March 24, 2015 – the one foot of snow that refused to leave us

Actually it was a lovely day today. I picked up my buddy Jo and gave her a ride to our Chair Yoga class. It was a very good class, lots of balance and stretching exercises.   I got some work done in the morning organizing in-kind contribution sheets for the grant.  It is nice to finally have everything together in one place. Tomorrow I will get them all up to date which is a nice thing to do before I take off again.

Good grief a picture of me doing balance work..

Had a great walk with Denis, it was cool and sunny. Then made dinner and we ate and I went off to Tai Chi.  Rose, Jackie and I worked with Meg and I had to remember to keep my knees bent and at the same level all the way through. That is hard to do.  Try it sometime.  WE had a good time and then after coming home had a good chat with Moe and am trying to find a weekend to head up north.  Maybe I will leave on thursday and come back on monday or tuesday.  The time if right to head north and get things in shape.

Here is a very long letter to Pat’s brother Ferg and his wife Connie and turns out she knew about her brand new niece. 1944 was a great year for the ladies in our family…

Lieut (n/s) P O’Connor
No 8 Cdn Gen Hosp
BLA
25 Aug, 44’

Dear Connie and Ferg:

I got Ferg’s airmail letter today and the one with the pictures in. Was so thrilled with the latter. The children are simply adorable. I have showed them to everyone and they all think they are perfect.   I love Marye opening the gift. The setting etc is lovely and my godchild is lovely.  I wish I was home to get to know him but I will eventually, he looks so sweet and they both look beautifully dressed and so healthy.   I could eat them.   Brought them on duty to-nite to show a couple of the M.O.’s who are always showing me theirs.

Wonderful of you to have a parcel on it’s way. The last one was a trifle battered up and had been repacked but very good and much appreciated for all it’s bad traveling.  As you know we had a perfect picnic with it and some of the lads on the picnic are dead now so I like to know that their last afternoon was fun and very peaceful.

I have been quite busy lately. I admit nearly every nite.  We are so far back now that they do not come in in droves but slowly.  Last nite it went on all nite, just one or two at a time I look up and through the old canvas someone comes in, very dirty and weary.   I never know what rank they are because a lot of officers don’t wear their rank in the actual fighting and they certainly all look the same, so I ask them and then get them to bed.   They all want to wash first so we give them a small basin of warm water, there are no showers, no baths etc. but at least they get washed and then when they are in bed and fed, usually they say, ‘how long will it be before I can go back” or “I shouldn’t be here, there are so many guys back there need it so much more”, that’s the Infantry for you.

The news is good but it can’t be over too soon. On the whole the news is wonderful, unbelievable but to the individual fighting, it still goes on if you see what I mean.

I go on about my life over here. I often wonder if it has any interest to you all but if I didn’t write about it I wouldn’t write at all because there is absolutely nothing else.

Driving about the country is interesting!  Some of the towns are laid on the ground and the poor people look like ghosts. They scrounge around trying to find things to exist on.  The air force pounded the life out of most of them.  The town that was much fought over had four hours of ceaseless bombing before the Infantry went in.  All that is left is a huge church. Ted said all the boys agreed to leave it alone but the rest is unbelievable. Just ruins.

I was so happy to hear about Paris.  I had thought maybe it would be ruined but I guess we may see it after all in some of it’s glory.   I certainly hope so, we are making great plans for our celebrations there.  They should be good.

We are moving shortly but we don’t know where. I guess it depends on how well they do and how quickly and the safest place not too far back.   I am all ready to get going as usual, so glad to be in on the big parade, would be so disappointed if we were a base hospital, how dull!

The weather remains lovely. I ‘m not cold working nites and I have a wonderful tan from lying in the sun during the day. Our batman brings us tea each afternoon and we pick the green apples in our orchard and they are very good. Our spot is certainly ideal, the orchard is sweet, and apple tree by each tent.

We get a great many P.O. W’s in and the stories they tell are interesting.   Up until very recently they believed firmly that they were winning but now they admit they can’t last long.   Most of them speak English.   They are terrified of us at first, afraid to go to the O.R. because they believe the M.O’s will amputate their legs or arms as the case may be.

The propaganda in Germany was really something. They believed implicitly in Adolf (who by the way must be taking a lot of headache tablets, these days, I’m thinking) and in the cruelty of the English.   It’s all true what we read about them, a lot of them, the patients tell us, out of food and ammunition just sit on the roads and wait to be captured.   They can’t be trusted at all though and most of them know only one thing, to stick it out to the end.   Poor things really, but one ‘sniper’ left can do a dreadful amount of harm to our men as they advance.   I don’t take care of them thank goodness, all I want are Canadians.   Dick Hunter says I have wonderful Patriotism to Canada but dreadful intolerance for any other country. He says it is admirable but stupid and I guess he is right, must be the Irish in me, eh!   What do you think?   Well enough of this, my pets, I certainly go on for pages, don’t read it if you don’t want to.

How are Grandmother S (Simpson) and Bertha. I do hope they are well and happy and taking life easy.  I think about them a lot.   I would love to see them.   I had a card from Aunt Bessie not long ago.   Just a plain card and all it said was “Where are you, I have lost track of you” and signed with her initials.   Before I got it everyone in the mess had read it and thought it very funny.   I wrote her and told her I had “flown the country” I still hope to see her before I return to my native shores.

So thrilled about Jean’s daughter.   Sheila wrote and told me the good news.   What is she going to call her?   I hope Jeannie is very well.   How is Fergie Joe these days, no one mentions him lately.

I can’t buy anything here in France, money just doesn’t mean a thing – there isn’t a thing – but when and if we get to Paris I shall try to get the children something and Mother.  I haven’t sent her much but personally I would much prefer to shop in Canada.  Of course some clothes with Paris labels would really be something but after living in khaki and big boots I wonder how I’ll ever manage high heels again when I never could walk in them.   By the way I see I am making money by being over here.   I will be able to buy that roadster yet! or take those long waited for flying lessons.   I have to decide which I want most.   The latter probably.   All my fighter pilot friends have offered to show me a few tricks, and they are the lads that know them.   Their ‘typhoons’ travel 400 miles an hour, what beautiful things!  Ted wanted to take me up but regulations say we have to get permission from our O.C’s and mine refused but Ted may ask him – not that I’m hoping that will change his mind, but it would have been wonderful to see the battle area from a plane.   I have some more pictures of Ted and Andy and the rest which I just send home to keep for me. They are nice people.

This letter is reaching great proportions.  I must stop, it is 3.30 a.m. and I must make my rounds.   I have a Polish officer who is dying and a few others to watch carefully.   Otherwise things are peaceful.   I have a grand M.O. from 2 c.c.s. who is here suffering from exhaustion, but he is at my beck and call and it’s grand having him as a pt because the staff are so far away.

Had a letter from Norm to-day. They are in the thick of it and fighting hard.   He had his jeep shot up in flames by a tank and lost everything he possessed, even his tooth-brush, his entire kit – poor Norm but I’m glad he wasn’t in the jeep.  He is miles and miles away from us now.

Thanks again for the snaps. Send me more as you take them. And thanks for the parcels, you are both very sweet to me for which I am most grateful.

Give my love to everyone, I will write the family later, tell them this is definitely all my news for the present. On ‘nites’ nothing happens, just nothing at all,
Lots of love,
Pat

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