Tag Archives: France

February 15, 2017 – Travel Day

Up early and packed and ready to go.  Went down and had a nice final breakfast at the NH Sint Pieter HOtel.  The bread is to die for…

We walked down to the station and got our train to Brussels.  It was a nice easy ride.  Then we found our train to Paris and while we waited had a coffee and a treat.   Again the ride to Paris was easy.   In Paris it took a couple of asks but we figured out how to get the metro to St. Lazare Station and got ourselves there with plenty of time before our train to Rouen.

So we got sandwiches and water and ate again.  I was really tired.  The ride to Rouen was nice as well. The trains are clean and the seats comfortable.   The ride was smooth.  And having assigned seats made it easy for us.   We arrived around 5 and walked from the station down to the hotel.

The fellow at the desk spoke no English to us.  Luckily we understood what we needed to from him.  Not saying he does not speak English but just had a feeling he did not feel like speaking it to us.

After settling in we were going to ask the guy at the desk where some restaurants were but he was on the phone and not interested in us at all.  So we set out and figured we would find a place to eat.  We did and had a great meal. First time I have had any cooked meat for dinner in a while.  I had chicken with apple cider sauce, salad and fries.  It was very good and I was so hungry.  And the bread as usual to die for.   I even wanted dessert as soon as I saw the creme brulee on the menu.   It was yummy.. So I am content and am going to sleep earlier than usual.  Did not see a lot tonight as we walked so figure tomorrow there should be lots to tell.

The one thing we did see today that I was not use to was soldiers with nasty looking guns.  In the station, on the train, in the streets, and even walking home this evening there were three vehicles of them standing in front of a church.  Just makes you realize how serious the French take the threats.   We also saw them in Belgium during our stay there.  Glad I don’t see much of that at home.

I did take a picture of the front of the Cathedral this evening and the view out our hotel room window.  Tomorrow if it is not raining will be picture taking day.  We are only here for the one full day tomorrow so we will take full advantage of the day.


March 31, 2015 –

Well, what to do with this tired body now? probably should go for a long walk.  I can just feel sleep coming on and I have not even had lunch yet.  D went and ran 5 miles this morning before I had finished reading the newspaper.  Have to wonder what the problem is here.  My check up is coming in a month and I plan to have a long chat with my doc about this and maybe head for the alternative doctor and spend $800 on a delayed allergy reaction blood test.  Or maybe I need Carters Little Liver Pills. Remember those ads. I don’t think anything can give me more energy but you never know.

I shut down my computer and started it up again and now have to find the thumb drive with Pats letters on them again.  I am transferring everything from two computers onto thumb drives so I have all my files before I shut down those two computers.  Drives me crazy.  It was so much easier when we did everything on paper. We had tons of paper but at least it was saved for the future. I figure all the pictures will just be deleted one day. I haven’t even had the time to order any pictures from our four months in Ireland. Of course when I do order them and they arrive I will probably get all depressed again.  I really miss something about being over there still.  Maybe in the winter I would have felt just like this over there but then again I wonder.   What was so special? What made being there made me happy?  And the big question is Why am I so unhappy being here in my own home? Or is it even that?  So much to contemplate.

I have been going back and forth about this A-Z challenge.  Doing ancesters is a pretty neat idea. I know something about all of them and they say don’t make the blog entries too long.  So I will start with something about a relative every day and then go back to WWII letters. I have all of Aunt Sheila’s letters as well and some fun ones from family members.  That should keep me out of trouble for a bit don’t you think?

Now I have to go and find the thumb drive with Pats letters on them and have some lunch. Will finish this after that.

15 Sept 1944

Dear Mother and Dad,

I received one of my boxes yesterday. The one with the peanut butter and honey in it and I was so thrilled. There has been no mail for five days so it was nice to get a parcel and the food was perfect.   Lib and I made toast at nite and had the peanut butter and believe me it tasted like something out of this world.

I didn’t get this finished.  Yesterday 16 Sept 44’ pm. Lib and I went into R…. and had more fun seeing the town.   I am sending you some sweet cards (painted ones) that you can save for me.   I have walked under the clock tower in one of them.  The city is old and quaint.   No sidewalks and market places and side walk cafes.   We had some iced sherbet with fresh wild strawberries at one.  “Tres bon.”  We are stared at wherever we go.   People stand in groups and just stare at us and a lot are very friendly.

I was coming out of a shop when I heard someone shouting “Patsy” and it was Ross Pinder ( a friend from Aldershot days.)   He is in Belgium now.  I was riding through when he saw me.   So he drove us home and stayed for dinner.

I bought a few perfumes to bring you home.  I am trying to collect a few things. I got some “Worth” “Tahoe” “Lucien Lalong” “Paquin” all those wonderful names you read about in Vogue and Harpers.   Wish I could afford a boat load.

We are hoping for Belgium at our next move which shouldn’t be too long away.   I shall try to get some lace. Nice eh.

Fr Sweeney had to leave – moved on.   His last nite he and I and Lib and Fr O’Leary went to dinner in a small pub.   Had the most marvelous time.   We started with “aperitifs” then had dinner with dry white wine, then canned pears which Fr S had brought along and had the juice mixed with cognac and it tasted just like cheery brandy.   Perfect mixture!   Then rum liqueurs with coffee.   Fr. S is the best host.   I am dying for you all to meet him .   You will as soon as we get back.  He is coming down for a week-end.

Life is perfect these days. Tomorrow I am going for 48 hrs to our “officers rest club” that will be fun.  I am wearing my “blues” for the first time in France.  What a thrill! will write all about it. Love P
ANd here is a site about the Clock Tower.


city clock architecture france Clock tower historic Normandy rouen

March 30, 2015 – Twin boys play day – freezing cold on the northern French Border

Today I got up early, now that was a miracle.  Went to the lab and gave them some blood for a test and then filled my gas tank for $16.00 – wow that was thrilling. Got .90 off a gallon, thank you Price Chopper.  Then I ate some breakfast and got myself ready to head out.

Went up to Halfmoon to visit friend Susan who I have not seen in ages. She babysits for her adorable twin grandsons. They were adorable and so busy which of course is a good thing.  Wonder how I ever used that play pen. Their house is just one big playpen for cute little kids.  The kids are just over a year but climb on everything and just keep going. Such fun.

I came home and went through all the mail and paid bills and made some donations so if I get the table cleared we will have room for the four of us to eat when we get back here from DC.  That is going to be so much fun. Oh and I made my plans to head south. Going to visit family then going to see the lovely Sarah starting in the “Miracle Worker”.  Should be a grand week. Then I bring the girls up here for the week. Such fun.

That was my day, how was yours?  My goal is to get up early every day since I will have to do that when the girls are here. Might be starting something new.  Been working on the A to Z challenge.  So many wonderful names to pick to write about. Even figured out some misinformation about my A person. Going to see if I can find out more about him tomorrow before I start.

And here is the continuing story of Pat’s adventures in northern France.

10 Sept 44’

Hello dears:

My hands are fast becoming stiff with cold but I shall be very brave and get this written (ha-ha).  About 11 p.m. the temperature really drops very low.  I wear two sweaters, my battle blouse, a sheepskin lined flying jacket (a loan from one of my Air Force friends) and when I sit down I keep a hot water bottle inside the jacket and a blanket over my knees and I am still cold.  And I don’t sit down much.  We are very busy.  The casualties from the seaport towns are very bad.   The Calgary Highlanders were practically wiped out the other nite.   Entered a town which the “Recon” had said was vacated, walked into machine gun fire, lost everyone – wounded and otherwise.  The other western units are also taking a terrific beating but then that is nothing new for them.  Its been the same since D-Day.  The boys tell me grim stories about it all which doesn’t help my morale any.

We had a perfect time yesterday. Fr. O’Leary told me be would take me to R…. that Lib could come along.  Capt (Fr.) Sweeney was taking us.   So at 9:30 a.m. Capt S. picked us up in his jeep.  He is perfect.   Young and very clever.   He is with Arm’d troops.   The sun was out for the first time in a week so we had a perfect drive.   They took us all over the city.   We went into the Cathedral where “LaSalle” was baptized.   It was bombed badly but still beautiful.   The French people told us “L’Anglais bombs” and smiled.   This with wild gestures.  They said, “le Bache bombe”,  I guess they didn’t like the Germans but who would!   We saw a monument where Joanne d”Arc was burned at the stake. We went to “Perfume” shops where I got a few little gifts for you.

Fr. Sweeney stopped at a corner where flowers were being sold and bought us armfuls of marigolds, dahlias, astors.  What a thrill!  Then he took us to a side walk café and we had drinks of rum.   Very good and potent stuff.  Then we drove home at noon and passed a convoy of Canadian soldiers, such a ride, we were so thrilled to see them and they rose and whistled.   The French people come up and shake our hands and we give them issue candies and cigarettes etc and they throw us kisses.   What a day!   I get so thrilled and happy. Fr. S has never met the other Fr. S in Ottawa but has heard of him.   He is from Toronto.

Sorry this is full will write more later. I never have enough space and mother will never understand this. Pat.

From Wikipedia here is a paragraph about their action in SEptember 1944. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Calgary_Highlanders

“On 6 July 1944, one month after the Normandy landings, the regiment landed in France. In Operation Spring, the Calgary Highlanders were part of the Battle of Verrières Ridge, along with the Black Watch, in which the regiment took heavy casualties. The unit saw extensive action in Normandy, marched through Dieppe with the 2nd Division in September 1944 as liberators, then moved on to the fighting for the Channel Ports. By the end of September the regiment was in Belgium and forced a crossing of the Albert Canal, northeast of Antwerp.”

picture of the cathedral at Rouen today

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 27, 2015 B – So I don’t know what day it is? Norm injured.

Well, last night I thought I might have made a mistake and today I confirmed that I was a day off on the calendar.  Love that my life is that way. NOT!!!!  I seem to be swimming in circles day in and day out.  So must to do and no desire to do any of it.  Probably should stop staying up so late at night and go to bed earlier.  Maybe it is the gray days and not enough Vitamin D.  Or maybe life just sucks.  What to do?  I think I have to start writing for two hours a day and see where that gets me. I need to clean off this desk first and then dive into writing. If I do that I might share some that here and ask you for feed back. I already have some fictionalized versions of Pats first months in England and the trip over on the ship.  Would people read those I wonder? And would they be willing to give feedback?

Going to a wake this afternoon and serving left overs for dinner and then we are going to eat popcorn and watch one of the series on Netflics.  Should be interesting.  Took down curtains in the girls room and am washing them and going to hang them out to dry.  There is a bit of a wind with this grayness and they might actually dry out there. No pollen to speak of so maybe this will work.  They sure were dusty.  Also found my ceiling duster and worked on that room and the hallway and stairs.  Dust galore.  Hard to believe.

Lieut (n/s) P O’Connor
No 8 Cdn Gen Hosp
1 Sept 1944’

Dear Mother and Dad:

I hope you have a lovely anniversary, my pets, I hope you got the cable I sent and the flowers Sheila and I sent.

Did Norah and her large family get over.  I bet the children were as cute as can be.  They have gone back by now.  I haven’t had mail all week and don’t expect any until we are settled again. – we are still waiting.  The troops are making such great advances that they have priority on all roads naturally but it won’t be long now and we should go quite a way.   We are enjoying the rest again, we were more tired than we realized.  I have been doing a lot of sleeping and lying in the sun.

I see Robi quite often, she is fine and happy.   She is thinking of waiting to get married until she is home which is rather a good idea for her because you can’t stay in France when you are married.

Norm was wounded again.  He was shot through the arm and it broke his arm (right) so it is in a cast and he will return to England.  Thank God he is out of it all for while.   He is in a British Hosp not far from here so he sent me a note and I got right down to see him.   Dick had been up the nite before and I was out so he left the message that Norm had been wounded and that he was out looking for him but he didn’t find him and headquarters moved the other day and are about six hours ride from here so it must have taken him all nite to get back and he still doesn’t know how badly he is hurt and we can’t contact him.  However I expect he will be back tonite or tomorrow.

Norm is going to call Sheila as soon as he reaches England and is going to meet her in London and take her to the theatre and the Savoy for dinner.  I am so glad.  He says that if he gets back to Canada before I do, en route to the West he is going to stop in Kingston and visit you all.   He said that is one of the nicest reasons he wants to return to Canada – to get to know you all.

Went on a nice party the other nite with a Col Caldwell from Halifax.  He knows Frank, said how much he liked him and his mother and father.   He took us to a club which is sort of a rest home for officers.   It was on a “beach” so we had a swim, a lovely dinner and the place was lovely.

Well, my dears, this is just a note and I won’t be writing again until later.
Love Pat

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
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,

March 23, 2015 – my baby’s birthday – the end of the battle for Falaise

Starting with the letter first tonight… August seems to be flying by because there were not that many letters. She was way too busy taking care of those poor wounded soldiers.

Lieut n/s P O’Connor
No 8 Cdn Gen Hosp.
Aug 17, 1944

Hello dears:

I shall try the ordinary mail this time because I want to send these clippings home of some of the lads.  Aren’t they wonderful? (no clippings in the envelop)

I have a day off today. The first since reaching Normandy.   Last nite it poured rain so I went to bed at nine o’clock and right to sleep and Kathie woke me up at one to-day and brought me my dinner so I feel like a million.   I am sitting out in the sun in my bathing suit now trying to get letters written.   I get so hopelessly behind.

Isn’t the news wonderful! Everyone is betting on it all being over next month.   I am so elated – imagine no more casualties, what a wonderful thing.   Dick says Nov 20 definitely.   Yes Dick and Norm are both married, didn’t I tell you. We three are just very good friends and I would hate to do without them.   The other nite I told them about not getting enough water, they were furious so the next nite Norm brought me five gallons in a “jerry” can to keep as an extra supply. Lib and I had been washing in the same water for a day and a half and they say there is really no need for it.   Poor organization or something.

I hear from Sheila a lot. I wish she was over here.

Have had a perfect time lately.  Was at a party at Teds mess the other nite.   A lot of the lads have gone now back to England and then home maybe.   They have completed their tour of operations.   Danny, Doug Lindsay, Andy MacKenzie and Bill Conrad.  I  will miss them.  They are all perfect people and great fliers.

Ted and Wallie Hill are going on leave the 20th for seven days.  They were over yesterday and took me swimming on my hour off.   It was marvelous!   They are moving soon also so we should all stay close together.

No 2 and 12 CGH’s have arrived and they are staying in No 7 and 8’s place as base hospitals because they are twelve hundred beds and we are moving up closer.   I am a little sorry to leave this happy spot but am always ready to be on the go and if everyone is going up,   That’s the place for me.   By the time you get this I should be there.

Kathie and I picked some long blackberry’s today. They were very good.

I am afraid I write to you in all my moods. I should wait until I calm down. Dick says I shouldn’t be a nurse at all but a war correspondent other than I would probably be put in jail for the things I’d write.   He said I should have been a journalist which I found very flattering when I consider the time I use to spend wishing to be one but not doing anything about it.  Oh well, I’m quite happy to be here in any capacity.

That G/C Bill MacBrien (St. Catherine) has a huge great dane called “Mike” who I adore.  He is as big as I am.

The children must be darling. I am dying to see them all.   I am praying that Jean will be well and fine and I am thinking about her often.  We had a lovely long letter form Connie.
Well, my pets be happy and good and all my love.
Now for my day……..

Many years ago I was pregnant with my last child.  Oh well, you might say, must have been pretty use to the process by then.  But the problem was that I had had two c-sections and one was a sudden event and the other was just a nightmare of complications.  I never seem to do anything easily.

So with this baby we had decided after hearing from other friends of ours about having Dad in the operating room we would see if we could do that.  Well, we did everything we were told to do except one thing – D went and spoke to the head of the hospital, the surgeons etc and they all said great, you can do that.  What they did not do was tell us that the people who run the ER are the anesthesiologists.  Not the OB-GYN..

I checked into the hospital the day before the scheduled surgery.  Went through all the nasty proceedures they put you through back in the old days and was settled down in bed ready to wait for the next day when we would meet our baby.  No ultrasounds in those days so we just figured it was either going to be Danny or Annie.  Then Mike Jakubowski walked into the room and introduced himself.  He was representing the anesthesiology group and informed D and I that if he was in the operating room they would not be there.  In retrospect we realized that the OB’s were using us to try and force the issue. The problem was that it was snowing out and what were we to do?  If I had been thinking straight I would have told them I was going home to decide what I would do next.  And maybe then I would have throught about my cousin John in Syracuse and called him to ask him if a member of his practice would deliver this baby.

As a result of all this upset we felt trapped, very upset and not in a good state of mind to be going through surgery.  And it turned out all hell broke lose after they put the needle in my back and rolled me over. I went into shock, the baby was in terrible danger and everyone was yelling about getting more people in there. Finally they did me a favor and put me out. I figured the kid was dead, they had been yelling for a pediatrician and another doctor etc. It was not the happiest day of my life and yet later I was happy when they finally showed the little guy to me and I knew he was breathing and okay.

The ped. and I both worried for a full year if he was going to be okay. He had been oxygen deprived for quite a while and was orange from all the blood he was swallowed.  Good thing Dan was positive and I was negative since if it had been the opposite he might have died from swallowing the blood. Happily he did everything ahead of schedule and when he turned one the doctor and I talked about how neither of us had said anything but had been watching him for deficits but none ever showed up.

Dan turned out to be the sweetest, nicest little guy and always there when I needed to be rescued.  I figure he is here for a reason and to do something special in life – not sure what that will be but he has always been special to me.

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Danny Boy

Had a good ride home today. Lovely sunny crisp weather.  Glad to be home and back in my own bed.  Loved being with the kids in DC and will see them again really soon.

From the canadianencylopedia.ca  http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/normandy-invasion/

The Normandy campaign finally ended on 21 August 1944, with Canadians playing an important role in closing the Falaise Gap and assisting in the capture of approximately 150,000 German soldiers. Now the pursuit of the enemy into Holland, Belgium and Germany could begin.

Total German casualties (killed and wounded) in the Normandy campaign were estimated at more than 200,000, while the Allies suffered 209,000 casualties among the more than two million soldiers landed in France since D-Day. Among those were more than 18,700 Canadians killed and wounded.

The Canadian War Cemetery at Beny-sur-Mer, 2012. Image: © Richard Foot.