day but do we take advantage of opportunities and take on challenges that are sent our way.
Here are two letters from her leave in April of 1944.
April 1, 1944
Here I am in the British Northern Hotel in Edinburgh. But I will go back to Saturday in Aberdeen. We went site-seeing in the afternoon. The whole city is built of granite and looks so old and solid. It has its own granite right there. The streets are mostly cobbled. The sun was shining but it was very cold and they told us that was a summers day. That it never got warmer so I wouldn’t like to live in Scotland and they don’t heat their places, of course, they cannot get coal but I don’t see how they stand it day after day.. Our hotel room was lovely but you could see your breath in it.
We saw Marishcall College (pronounced Marchall) and Kings college. The former is the new university of which Aberdeen is very proud. It is very beautiful. The latter was built in 1494 and we went through the original chapel and it really is wonderful. They certainly built things to stay in those days. We saw a war memorial that they sank in the channel while the bombings were going on to protect it. We went up on the roof of the College and looked over the city and the ocean. We saw another church which was built in the sixth century, if you can imagine. Sat nite we went to the supper dance at our hotel.
Sun it was raining and has been ever since. Very dull of it. We went to see Beatrice Lillie in “Staff Dance” on Sun. It was very amusing. She was staying at our hotel. Supper was late, then we sat around the lounge and played some bridge with a couple of American officers who were staying at the hotel.
There were no cars over here. A few taxis of course and they are the queerest little cars, only hold two people usually. The street cars and buses are double deckers and look top heavy and they go so fast.
On Mon. we decided to come here to Edinburgh because of the rain. We got in last nite. This is a marvelous hotel, this city like London is overflowing with people. I have never seen so many people. Mostly American soldiers, of course. 3,000,000 of them compared to our 300,000. Quite a few eh! Well I will write you later. In London probably because if this rain keeps up we will head back for it is so dependable. Love Patt.
April 8, 1944
Well I am back from my leave but must tell you the rest of it. We stayed in Edinburgh for two days. We saw just about all the historical spots. Their famous shrine to the heroes of the many wars, it is on top of a mountain. Then on another small mountain is the castle where Mary Queen of Scots lived. It is very beautiful. It is right in the middle of the city and is practically surrounded by canals and through the mist you can just see its outline against the sky. And we saw the Holyrood Castle. It is supposed to be the oldest castle I think. Edinburgh is a wonderful city but I was glad to get back to London. The trees in all their glory, periwinkle vines crawling all over the stone hedges between the fields. (I forgot to tell you that in Aberdeen the wind was howling one nite and if we had had shutters to hang on the windows I probably would have heard Heathcliffe calling Kathy, remember Mary? Well the atmosphere was just like that, with the sea roaring so close and the rain.)
But to get on, we travelled at nite back, 10 pm to 7 am. quite a ride but in our compartment there was an English officer, a Scots offcr, an old lady and two Can offs. Major Norm Wilson-Smith and Maj Dick Hunter. One a broker and one a lawyer from Winnipeg. So we had a gay trip. We all shared our lunches etc. When we got to London they took us out to the Sisters Club so we could get a couple of hrs sleep. They came back at noon to take us to lunch but we decided to have it there. Then we went downtown to see a movie. “The Fallen Sparrow” very good. When we came out it was so lovely we took a walk in St. James Park and saw all the memorials to the Artillery, Engineers, Rifle Brigades etc. Then we had tea in the Park Lane Hotel. Then to the theatre where we saw Oscar Wilde’s “The Ideal Husband” very clever and amusing and Oscar Wildish. It was over around 8:30 so we went to the Carillon Grill for dinner and dancing (to be cont)
# 15 8 April ’44 cont
Then home to bed. Next morning had breakfast in bed, met the lads for lunch. Then saw “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and loved it. Then had tea (all London stops for tea) then they brought us to the train. I love London so much. In later years when I remember my months over here it is London I will remember. It is so immense and full of life.
Did I tell you about all the anti aircraft balloon barrage over it? They prevent the enemy aircraft from swooping down to strafe the people. A favorite trick of theirs. Especially along the coast where the troops are patrolling. There were no raids but the moon was bright and they never raid by moonlight anymore. They wait for black nites and no one can tell whose aircraft it is.
When we got back there were many changes here. All the Canadians have moved out and a lot of English are here. (I hope we can’t stay with them. I don’t like) Also all leaves are cancelled so we just got in under the line. There is great tension everywhere. It is like that terrible calm before the storm.
I found lots of mail and messages awaiting me. Letters from Dad, Eileen, Ferg and Cynthia Sims and then local mail. Among them one from Aunt Bessie (she calls herself my long lost aunt) She had got Jean’s letter and said she was heartbroken about Maney?. I am writing her today. I am going on nites next week so should get over to see her on my nite off some week soon.
I felt very badly about Jamie D. What is happening to the world that people have to suffer so much?
Thanks a million for sending the dressing gown and slippers. I will write Ferg soon, tell him. I loved Eileen’s two letters. So glad your trip was fun and the best of luck to Bill in his new job. I bet the kitchen looks lovely and it will be nice to have the cottage but do go slowly, Mother and enjoy the nice spring days and rest a lot. Did my income tax return come yet or my bond, I am just curious.
I get lots of letters from Norah. She does wonderfully at writing. I hope Jean gets the wool I sent her. It is only 8 skeins but very nice and goes a long way. I could get lots and it is very cheap but each skein takes a coupon and I have only 18 coupons for 3 mos for everything. I’ll tell you more about it later. I don’t know how people manage.