Thursday, October 30, 2008


The sign on the Grand Hotel said WARMT VATTEN and even though we had reserved a room in a cheaper hotel we could not pass up the warm water one. And Grand Hotel sounded so fascinating and so Greta Garbo. I had told S about a young engineer I had met on board the Gripsholm, who had promised dinner whenever S and I reached Stockholm. We called him and he invited us for dinner and the opera. We saw Madame Butterfly, sung in Swedish. The music was great but the language was startling.

Our first bath and shower was wonderful. We spent hours getting ready for our dinner. What do you suppose we will have for dinner, asked S. Meat was very heavily rationed. But fish was available so maybe we would have some fancy fish dish. I told S not to ask for seconds for that often was tomorrows lunch for the family. I remembered that one fairly small roast of veal on Sundays when I was young, was enough for two or three meals and maybe even a sandwich toward the weekend. A lot depended on carving skills and several paper thin slices arranged properly on the plate made you think you were given a huge meal.

The cocktail hour was spent by our host telling S about his research in the freight business. He had spent his senior year creating systems that seems much like freight is handled today. The container and marine shipping on paper looked like our systems now. And the was so excited about his future we were both convinced he would go far. For dinner we had wild meat shot by our host, and the amount was fabulous and we ate till we groaned.

Next day we spent almost entirely in our room. I can't remember how many baths and showers we had but at the end of the day we were clean and happy. We were back to being ourselves, and the world was again on an even keel. And I was especially happy getting rid of the sense of inferiority that my mother always managed to give me. After a couple of days sightseeing in Stockholm we departed for Gothenburg. There we were invited to a cocktail party by the family of the man who owned the beauty shops on the Swedish Liners. We were invited to come at eight o'clock and we knew some of our friends ate continentally late. We arrived at the appointed time and the house was full of people and we were served drink after drink and there was no sign of people getting hungry. I asked someone in the ladies room and she said 'we all ate dinner before we came'

I don't remember if I told about our host's stuttering in a previous blog. His stuttering was nonexistent. I will tell you in a following blog about my discussion about the rapid cure.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No warm water

In Scandinavia there were still many reminders of the war and in Sweden which had been neutral throughout was no exception. One strange reminder were the piles of fire wood, neatly stacked, in parks and places where one would not expect to see them. They had something to do with saving power. I never asked if a person who was in dire need of a bath could help himself to a couple of logs then go home, light a fire, heat up some water and then wash. Personally, it was not so unusual, for I grew up without warm water, as a matter of fact no water except from the well, was standard for us.

And if you did not own a couple of chickens you might have to forego the standard American breakfast of fried eggs and bacon.

This is all a way to delay telling you about our re-union. It is so difficult to write about, and in a way it was so difficult to live through. Both of us were acting like we had to get to know each other first. S was a totally different person from the one who had left me at the George Washington Bridge. He looked the same, which for me was handsome. He had lived through things so horrible he could never talk about them. I did not know what to talk about, for what subjects were taboo? I wanted to be close and I wanted to be held, but what was OK, and what was too much. We acted like a couple of strangers. And in a way we were.

When the taxi delivered me to the hotel, S was not there. Management let me into the room. What could I do while waiting. I did not have to worry about that for long, for I sat in a chair and fell asleep. He did not tell me that the reason he was not there was because he had gone to the RR station to meet me. The subject came up a a couple of months later and I told him I was in a way grateful for the short sleep I had. Next morning when the jeep came to pick us up to drive us to the ferry in Helsingor we stashed the little luggage we had and were driving away, when he clerk came running after us waving my nightgown that I had left behind the bathroom door. Snicker Snicker from the two drivers.

All of you expected more, but you have to wait till we get to Stockholm where The Grand Hotel had warm water.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The adventures of S

Before I talk about the joy we both felt at being together again, I will describe how S got to Kopenhagen.

He went to his commanding officer (by the way he was now Captain S.) and asked for leave to go to Sweden. "I agree with your request, but since we have not had this request before you will have to take it up the channels of command. He went all the steps up, finally got to SHEAF headquarters, General Eisenhower's site of ruling. And then he waited and waited.

When he finally asked his CO what had happened to his request, he was told that when a person doesn't know exactly what to do he files it in a slot in his desk. So go back exactly the way you went the last time and check on where it got caught. And when S finally got back to SHEAF Headquarters the big-shot there told him "Just yesterday we got news that our soldiers can have R&R time in Scandinavia. The next question S had was "how do I get there?" (Northern Europe was divided into three sections, the British, The Russian and the US. It would be difficult to maneuver around the Russian sector but he was advised to do that. And since the war was so recently finished there were no buses, no trains so his CO told him to take a jeep and two drivers. After checked into the embassy in Kopenhagen, he would have 30 days leave. They were not given any money and the Europeans did no accept the occupation Marks. So how would they buy petrol for the jeep, How would they pay for the rooms they would need? How would they pay for the ferries they were forced to take in Denmark? The CO said "take lots of cigarettes.

The Brits were very helpful and fed them occasionally and let them spend the night in their housing. But when it came to the two ferries they had to take, they approached the check-in spot for the ferry and showed a package of CAMELS and the gruff man at the ticket booth said with a Danish accent, Sieben, holding up seven fingers. Did this mean seven packages or seven cigarettes? S put seven cigarettes on the counter, and lo and behold, the gate rose letting the jeep and the three occupants on board. Grateful for small blessings, S put two cigarettes into the hand of the gruff gatekeeper.

After S made the call to my mothers house, he went out on the town and had the best dinner he had eaten since leaving home. Who knows what the two drivers did. They had to return to Nuremberg as soon as they had delivered S to the Embassy. They seemed just like boys from next door but when they returned to Germany both were in need of treatment for a sexually transmitted disease.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

more ennui

I promised you some excitement. But there was very little of excitement until S arrived. I was invited to a ship naming event and watched the champagne bottle explode on the third attempt. I remember the man who asked me to go, but I do not remember his name nor the name of the ship. Selective memory. I do remember how I wore my hair. On the ship from America were about a dozen war-brides, young Canadian women who had married RAF pilots. Their husbands were Scandinavians who were eager to get into the war and managed to get to Canada before war was declared. There they met and married and the war brides were on the way to meet their in-laws in some cases and some of them were lucky enough to join up with their husbands again. What has this to do with my hairstyle?

One of the war brides wore her hair as a tiara. I have tried all morning to draw a picture of it, but my skills on the computer are below 'almost good'. Think of drawing a part in your hair strait down the center of the head. Bend down and get the hair to be trained up from the roots. Make a braid on each side of your head. Lay one braid on top of the other and with bobby pins holding them in place Viola, you have a tiara. Nobody in Sweden had seen such a sight. One handsome cousin who had always cut me dead said: if she has enough nerve to be seen with a 'nackbena' (a part on the back of the head) she must be OK.' I knew the Norwegian who wore her hair like that and I wanted to thank her for letting me copy her, for it was very flattering, but I lost her address.

Every one must realize that there will be no excitement until S. comes to Sweden. So I will cut the waiting time and jump forward.

One evening I was invited to have diner with a class mate from school. She had been a Nazi when she first came into our lives. She had a Swedish mother and a German father. Her mother died early and the father, I guess, realizing that she might be left alone if he had to go to war, sent her to Sweden to live with her grandmother. When she arrived she wore the uniform of the German (Jugent) Youth Party and she clicked her heels and raised her arm in the Nazi fashion at the least provocation. I did not know if she still felt the same about Hitler and I did not know if her father had survived the war, but I accepted her invitation. When I arrived she had decorated her apartment with American flags and red white and blue streamers. I looked around and saw I was going to be the sole guest that evening. We had a pleasant evening, but shared very few personal thoughts. I did not know any more about her personal feelings. And then the phone rang. It was my mother saying Sam had just called from Copenhagen and he would like to meet me there tomorrow.

Need less to say,I left without further ado. I had to wash my hair and bathe and leave early the next morning to catch the first ferry to Helsingor and the train to Copenhagen. Did I have enough money to get there and then for the Taxi to the hotel S had mentioned. I borrowed a little here and a little there and everything worked out as planned except I had no money to tip the cabdriver. I gave him an almost full pack of cigarettes. The man began crying and kept on shaking my hand. I had no Idea what a single cigarette could buy in the occupied countries.

But wait until you hear what cigarettes bought for S and his two drivers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Examples of Painted Ceramic, 1945

Troll Table: Painted ceramic tile, 1945

Soup Tureen: Painted porcelain, 1945

Catching up

The date was September 10 or 11 when I arrived and the reason I know this is because it was my mother's birthday a day or two later. Sept 13. She was born 1886.

Since we had no idea when S's leave would be OKed by the the higher-ups in the Army, I decided I would take advantage of the time I had in Sweden. There were some things I wished I had learned as a teen ager. One was porcelain painting. I knew that it was a tedious art form and would take a long time to learn, so that was the first thing I signed up for. I began painting small items but I knew all along that I wanted to paint enough tiles for a coffee table. We all grew up with books illustrated by a German artist, John Bauer. BLAND TOMTAR OCH TROLL (Among gnomes and trolls) I found one illustration that was perfect. It was the huge troll mother introducing the princess she had found in the woods, to her huge ugly sons, hoping there might be one she might want to marry. When I moved into assisted living my eldest daughter inherited that table. When S. finally came to Sweden I took him to the studio where I was painting and showed him the soup terrein I was working on and he said "I don't like that. It's too fancy." I have it here. I love it. For the usual students in this class it was a once a week thing but Mrs. Nilsson knew I had limited time and let me come three times a week.

Knyppling was another art form I wanted to try. Pillow lace is what it is called here in America. I learned it and I made one wonderful little item but I never kept up with it. Luckily I have one granddaughter who is interested so she has all the bobbins and the "pillow".

The third art-form was again a typically female sort, involving needle and thread, and I am afraid I am loosing all my male readers if I go on with by this talk. (needle work has always had a very calming effect for me.)

Next blog will be much more exciting. I have had so many comments on yesterdays blog giving me support and love that I feel whole again. I am so grateful.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


When the ship arrived in Gothenborg I had to rush to catch the noontime train going south. I was fortunate in that I did not have to have help moving my luggage. There were a couple of people with steamer trunks and they were the last to leave the ship, I imagine. I hope they contained the smell of mothballs.

I had a cousin of sorts who lived in Halmstad and I looked for her at the station. Thought maybe the news of my return might have brought her there. She was my most favorite relative. S and I would go there if he ever got leave. When the train finally reached Helsingborg, there was a tall man with a hooked nose smiling at me and for a second I wondered what he wanted. But then there was flash of something, and I knew he was my father's son, in other words, it was my brother. When I left home in 1938 he was sixteen years old, the cutest teenager you could ever meet. He was now a man of 23 and he had changed. He had a hat on so the fact that he was bald came as a surprise later. He had a wonderful sense of humor and I grew to love him again.

And then we had to go home to see our mother. One reason for this delay in writing my blog is the fact that I have to face this very difficult relationship. She had often talked about the perfect life she had before I was born. She had a perfect little daughter, four years old and a perfect baby boy who was two. And then life went to hell. I cried from the moment of birth and I continued to make life unbearable for her until I left home at 18. She had spoken freely about how she tried to have me lost before I was born. She rode her bicycle over the rockiest paths and even used some kind of mixture her mother-in-law gave her. This is not a sick sign of my imagination, she told me. And I was beaten regularly. I remember many summers when I could not go swimming, for the welts on my back and the back of my legs would be too embarrassing. When mother met S. her first words to him were: WHY ON EARTH DID YOU MARRY HER. I have struggled since Sunday how I would tell this. There is one happy note I can tell you, she liked me between 87 and 89. I am extremely grateful for that.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

There was no time

The pros and cons of going to Sweden.

The Pros 1. I would be closer to S and I might be able to get to him.
2. He might be able to come to Sweden.
3. I would be living with my family while waiting for developments.

The con ! How would we communicate. (apo NYC Would our letters have to go to NYC and then Europe or vice versa)
2. What avenues were available for traveling in Europe.
3. Would we be better off waiting for S's regular return to the States.

There was not enough time to wait for S's advice. One problem was getting from the West Coast to the East Coast. Civilians could not fly safely. There were many stories of people who had been dropped off in Timbuktu because a military needed his or her seat. A pink lady, who worked in my department and whose husband worked for Kaiser, said Kaiser had five reservations on every train leaving California. She would try to get me one of those seats. But we knew about the travel time across the country. I would have to make up my mind within hours. I would have to be in Sweden awaiting word from S. and it probably would be winter before there were news from him. Did I own enough winter clothes? I would take
one suitcase. I was sure I could fill it with adequate clothes. But I must bring presents for everyone. I remembered people with huge trunks who had come home from America when I was a little girl. They would open their trunks and out would come a cloud of naphthalene. I would be a disappointment to any small ones who came to see me open my small suitcase, for I had no mothballs and very small gifts.

Finally, after consulting with family I decided I would go. When I arrived in my state Room on board the ship, with only hours to spare, I collapsed into bed and didn't stir till next noon. The nerves I over used getting into NY, the wait for an available taxi, the long ride from Pennsylvania Station to the 57 street docking space for the ship almost killed me. And my conscience bothered me because I had had to leave the country without a re-entry permit. What had I done. Sleep was the only cure for all that.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Red Cross

When S left for Europe I had the ridiculous idea that I should try to get over there, get a job with the International Red Cross, and in case of S getting held prisoner I could smuggle food or candy bars to his outfit. It was juvenile. I am glad the Swedish American Line set me straight. When I applied for passage, the response was, Because of the War, we have no ships leaving for Europe. We will keep your name on file and notify you when our first Liner will be able to leave.

Remember the above story. It will be vital in further developments.

A Nurse's Aide (or a pink lady) from San Carlos, who had taken a special interest in the polio patient with the good voice, often took him to San Francisco for dinner or a concert and invited me along. He would be in a wheel chair and getting him in and out of her car needed lots of muscles and I never knew if I was invited for my strength or if I was a case that needed attention too. I was not proud and loved these outings.

One day during the summer we got caught in the V E festivities. She decided to get across Market Street and get out of town before the celebrations were too hectic. It was exciting. We barely made it in time. We heard the next day that there were people stuck in town till after midnight. We were on the highway and could finally fathom what had happened. THAT PART OF THE WAR WAS OVER. We all cried a little on the way home. But mostly we laughed and sang every song we knew that dealt with the war Over There. They dropped me off at S's family and then we celebrated again. But the thought of S not getting wounded or killed in the last minutes of the war never left me and the real celebration came when we knew he was safe.

And then came time for us to go to Carmel Vally. It meant no mail for fourteen days. That was difficult. But our vacation was glorious. Lots of sun and swimming and wonderful food. Since I am famous for being a name dropper I have to tell you we saw Robert Young every evening. S's ten year old younger brother and I went horseback riding daily and got in trouble a couple of times, for not letting our horses cool off properly. It was a huge success, our vacation.

When we returned home the mailbox wss bulging. Many letters from S. But there was one letter for me which gave me a thrill and much worry. It said since I had applied for passage to Sweden they could now offer me a berth on the Gripsholm. It was leaving in six days from NYC. (the letter had been sitting in the mailbox ten days.) Could I make it. Sould I even try.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


These were difficult times for me. I wanted the war to be over and I wanted S to come back in one piece. The family had asked me to get my vacation at a certain time in late August, for they were planning to spend two weeks in Carmel Valley and they wanted me to come too. This was early in the year this request was made. The hospital agreed.

Meanwhile, back at home, the phone rang one day and it was a young woman from St. Louis, who had graduated from our class in NY. I had not heard from her since we graduated, I had not heard of her marriage to a high school sweetheart. He quickly became a pilot in the Army Air force and was sent to England. On his first flight over Germany he was shot down and never heard from again. She was hopeful that he might be imprisoned and would come back after the war. She had a horrible life, wondering and wondering. If he had been declared dead it might have been easier, but the verdict was missing in action. She was working in South San Francisco and wondered if I would like to share an apartment with her.

It was a difficult decision. She had not shared my problems when I lived in NY. Her mother had staked her to school and living arrangements. But I felt so sorry for her. And so finally I said yes. We found a furnished house for rent in South San Mateo, just blocks away from the hospital. Things worked out well for a while. (I had one complaint about our arrangements. We had soft boiled eggs for breakfast, she insisted she prepare them, and when I sat down to eat mine, they were made up entirely of egg-whites. Never a touch of yellow in my egg cup.) Can you believe I remember a thing like this after all these years. It did not take me long to switch to Corn-flakes.

But soon there were more serious problems. She drank quite a lot of hard stuff and liked to do it in a down town bar. It worried me for she came home quite toasted. When she brought home the first equally toasted male, I sat her down the next day and told her this could not go on. Or if it did, I would have to move back to my security blanket, S's family.

A sad event happened while in that house. It was, I think a Saturday morning. I was standing by the kitchen sink when I heard: EXTRA, EXTRA, PRESIDENT DIES OF (mumble, mumble) I knew what the young teen was trying to to say. I called to him and the next time he shouted he said EXTRA EXTRA, PRESIDENT DIES OF STROKE.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Months passed and many days the most exciting thing that happened was going to the post-office, opening my mailbox, hoping and hoping there would be a letter from S. Sometimes the ride to the rail road station where I would deposit S's stepfather was exciting. I had a strange car for a little while, that did not have a wind shield but it did have a rumble seat. It was fun watching Mr S trying to hold on to his hat and his briefcase and his newspaper. For some strange reason he liked me and I could do no wrong in his eyes.

After a couple of months it became evident that there were not enough patients to keep me busy eight hours a day. One reason was that we only had two orthopedic doctors and the internists did not take advantage of the fact that we had a PT. So I worked at the county hospital in the mornings and volunteered at Dibble General Hospital somewhere South of Stanford. It was a military hospital. It had a huge ward for blind soldiers. The patients there had great fun with anybody who entered. They could tell from your steps who you were. Heels of course gave it away that you were a woman. And then the jokes began. Sorry, but your slip is showing. Or, Don't you think you have a little too much lipstick on today. Or, did you stay up all night? You look exhausted.

There was one young man who had stepped on a land mine and aside from other wounds had lost his two eyeballs. His company was next to the company my husband served in. So I felt I owed him some of my attention. He had two burning desires. One was he desperately wanted to drive a car. The other was trying to go square dancing. I allowed him to do both. I took him out to a very unused County road and he obeyed my instructions perfectly. He could tell from my voice how acute the next curve was. He was happy with half an hour of this and said he would never need to do that again. Square dancing is greek to me so I just took him there and let the dancers take care of him. He did well.

One time when I picked him up and he got into the car I was startled to see that he was cross eyed. I said' Excuse me, but you have become crossed eyed. Oh, he said, I must have put the wrong eye in the wrong place. He turned away from me and fiddled for a while and when I saw him again everything was normal.

When I discovered that his calendar was so full that he could hardly manage, I bowed out and felt he was well taken care of.

One interesting case I feel I want to mention. One GI who had fought in Africa came in and there was no extremity that was not in a cast. And they all looked set in all directions. His wife had come from Montana to take care of him. He was in a lot of pain and she was so sweet and caring. I never saw him with casts removed, and yet, after a couple of months it was announced that she was pregnant. They were both extremely happy about the developments.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Dr X called me into his office to discuss the case of my new patient. It was an elderly man with a broken arm. The break was near the shoulder and his range of motion was severely limited. Dr X said to me, 'I want you to try to get his range of motion as normal as possible'. We arranged our schedule of treatments, for some reason it was suggested he come back three times a week.

The patient was a Danish immigrant, he was a dishwasher and he was an alcoholic. I felt that if I could get his range of movement to the point where he could comfortably wash dishes and comfortably raise his glass, that would be a success for both of us. He was a good patient and worked hard, and it did not take long for him to meet my expectations. It was difficult to come to the County Hospital which was located a distance outside the city of San Mateo and he was bothered by the cost of the bus trip. And so we took our case to Dr X.

He said 'Let me see what you have accomplished.'

This is not enough for him. I will take him into surgery and manipulate the shoulder while he is under the anesthesia. I said 'May I observe' He said 'of course' Two days later the three of us and a couple of nurses were in surgery. Everyone was waiting for the patient to go under. Dr X took hold of the upper arm with one hand and held the other on the shoulder and began moving the arm in small circles. When the circles grew, the force of the hands of the doctor grew also. Suddenly there was a loud report. It sounded like a gun shot. X rays were taken of the arm, and instead of a healing break, there now was a proper fracture, with a slight separation. The poor patient had a long wait before he could either wash dishes or go to his favorite bar for a beer.

Friday, October 10, 2008


It happened in the freight elevator. Often the freight was patients being brought in by ambulance. To begin with there were three actors starring in this vignette. A tall young doctor in his white coat, chewing on a toothpick. An older man, who had wheeled in a rusty cagelike structure holding an equally rusty case. And a PT in her white coat. We all heard the sirens from an ambulance at the same time. The MD rushed over to the door to hold it open for whomever was brought in. The ambulance backed up to the emergency door. They rushed to unload a person on a gurney. Their speedy behavior made it obvious that it was an EMERGENCY. The Md dropped his toothpick on the floor and almost bodily threw the man and his rusty equiment out of the elevator. The two attendants and the gurney were safely in and the elevator bagan it's slow rising. The MD had already assessed the case in front of him, reached into his pant's pocket, opened a pocket knife and cut a hole in the victims throat.

It was a hair raising experience. I, the PT, was shaking by the time the elevetor's doors were opened. I had never seen a braver act. What if the man died. Through no fault of the MD who allowed the patient to breathe again. Luckily the man lived and the cause of his problem was probably an allergy of some sort. We didn't know a lot abut allergies then.

You may ask, what was the PT doing in the elevator. I was looking for the man with the rusty equpment. My mother in law had asked me to see if I could find some cigarettes for her. He was so shaken by having been thrown out of the elevator that after he heard what the reason was, he was willing to sell me five packages. And then he filled the machine.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

New Job

I began working the next day. I was introduced to all pertinent departments by the director of the place.

The Physical Therapy Department was located in the basement. It was a large room and the equipment for treating patients was adequate. There were three in house patients who had been there for ages. One was a young man with polio from early childhood. He had full use of his arms and upper body. Since he was lying on his stomach on a gurney, he could propel himself by turning the front wheels on the gurney. He had a very good voice and he loved classical music, so my advice to him was: try to get a job on a classical music radio station.

The other two were two women, both were side by side in a large ward. Both of them suffered from horrible cases of arthritis. The older one was in her thirties and the younger one in her late teens. Neither one could bend any joint. They had both had surgery trying to give them enough movement in their wrists and elbows so they would be able to feed themselves. As soon as the surgery was over the joints froze up again. To get them to a standing position took three strong people. And they endured horrible pain while they were being moved. All three of these people became very good friends of mine. I feel I gave them no help. The older one whose name was Gladys did a nova (prayers for a certain number of days) for Ss safety. She was a Roman Catholic. I was very touched by it. I spent a lot of time with them for they had almost no visitors.

Tom, the young man, had a friend also named Tom. Tom and Tom11 had been bed mates while Tom11 had been hospitaised a couple of years earlier. When Tom11 was released from the hospital he married, studied, became a notary public, and a father. He was tied to his wheelchair and he had a burning desire to walk again. He thought I was the answer to his prayers. All MDs and PTs he had dealt with up until now told him not to waste his time trying to walk. He made an appointment for a muscle test with me. I tested him and then said to him, Let's see how you walk. He got up and put a robe on. By the time he was standing with his crutches he had put in a days work of effort. I said, now go to the end of the room. By the time he reached a door half way to the end of the room, I said: Tom, You have to sit down. And I brought his wheelchair over to him-and helped him sit down.

This Tom was a 6.4 man, handsome and smart and it was difficult for me to be honest with him. It would have been so much easier to say that if we worked hard together he could probably learn to walk. But he had less muscle power in his back and legs than FDR had. I said that his walk had taken as much energy from him as if he had dug a ditch across the street downtown. You cannot waste that much energy since you run a business with your wife and since you are the father of a baby. If you can find someone with a pool, I will help you walk there and it will be good for you to move around and try to exercise your legs. But if you ask for my advice I would say, stay in your wheelchair. It was cruel to rob him of his dream.

After S came home from the war he hired Tom to do our taxes. Tom also helped us find our first apartment. (almost in the middle of the Bayshore Highway) Sadly Tom died as a young man from the effects of sitting in a wheelchair and getting chair and bedsores repeatedly.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Post Cigarettes

I can't remember (someone asked if I kept a Diary. Unfortunately, no.) how long I stayed in NYC after this. I worked daily and I went to Berlitz weekly. And I was very lonesome. There were still handsome interns at the hospital. But they were outside my limits. I remember one weekend being invited to a friend in Conn. Betty Lowe was as husbandless as I was, but she lived in the house of her parents and she had given birth to a little boy since I had last seen her. I thought she was the luckiest person in the world. True, she missed her husband, but she was so insulated in a blanket of love. And the baby was healthy and hours of entertainment for her. It was a lovely week end for me.

After a month or so, on a dreary rainy day I got a call from Ruth ben Aery in Warm Springs. Her cousin had been killed in a battle in Africa. Later in the day I got a call from Betty Lowe saying her husband had been seriously wounded in a battle in Africa. It depressed me so much that I called S's mother and asked if I was still welcome to live in their house for the duration. She convinced me that they would all welcome me. Please hurry.

I got out of my sublease, I got reservation on a train west, and I told Dr. Hansson that I had to leave again. He understood my pain and wished me luck.

I was on a train within a week. I had a little roomette and I spent the first 24 hours crying by myself. The porter was worried about me. So the next day I wiped my tears and entered into the life onboard the train. For breakfast I met a wonderful man. His name was Robinson. He was the president of the ROBINSON REMINDER CO. We spent a lot of time together. We had an unspoken agreement. If he listened to my raving about S for fifteen minutes then I would listen to him talking about his two sons who were both in the Naval Air Wing. It made the trip seem to fly. When the train arrived in Oakland California I was met by S's stepfather. He was as impressed by Mr Robinson as I was and he invited us for lunch. Mr R said he and his wife would invite me to come to New Hampshire next time the leaves turned color. When the time came I had to decline.

After lunch Mr S sent me down the peninsula in a cab. I arrived at the S house at 3.30 p.m. and at four I had a job. S's Aunt C had arranged for me to work at the County Hospital in San Mateo.

And so began a new era.

Frequent visits to the PO

The cigarettes arrived from W in Texas. I wrapped up one carton and headed to the Post Office. The clerk said Was this item requested? I said Yes. (it was requested on the East side of the George Washington Bridge) I showed him a wrinkled envelope and luckily he was too busy to check it. This was repeated until the last carton was delivered. No letters had arrived yet from S.
There had been stories in the papers that the convoys leaving the USA were taking long circuitous routes to Europe in order to outwit the U boats waiting for them. When a letter from S finally arrived he mentioned the boredom every body suffered from and the discomfort on board. Their bathing consisted of cold salty showers. There were no black spots in the letter which meant he had not broken any rules in telling me how long the trip took. When I came from Sweden a few years earlier the trip took 5 days. S told me his trip took over two weeks.

And then there was the words I longed for. How much he missed me and how wonderful that last night had been.

And then the zinger. Don't bother to send cigarettes. We have plenty here.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

He said: Send cigarettes.

Next morning I went to the drugstore I used when I lived in NYC before. I asked the druggist for a carton of Chesterfields.He said where have you been? Don't you know there is a shortage of cigarettes. In Texas I guess we never worried about the shortage for S could get all he wanted at the Post PX. He said I can't sell you even a package of Chesterfields. But I have some, and he mentioned a brand I had never heard of. I said thank you, but no thank you.

And so I laid plans on how to get them. There was a radio program called Thanks to the Yanks. I had heard it in Texas. The em ce asked Do you want an easy, medium or difficult question. And if you want a difficult one you could win 3000 Camels. So I went to the National Broadcasting Studios where some of my old chums worked and asked if they could get me a ticket for that American Broadcasting program and they said, Sure, no problem. Come back Monday afternoon and we will have it for you. I was there, got my ticket, walked over to Madison Ave and took the seat that was available. It was fairly far back in the audience. And I was not selected to try my hand at competing. But I learned something. All the people who were selected from the audience had something outstanding about their person, Either the lady with the red hair, or the gentleman with the mustash. So I knew what to do.

I had a navy blue hat as big as an average garbage can lid. And I knew I had to sit in either the second or third row. I went back to NBC and they said Yes they would get a ticket again. I said I would like to pick it up on Sunday so I could get a front row seat. Monday came arond again and I was early and I sat in the third row. I was the first person selected. When I got backstage I had a minor problem. Was my husband in the Army, Navy or the Marines. I told them Army. You know you can't send anything to an army person unless it is requested? Yes, I knew that. So I will send the cigaettes to W who was still in Texas. And then I will ask him to keep half of them and mail the other half to me and then I will fake a request .

And so the program started. Do you want an easy, a medium or a difficult question? I said "Difficult. Now everyone remember I looked like a dumb blonde. People applauded when I dared say that. So the question was There are three plays on Broadway. One is A Touch of Venus, which comes from Greek Mythology, the secnd is ??????? which comes from Shakespear and the third is The voice of the Turtle. Were does that phrase come from? My answer The Bible. Thunderous applause. The Em Ce was obviously surprised. How did you know that? My husband read the Gideon Bible to me on our Honeymoon. The applause and laughter increased beyond thunderous.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Back to war time

We are now back in NYC. S is gone and there is not only the fighting in the trenches to worry about, but the journey over the Atlantic was fraught with danger. We read constantly about the U Boat fleet sinking troop ships and Merchant marine ships in the
Atlantic. I don't know how I knew he was bound for Europe. I was miserable and every thought circled around the danger of it all. Imagine my surprise and joy when the phone rang and it was S speaking. He said we have one night on leave. We are in New Jersey. I can come in this evening but you will have to drive me to the George Washington Bridge in the morning. We have to be there at 5.30 am. Do you feel like it is worth it. I said YES, YES, YES.

I called in sick to the hospital. I was shaking with apprehension. I had enough meat stamps to buy a couple of steaks and a bottle of wine. I think I even bought a bottle of gin for a Martini. And I bought flowers for the table. As if any of these things mattered. I was going to see S again.

When I opened the door and saw him, tears rolled down my face. He was the most beautiful sight. And It felt so divine to be hugged by him again. We had dinner and we talked and before we knew it, it was 4.00 am and we had to leave. The last thing S said when he walked over to the car that was taking him to New Jersey was : Send cigarettes.

The feeling of loss was greater than before and one wondered, was it worth going through this all over again.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sandra's comment

You ask how did they make the ovum more penetrable. I do not know the name of the medicine. I don't know if it was something Pendleton Tompkins discovered. I know that he found out when I ovulated , and that I had to come to the office as soon as possible and the item was applied to the uterus. I was told to take it easy for a day or so, so I would not expel it. And not to drink or stay up late. He knew about my laying bricks and stacking firewood. That might be the reason for that cautionary advice. After the birth of our son I tried to have a baby 9 months and ten minutes later, and that did not work, so the same application was used. The two babies were 18 months apart. Your Fertility doctor should be able to find out what they used in 1948. I will say a prayer for you and hope something good happens soon. I know your pain.

When our son was four, plus one month we had four children. There might be another reason I got pregnant. S absolutely refused to consider adoption. He finally said yes to having a foster child. I applied and hung curtains in the baby's room and found out I was pregnant. I don't like to talk about that, for Tommy was so proud of my getting pregnant, I don't want to rain on his parade.

horseback riding

One of our most enjoyable pastimes while living in Mineral Wells was renting a couple of horses. I told you that the country side was flat and uninteresting. That was until you met Roland, the horse owner. He could show you little streams and canyons with delightful greenery clinging to the trees trying to get a foot hold in the sandy soil. Once he took us to a wide sandy beach. We tried to find the place on our own the next time we were riding. We never found it. We searched maps to find any body of water big enough to sport such a wonderful beach. Afterwards we wondered if Roland could have invented the place and put us in some kind of trance. We asked him, and he smiled.

The other unique thing about Roland was his teeth. Any weekday he had a beautiful set of teeth, but on Sundays he had two large shiny gold teeth in the front of his mouth. And on Sundays his smile was wider than on weekdays.

Another fascinating thing about him was his use of the word PURCHASE. I knew what the word meant. But his use of it was creative. You have to have a better purchase on the horse. For a minute I thought he was trying to sell us the horse. It finally dawned on me that he wanted for me to get a better grip on the horse with my knees. English is a beautiful language, but when people make up words and meanings it is difficult for a foreigner.

When the end of August came, S got his orders to report for duty in Maryland. He also got promoted to first Lt. We separated at his camp. And you know the trip I had to take to NYC. I had elected to go back to my old job at The Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled. We had found an apartment to sub lease. I felt in NYC one could be busy 24 hours a day and consequently would not suffer too much from separation complex. I had also signed up for a class in Spanish at the Berlitz. S wanted to go to Lima, Peru after the war to work with his best friend getting rich selling Bat Guano.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

E's comment

E commented today that he or she would like to hear more about our waiting five years for our first baby. It was a tragedy occurring monthly. There was always hope that this was going to be THE month when it would happen. And every month such a huge disappointment. And it was something you suffered alone with your husband. Friends and family soon became bored with your problems. If you have read this blog from the beginning I am sure I told the story of me as a child telling people 'I am going to America and I am going to have eighteen children.' I really loved babies and children any age. I used to borrow two wonderful girls from good friends. I taught them how to knit and how to sew and we baked bread together. I had no car, so we got on the bus and rode downtown to shop or to eat lunch and I prayed that they would not call me Aunt G aloud so I could pretend they were mine. Sort of sick.

Tommy, as we came to call our MD, found that the walls of my ovum were too impenetrable and some one discovered how to over- come that. Finally Tommy told us that I was pregnant and not to tell our friends until it became evident. The reason he said 'is because when you have so much trouble conceiving there might be trouble later on and it makes it so much harder if everyone knows that you lost a baby.' That did not fill me with security but, never-the-less, the news elated us.

We left the doctor's office in San Francisco and drove to The Burlingame Country Club where we were expected for cocktails. S promised not to breathe a word of our good news to any one. Nobody had told us that drinking was not good for the fetus. So I was standing in one area with a drink in my hand, talking so someone, and looked in another area and there was S surrounded by all my best friends. Everybody was pounding him on the back and hugging him etc. It was evident that he could not keep that secret. I had absolutely no problem until the labor began.

It was early Tuesday morning. My labor pains were ten minutes apart as we drove North to the hospital. Tommy saw me and said you are not ready for me yet. So he went to his office and promised to be back whenever the nurses needed him. The pains were tolerable and the promise that they lasted only so long made it more so. Tommy returned when his office hours were over and he had the nurse check to see how much I had dilated. She said 'not an inch' Tommy said I will give you something to stop the contractions and then you can go home and we will begin all over again.

So we went home and I had a great sleep and next morning we returned to the hospital. Hours and hours of labor pains and no dilating. Finally Friday it had to happen. Tommy and S decided they would go to the movies (something like Seven faces West) and when they returned nothing had happened except for my labor pains and so they delivered me surgically. I had a spinal anesthesia, and I will never forget the feeling when the pains stopped. Nor the first meeting with our son who was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.