Tag Archives: Dick Hunter

March 29, 2015 – we have sunshine today and some tears – WWII it was raining

I woke up this morning later than usual because we stayed up late last night. First watching a couple of episodes of the Killing – Love the scenes of Seattle. So many places I remember.  Then watching the nailbiter ending to the Notre Dame vs Kentucky basketball game. I think I am done with the March Madness at this point.   The NBA training teams are winning and I just cannot get excited at teams whose coaches make more than all the professors in their colleges and kids that probably are not getting an education but are just prepping for the NBA.  It is all so corrupt I cannot stand it.

But I did finally get up this morning and went to Palm Sunday services.. It was funny at the end. Father Tom had to get over to the other campus to say Mass at 11 and the Choir was singing verse after verse of some very lovely piece.  He tried to signal them to stop it but they kept going.  So at the end it made a beeline out of there to his car only 25 minutes late for the next service if you count his travel time across town.

Then it was time to read the newspaper.  D went out for a 10 mile run.. the half marathon is at the end of this next month and he is making progress getting ready for it.  He looks so great – as the young girls would say “hot” in his new very svelte body.  So glad he is such a healthy fellow.   Me, I read the paper and hung curtains on the line to dry.  But then I saw it. Sadly the Fantasticks is really going to close this time.  It has been playing at the Snapple Theatre on Broadway for a bunch of years and before that since the 60’s at the Sullivan Street Playhouse.  That is our musical.  During the year we started dating and decided to get married D was still acting as was I. He must more seriously since in his heart he wanted a career in the theatre. I suppose teaching might fill some of that dream.  But he played one of the fathers and I went to most of the rehearsals with him.  Then all the performances.  I will never forget the woman sitting behind me one night going on and on about his gorgeous blue eyes.  I smiled and was so happy they noticed them since I knew how beautiful they were and still are for that matter.

Since that time we have seen the play at the Sullivan Street Theatre, at the Snapple where we purchased a poster signed by Tom Jones who wrote the play/music and who acted in the revival. And we have seen it in many other venues over and over again.  The music was part of our wedding ceremony and we love it to this day.  We even saw it at Niskayuna High School..

So, that put a sad tinge on my day but it is beautiful out and I read this letter from Pat to her brother Maurice and his wife Jean, their daughter Maureen, my good friend, was born in August that year and this is her letter to them about that and what is happening in the war.

8 Sept 44’

Dear Jean and Misty:

Congratulations my pet’s on your new daughter, isn’t it wonderful!   Everyone says how beautiful she is.   I am so happy for you both.
I never answered Misty’s letter but I loved getting it. I thought it very cleaver and got a big bang out of it. I wish he would write me again but I know how busy he is and you too with your new infant.

I hope the family have been getting my “ordinary mail” letters fast.  You have probably read them.   So I shall not repeat myself.  Life is a trifle grim lately.   Being on “nites’ and the weather is cold and it has rained constantly since we arrived.   The boys put the tents up so fast that they leak all over and trying to keep the pts dry is a problem.   Last nite there was a great wind blowing and one tent gave way.  The pegs won’t stay in the wet ground.   What a time, and no lights, and I have never been so cold before, and to add to it all, our food is dreadful.   We haven’t had bread for a week and you never realize how essential it is until you don’t have it.   Especially for breakfast.

Oh well, I find it really quite amusing but amazing.  Today when Lib and I were sleeping our own tent nearly blew away and the rain beat in our faces.   But I hear we are going out on a “rest period” 48 hrs.   We don’t need it but it will be wonderful.   To an officers club which is really something.   Orchestra and bar and silk sheets.   I am so thrilled with the idea.   Fr O’Leary is taking Lib and I into … tomorrow.  I hope to get some perfume to bring home to you all.

Dick is about 30 miles away.   Drove over last nite for a few minutes.   Perfect of him but he expects to move again soon.   What a fast moving war!

Give my love to Fergie Joe.   I miss him a lot.   I knew him for so long.   Give Brenda and Maureen a kiss.   Have a happy time my dears and thanks for both your letters Jeannie.   Wonderful to hear, believe me.
Love Patt.


March 28, 2015 – They are finally moving on – north of Rouen

Boy I loved reading this letter today… don’t you get the feeling of what this woman was like?  I love her passion and enthusiasm.. Maybe I am just wishing I was really like that.  No wonder my mom loved her so much.  She had such a zest for life.  I wish she had lived long enough for me to remember her other than the vague memories I have of her when I was 4 or 5.

It is snowing today and we are going to a movie. I will finish this when we get back.

We went and saw the Second Marigold Hotel movie. I enjoyed it. There were some very good messages in there for us “older” folks.  Messages just when I needed them.   Then we went to Otis and Olivers for ribs which were so good.  Had a great conversation about the book and other things.  Cannot wait to get started back at it.

Enjoy this letter. I really did and found it opened up some doors for me.

Lieut (n/s) P O’Connor
No 8 Cdn Gen Hosp
6 Sept 44’

Hello dears:
I have a great deal to tell you so I shall start a few days back.  Last Friday to be exact.  That was the day I wrote last.  I saw Norm and we managed to get in touch with Dick to tell him where Norm was.  Saturday was lovely.    Norm walked over and had supper at our mess and we sat around until it was dark waiting for Dick. We knew he would come no matter how far it was but about 9:30 Norm left before it became very dark and I went to bed and to sleep but at mid-nite my batman woke me to say Dick had come, so I got up, the moon was full and it was as bright as day.

We drove over in Dicks jeep to get Norm.   He had his driver with him and they had driven since supper – time and had to be back by morning – such is friendship – so Dick got Norm up and out of his tent.   All very quietly and we sat and talked and fooled, we were so happy to see each other all together and Norm was leaving for England the next day.   About two a.m. Dick drove me back and left.   He was over 100 miles away. I don’t know how he knows which roads to take, nothing is marked and you can’t have lights on vehicles, but he said if he had had to walk, he would have come anyway.

Sun. I got up for 9:30 Mass then back to pack.  The tents were coming down at 2 p.m. so we got packed, then Lib and I had our last bath for a few days.   We took it in our green canvas bucket, when we were through we moved down to a ward (of the hospital which is where we were) then came back to our ghost orchard and sat on blankets.   Norm came over and we brought our supper out.   Mary, Kathie, Lib and he and I.   After we walked back with him because he was leaving.   Walking across the grounds of the hospital I met Tip Roberts.  We recognized each other so we stopped and talked.  He had a slightly crushed hand but he looked well and asked about Dad and Ferg.   I was so surprised.  I love seeing people from home.

Norm told me such fascinating things about fighting.  Things like when they entered ghost towns where the only living thing was a dog, if there was that and they were never sure whether ‘Jerry’ had cleared out or whether the houses were full of them or whether the town was a network of booby-traps.   This was around spots like Falaise, now everything is going so fast.   The Jerry’s haven’t time to do much but flee but just before this they did have.   I hope he never gets back to France (Norm, I mean).  His brigade, the Seventh is the most famous one of the whole war, the old Third Div.   What wonderful fighters.

Mon a.m. we got up at five, walked quite a way to breakfast and I had a new experience, eating breakfast in moonlight because it was really just three o’clock.   We sat on the grass if you can picture it and ate breakfast.   By seven we were loaded in the trucks and about ten to a truck with bedrolls, boxes to sit on and the convoy started out and that is a thrill, believe me, about ninety trucks, when we go down a hill, then up one you can look down on the long string of vehicles, really something.   You travel very slowly though and meet other convoys, of jeeps, tanks, paratroopers etc.

It took us all day to make our trip.   We stopped to eat by the road only.   We carried sandwiches and had water in our water bottles, I loved every minute of it.   I sat at the back of the truck so I could see everything.   The towns we went through I can’t describe.   I couldn’t get over it.   I couldn’t believe what I saw, just rubble, stone piles, you could see rooms with closet doors half open two and three stories up and nothing else left.

We crossed La Siene, and I have seen everything now.   The bridge was in between our bridge and the Thousand Is one in size and had been bombed by typhoons.   The Engineers had made it usable.   One truck could cross at a time (they are 3,000 wt)   The first part was all planks, then the rest sloped down into the water.   Then more planks with water on both sides.   Jerry vehicles that had been knocked out were still on it and two dead horses etc.

We passed through Rouen.   Hard to believe that less than seven days before it had been one of the hottest spots in France.   I might say that we were the first Can girls up so far, we moved before NO 7.

The people cheered and waved.   We drove so slowly and stopped so frequently that children, boys and girls and men came up to shake hands with us.   They said “Vive La Anglais” so we say, “Non, Les Canadians” or they said “Welcome” and threw kisses.   The children all ask “Cigarettes pour papa?” so we give them a few and then they say “pour mama?” so we gave them more .  It’s a racket, but I feel so sorry for them regardless, they must be a little tired of strange people and they look very shabby, they all drive in dog-carts and usually have all their possessions with them.

Of –course a lot of the country is untouched and very beautiful.

We arrived at our destination and pitched our tents in another orchard, the apple trees are so heavily loaded, they fall all around and it’s hard to walk but they are rather good to eat.

To-nite I went back on nite-duty because we admitted today.   I have a week to put in.   The set up is just the same as before only we haven’t electric lights yet so I am writing this with two lanterns.

The news is terrific eh!   While we were coming up yesterday, a mail vehicle came along – threw us a paper – it told about the allies being in Germany.  I was so excited.

We shall not be here long I expect.   Since I started on my Christmas leave last Dec it seems to me I have been on the go steadily.  There was that three months at Aldershot, but I had my leave and weekends and nites in London but of course I love it all.

Had Mothers letter on Sun.   Thank goodness I got it before I left because the mail may be slow in catching up.  I will give you the Edlins address. Mrs. Edlin (Lois) wants to come to Canada with Tony after the war so she is stopping to see us.
Mr and Mrs T. Edlin
17 St. Catherines Terrace
Hove, Sussex, England

Hove was next to Brighton, one street was Brighton and the next Hove, very peculiar eh!   She would be thrilled if you wrote.  She is really dashing.

I loved hearing about Norah’s family and so glad Jean called the baby Maureen, what a sweet name.

It’s very cold to-nite.  Once the sun goes down, it’s immediately gets very cold.  I guess it lacks the water.

We are living on “camp rations” again and they are foul, but every move is the same for awhile.   We should be moving soon but economically we shouldn’t move sooner than a month but one never knows.   All the talk makes me frightfully restless but then I always was eh!

Excuse the paper but I haven’t any and I just pick up what I can find.   I have stopped using blue air-mail but if you do not get these fast, tell me and I will change back, I may anyway because I won’t have much to say for while now.

Incidentally I hope I haven’t broken censorship but you read it all in the papers anyway.

I forgot to tell you I need a sweater.   I wish I had told you when they were sending the raincoat?  I hate to bother you.   But I would love a khaki one or a brown one, a pullover, a camels hair Jaeger one would be marvelous, if you could get one.   I would wear it under my battle blouse and it would be warm as well as lovely.   Sometimes I think, what is the use in case the war is over, but then when I’m cold I change my mind rapidly for this in only Sept.   It wouldn’t take long to come, I hope.

If you can’t get one like Jaeger, any nice pullover would do in brown or khaki, but a round neck, not v-shape and long sleeves.  I also need brown wool socks, (men’s will do and if they are big it’s alright because they shrink.)   If I don’t need them I’ll save them for the boys.   Use my money.

One day soon I am sending money home to cover what I have spent, what I sent for and to make up that extra $25.00 I didn’t save Jan and Feb.   I want to have saved that much in a year and not touch it so next month I may do that (if I don’t hit Paris or someplace where I can spend a lot)

I would like to get you all something in Paris if we are lucky enough to get there, but right now I might as well be in North Overshoe as far as shopping is concerned.

Marye’s bracelet sounds beautiful!   She must write me all about it.   I’m glad Misty didn’t go to Halifax, it is too far way.

I must write Sheila and tell her Norm is going to see her but he is probably calling her this minute, he will be wonderful to her.   He is getting me a lot of things in England and hopes to get back to take me and anyone I want to dinner in Paris.    That will be Lib and Mary and Kathie. He’s so lucky to be alive because it was a machine – gun fire that he walked into.   It’s all so dramatic and even a little romantic to talk about, or think about and yet it’s so grim and real the whole business, but it still has those qualities that is one of the reasons war is so bad but then you know all this and I write on and on.   Don’t you get tired!   I go on for pages but I love to tell you every thing because it’s all so different and to me exciting and even though I would love to be near you all, I wouldn’t have missed a minutes of it all.

I am going to get one of my orderlies to get me some hot water in a NWB and I shall go over to my tent before it is light and stick it in my bed roll – lovely thought that.

Well, I guess I had better stop. Is my writing any better Mother?

I hope I get some mail soon, life is dull without it and I hope this goes airmail.

Do stay well and have fun and be good and lots of love,
See if you can watch this movie on youtube.  goes hand in hand with what Pat says in the letter.

March 15, 2015 – The rains keep coming – and the war rages on.

Had a tough night last night. Never went deeply to sleep.  It was a rough night for sure. Felt terrible this morning so slept in. Sinus still bothering me every morning. ;Guess it is time to call the doc before we head south.  Otherwise once I got up and got moving I got a lot done. Read the newspaper, ate breakfast, went for a long walk and got a bunch of work done on the computer for myself and N-CAP.  Then D and I watched the Union vs Quinipiac hockey game, which sadly Union lost so they are finished playing for the season.  Then we watched two episodes of the Killing which is such a good series. Oh, do we love Netflics. Can see how you could end up spending the whole weekend or day watching a marathon of some series.  Now I am watching Who do you think you are?  Love this show although I wish they would have some normal people on the show.  I don’t know if anyone could get us further back than we are but I will never have access to the kinds of help Josh Groban is getting.

In between all of this have been thinking a lot about Pat’s letters.  I am going to be going north and settling down to write a fictionalized version. Using her letters as the basis so most of it will come directly from the letters but then I am going to do research on the people mentioned in the letters and incorporate more about them in the story and the various battles and places.  After I do the research I need to do I will be able to find out exactly where they were.  Very excited about that.

Here is the letter for today now that Pat is in France and close to the heart of the battles.

July 28, 1944

Dear Dad:
Congratulations, my pet about being a member of the Gyn & Ob Society.  I think it is wonderful but then you are anyway.   It was perfect getting your letter and one from Norah and Sr. Hughes. We don’t get mail often and it is lovely when it arrives.   Got Ferg’s parcel yesterday.   Say thanks to him and I will write him later.  Also I am going to send you a list of things I need or can use over here now that I know. Just send them anytime you happen to send anything and use my own money.

Cans (soup or fruit juice)
jam and peanut butter
biscuits (fancy)
coffee (we can never get)
canned milk
fruit cake
mirror (could you send two very cheap ones, bit enough to see my face and collar etc. I broke the only one I had. We hang them in the tent on the poles)
(That is quite a list but you asked for suggestions and I don’t want everything together!!!)

And I need a good khaki trench coat.  I want one to wear over my battle dress in the fall and winter.  I thought Marye could try in on and have it hemmed and get Steacy’s to pack and send it.  But I want a good one, soft and complete with split up back, raglan sleeves etc. You know the type I have – always loved and it is one thing I can use later so I would be very grateful for that and it should really get here by the middle of Sept if you send it now.

I just read a long article on our hospital from a clipping from a paper (Can.) I wonder if it was in our paper and if you read it.  All about us going to war. Dreadful really but you would recognize the description of the house up north etc.

Well this is quite a good spot. Every time I look out of my tent some familiar person is crossing the orchard to see me.  We haven’t being going out, because we are standing by in case we start to admit so everyone comes over.  I never have a minute.  Went to bed early last nite and was just asleep when the air force and some army arrived so I had to get up.  Norm had been here earlier.  Came back from the front for a bath and dropped in.  Wonderful to see him but he had to get right back. Dick was in the other nite at twelve o’clock.  He was just passing through, next morning he flew back to England for a couple of days. The lads at the RCAF stations are here every nite. They take turns flying so there is always someone around.

Across a hedge from my tent there is an American camp. We are all jammed right in but there is lots doing, thank goodness because it is better not to ever think about it all. Things are pretty grim for the Canadians, wouldn’t you know they take the beating!   We never see a paper or hear the news or know what is going on. Unless like from Norm I get it first hand, otherwise we are isolated. P

PS. I didn’t notice this piece to write on. It is raining, rain every day but the tent is quite comfortable is a little damp. One of the boys made us a table for our basin etc. I am lucky though I have lots of warm sweaters etc. don’t need a thing, only the coat.

March 5, 2015 – Spring, flowers, handsome men and war preparation

“We come this way but once. We can either tiptoe through life and

hope we get to death without being badly bruised or we can live a full,

complete life achieving our goals and realizing our wildest dreams”

                                                                                  Bob Proctor

Had a grand time today working on raffle prizes for Open Doors Ontario.  I really kind of like the painting and getting a little creative.  Got to visit with the woman who work in the shop and get caught up with their lives.  Will pick them up next Thursday and paint up  two more items.   Also had a chat with my friend Jean who is doing so much better. We have a date for lunch next week.  And tomorrow I am having breakfast with a friend.  And then lunch with the girls after our meeting.  So should be another lovely day.  In addition got caught up with my son about their snow day.  Also, he loves the blog and some of his friends are learning about it.  All good news.

#18 24 April ‘44

I will start this but I haven’t much to say. I got Maryes and Dad’s letters this afternoon which made me very happy. I wrote to Simpsons Shopping Service tonight for a couple of things I need so they will be sending the bill to Marye. I don’t want to bother you people with them.

Well, we are living from day to day now but it won’t be for long. We are going out under canvas – fun eh!  So I am packing up all my blues and other clothes and storing them.  We will be dressed like the WAAC girls, it seems like an awful lot of extra expense but c’est la guerre.  I really don’t know what I’ll ever do with all my blue.  I wish I could have given a lot of it to Sheila however it doesn’t bother me much but then nothing does because there is no point to it.  I could tell you a lot of interesting things but I dare not. However I shall try to let you know by degrees. If mail is ever slow don’t worry because I will write frequently and it will get there eventually.  It may never be slow but if it should – just remember I am writing often anyway.

We got our bed rolls the other day and our web equipment etc.

Yesterday it was very lovely out. Norm and Dick drove over to get me and we went to tea at the home of an English Col. It was perfect. The house was lovely, the gardens beautiful.  The country is gorgeous.  We picked blue bells, and white bells and tulips, primroses, for-get-me-nots, you can wade through fields of them and there are so many other bushes, flowers and shrubs that we don’t know the names of.

Today I went out paddling with Don (He is back down in this district) I am getting a bit of a tan and will probably get a lot more – I hope.

I hope you have all recovered from your colds and that the weather gets warm soon. All that snow sounds dreadful.

Well the “nites” drag on. We are not very busy so they seem quite long. No more news now but I’ll be writing you later in week after my nite off. Lots of love, Patt

#19 28 April ‘44

I got two parcels today. One was from Mother and Dad with my dressing gown and the slippers. I love them and the other was from Ferg and Connie and it was perfect. It’s so sweet of you all to send me things. I had just eaten my last chocolate bar and was wondering how I was going to get along without them when the boxes came. I am mad about the Roundtree kind. I brought a couple over to my favorite patients.

I sit here looking out over the country. The lilac trees are out and everything is so green. The weather has been perfect lately. Mother would simply love the flowers over here. I can’t get over it. They are a constant source of pleasure to me.

Our mess dinner was tonite and it was quite an affair. It looked lovely and the dinner was marvelous started with gin cocktails, fruit cocktail, canapés, radishes, cheese, tomato soup, roast chicken lemon pie, (made with real lemons) coffee and nuts. Cost a fortune I hear – everything was imported probably. Miss Neil? Was present and a few others of note. This is our farewell get together.

Last nite I was off so I met Norm and Dick in the town they are closest too. Can’t mention any names but I did before. They met me at the train and we went to this beautiful country inn – Lord Nelson used to take his Lady Hamilton there for weekend. It is so old and lovely and in a beautiful setting. We had cocktails in the garden, then dinner at a huge window looking out on a brook, the flowers were all shades and the moon came up early and it was very warm out and so bright. We just sat around for hrs enjoying it all. Then they brought me home on the last train in time to catch theirs back. We have a wonderful time together. They are coming down on sun pm and I am having Mon. nite off – I’ll tell you about it later.

They are under canvas so have to wear battle dress everywhere. Mine incidentally looks quite nice. We wear tams, but the rest is exactly like Misty’s even to high boots and anklets and khaki raincoats which we have to give 14 coupons for. Dick has to give me his coupons because I haven’t that many left. You should see the stuff I had to get. Tell you more about it later. Love and thanks Patt.

#20 30 April ‘44

I got Mother’s letter yesterday and it was wonderful hearing from her again. I am so glad you are feeling better, dear, do be careful! I am glad you are sending me soap because we only get two bars a month issued to us and it isn’t very good. My original supply is beginning to get low. Jane must be very sweet and it’s lovely for you all to see so much of her. I am glad she likes Patches, how is the black boy doing these days?

Saturday p.m. I was out paddling on the channel. It was so warm that all I needed was a sweater and skirt and I got quite a burn on my face. You know how I love to let the sun soak in. I feel very well these days. I think everyone should take vitamins. They really keep one fit.

Today Lil Graham came down to see me. She is going out east. I got up at noon and we went over to have lunch at the officers club in A…… we talked our heads off. I shall miss her because although we didn’t see each other much we talked on the telephone frequently. Norm and Dick came up and met us there and we sat under the tree in the sun and watched people play tennis. It is a lovely club. Lil caught a train back at 4:30. She is very sweet.

Maggie has left me, isn’t that a shame! She was sent to No 7 CGH. I hope we won’t be too far apart later but we can’t tell. However she phones me each nite but I will miss her.

I was talking to Glen Burton tonight. He was down seeing some friends here. He was very anxious for me to be sure to say “hello” to Dad. He said he had always admired and liked him (Dad) so much he said also that all the men who had gone through Queens would remember Dad if they forgot everyone else.

I had a letter from Frank which I am sending on to Marye. It was perfect. He asked me to send my picture of Marye to him because he hadn’t received his so I did. I hear there is a terrific “black market” where he is and hardly anything gets through. Pictures are taken for their frames but I think he will get mine okay and if he gets his he will send it back. I miss mine, it is so lovely.   Patt

O'Connor-Pat 2

March 4, 2015 –

Now, it was warm today. Temp was up in the 30’s.  I was going to go out for a long walk but then realized that I had to do an online training at 1 pm.  So never went out. At a meeting at 9 am at Town Hall and then one that went from 4:30 until after 8 pm.  We have to do something about these long meetings.   But at least this evenings meeting helped me me a resolution to myself about my future.

You will notice that Patts writing changes in these letters. In the days before D-Day they were told to be very careful about what they said so she wrote like “favorite town” meaning London.  Sometimes you have to guess what she is talking about and it is pretty obvious they are getting ready for something to happen.  Norm Wilson-Smith and Dick Hunter were very good to Patt all the way through her stay.  They traveled the same path but they were in headquarters planning attacks and she was in the hospital picking up the pieces.   Enjoy…

11 – April 44’ (one side of this airgram is torn so some words are missing)

Dear Madeline,
I got your lovely letter this morning and your other one about a month ago and it certainly is perfect to get them. I do hope you are feeling better. You have had a tough time this winter. Your letters give me a lot of news and are wonderful. I think everyone thinks someone else is giving me all the news so I miss some so tell me everything.

You will be reading all about my trip to Scotland. You would love it all. I can just see you “browsing” around the quaint little shops and enjoying the walks in the country. The roads and lanes are so lovely and there is no traffic to scare you.

London is marvelous. I saw the Parliament buildings, Westminster Abbey the other day. They are very big and impressive. Two of the …on the Parliament buildings are off – a bomb hit them on the whole the buildings, I mean the big ones have not been damaged too badly. The incendiary bombs do all the harm and these leave complete blocks absolutely “grilled” by fire. Maybe some of the frame of a house is left standing, maybe not.

Piccadilly is the heart of downtown London. I think if you stand on a corner of it for one day a million different faces would pass you. All the hotels, restaurants, theatres etc are there. The Americans have everything tied up though. They will pay any price for what they want. So hotels, taxis, bars, cater to them. It’s too bad because American privates get so much more pay than ours do however” c’est la guerre”, that is the answer to everything from a taxis to a dining room. It’s all quite an experience.

I am waiting anxiously now to see what is going to happen. No one knows after Dieppe, it is a good thing too. They say everyone talked about it before anything happened and look what results. The Canadian troops over here feel very strongly about that yet. It certainly left its mark.

This is my second letter. I hope you get the first one. You didn’t say. Give my best to Mrs Green and Arthur and Jack and lots of love to you dear and take care of yourself. Love Patt.

#16 17 April ‘44

It is one a.m. and everything is very quiet. I have just a few very sick pts and the rest are pretty good. I am on “nites” for the next five weeks. Pretty grim but at least we have one nite off a week so it will break it up. I have just one ward with twenty five pts. All the M.O.’s are grand to me. Max Malone comes down every nite for a chat. He is one of the surgeons and very popular with everyone. My finger is still very sore but I would much rather be working, as you know, I never did have any patience with being sick and out of things. We have very good suppers and the nite goes fairly quickly.

I have to be very careful now about what I say in letters because they may be censored. You will have to use your imagination. We cannot go farther than 20 miles from where we are stationed now so that is very hard.

On Fri nite Norm came over on his motor bike and we had dinner at the Queen’s hotel and a perfect evening. He is very clever and very nice. I guess I told you about spending last Wed and Thurs with Dick in my favorite spot in the letter I wrote to Ferg. We had a marvelous time. I have this wed off so we are meeting at the same place between his station and mine.

Everything is lovely here now. You know the old saying” oh to be in England now that April’s here” is very true. I would love to spend every spring in this country. It is beautiful. Mother would simply love it. There are so many odd shrubs and bushes and flowers.

I got Dad’s letter on Sat. You certainly are very good about writing but don’t worry about writing often when you are so busy – as long as mine get to you so you won’t worry in the important thing. Had a letter from Marg and she said the children had the books so I am glad that they got there even though they were bought in a hurry and I have seen a lot nicer since. It must be lovely to have Eileen and Bill. I was thinking Marye and Bill would have a lot to talk over, it is always nice to talk “shop” with someone who knows what you are talking about. Nylon always had me bewildered. I couldn’t figure it all out.

I think of all the children a lot and how sweet they are. Well I’ll write often while I am on nites even though there will not be much to write about. My writing is still bad because my finger is still wrapped up. Love Patt

#17 – 21 April ‘44

Hello dears,
It’s the middle of the nite and the planes are going over by the hundreds. The steady drone goes on and on. I am so thrilled about Norah’s daughter. Isn’t it wonderful. Ferg mentioned it so casually in his letter. I nearly popped. Isn’t it marvelous that at last she has one although I was laying my bets on a girl. I must write to her at once. I had a letter from her the same day as Fergs and it said nothing about it.

And my poor dear Frankie was in the hospital! If I had known I could have wired her some flowers. I hope her back is better at last and that she had a good check-up. Tell me all about it and how she is feeling. You know how worried I get.

Tell Ferg. I am buying more really nice books gradually for “de keeds” I sent only the older ones the books last time and they weren’t too wonderful. Did “Fergie Joe” like his?

Well I can’t tell you much because I don’t know much but I think we are on the move soon. We are evacuating this hosp by degrees and I am seeing my tailor about my glamour suit. But I will tell you where and when if I can later. Right now your guess is as good as mine.

Had last nite off and what a wonderful time I had. Norm and Dick came to get me and the three of us went up to our favorite town. Saw a musical comedy which I loved, very gay and silly. Then had a rather good dinner at a club they belong to, then went from one spot to another. They spend small fortunes every nite we go out but it’s only once a week now that I’m on nites. They are grand people. I told you they are staff men and really in the know, not that it does me any good- they just laugh when I ask even the simplest of questions. They are very clever and all “staff” are hand-picked. Bill would get along famously with them. They remind me of him quite a bit. However they are wonderful to me and after long nites working it’s a lift and a big one to see them. We stayed over nite and today they picked me up at noon and we went out to lunch and then about 3 pm we caught the train back to here and to nite I had a long talk with two of my pts just back from Italy. Terrible injured but absolutely uncomplaining. They told me so much about out there and the fighting etc. said they could not believe they were out of it or that any other world existed. Pretty grim!

Well, my pets have fun – I think the cottage sounds very nice. You should all enjoy it this summer. I’m glad Uncle Jim is better and I do so hope that Mother is. Love and kisses, Patt

March 3, 2015 – Scotland and lots of Rain and great meeting

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.