Monday, August 25, 2008

To Barbara

No Barbara, he did not trick me. (not telling me he was married was inexcusable). I was so in love I was probably momentarily insane. And I was green enough to think that making love was something you could only do if you loved someone. And so I felt he could not have made love with me unless he felt the same. As his excuse he had to face death very soon. The troops that were sent over sailed in big armadas and the German U-boats were waiting for them in the Atlantic. His group was going over to England to build Hospitals for US troops once they were part of the fighting forces. This I Learned from his book in 1998. FDR was getting ready for War before Dec 7. What does that remind you of.

And what did I gain from this experience? From having been a shrinking violet I suddenly became a femme fatale. When I met people who asked me out, I answered, Yes, I would like to go out, but please don't think of me as a date. I am spoken for. That shows how seriously I felt about M. And war time had made all young men wanting to have someone waiting for them when they returned from war. I had as an example a very good friend that I had seen since I moved to the city. He would often call on a Sunday morning and ask if I wanted to go to church with him. And I think I always said yes for he wanted to go to the Catholic Cathedral on 5th Ave. But as his draft number was getting more serious he began asking me to marry him. We had never even held hands walking to church. and there were many examples of this funny game. Some men thought it was a game and were trying to make me forget their unseen rival.

Another thing I gained was Baseball. I became a fanatic. Before tv I listened to radio broadcasts of the Yankee games. When the Dodgers came to California they became MY team. I am now totally involved with the team closest to my hometown.
(even though they are near extinction.) But I consider that insanity as a gift from M.

The last thing M said to me as our taxis were getting ready to go was: If you ever get the chance to go to my home state, be sure to go. It is the best state in the Union.

Now back to a little name dropping. Errol Flynn came to our hospital The Hospital for the Ruptured and Crippled. It was some kind of PR for a movie just finished. He was a handsome man but vain. The other name I can drop is Sister Kenny. She was the nurse from Australia who had invented a new treatment for Polio, or Infantile Paralysist, as we called it then. She had fought all the male people who worked with the disease. She gave numerous demonstrations and the old way of treating the horrible sickness was changed.

With Doris Davenport I had found a new adventure that was totally free of charge. I will tell you next time


Barbara said...

Thank you for telling this story and clarifying the story of "M." I am not surprised about the feelings you had and the beliefs you harbored when you entered into this relationship because you belong to my mom's generation and that is something I automatically (and correctly) ascribe to all of you. My naievete consists of thinking that every intention led to its ideal ending. It is good to be reminded that, in any and every generation, life takes strange twists and we do not always get what we expect. However, people weather their circumstances and become stronger and become the unique individuals they are because of that. If I could become a magical benefactor and go back in time and give you a "happy ending," to that story and then return to the present, you would not be the YOU who wrote the story any more.
So all I can say is, keep telling us your story. It's worth hearing.

Anonymous said...

It seems like you are only just begining your memoirs. I can't wait to read more about your memories from the war. My mothers side of the family came from Belgium. I still remember my great Grandma's heavy accent. My other Grandma's brother was involved in the battle of the Bulge in Belgium. Thank You for some fascinating reading.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your wonderful blog! I still have relatives in Sweden (Stockholm). My mother stays in contact with regularly. I hope to visit them one day!

My mother contracted Bulbar Polio when she was 13 years old (1954). The good sisters at Emmanuel Hospital in Portland, Oregon were taught the Sister Kenny Method, and although she has some lifelong respiratory problems, she can walk, write (her right side, and writing hand, were initially paralyzed), and is now 66 years old and a grandmother. My mother talks to this day about Sister Kenny and the "boiling hot wool blankets."

hello haha narf said...

from shrinking violet to femme fatale...i love it!

great post.

and if you ever find yourself in pittsburgh, my pirates may be terrible, but you are welcome to use my club level seats to enjoy a game in the most beautiful ballpark in the country. since a bad day at the ballpark beats a good day at the office, i rarely even mind that the pirates lose.

Marlene said...

did he write you while he was gone?? How sad it must have been for you waiting.. women always are waiting it seems...maybe not as much now as before.. but they still wait... Marlene from Cambria

Liz said...

Another wonderful quality you and Shreve have in common - the ability to see the wisdom and joy that comes from all kinds of life experience and consequences of our choices.

Cedar ... said...

I think you were not alone in your falling in love,... and mis-judging the fellow. I know I have done that too. Probably most women have, if the are honest about it. It's just a human trait. And there always is a postive side to it, I know, like you, even though the relationship didn't survive, I gained much from that marriage. I love your honesty! I love your blog!

Anne said...

Darling Svensto,
Where are you? I've become totally addicted to your Blog and I miss you. But, more than that, I'm concerned about why you are not posting. I hope you are not ill. Best thoughts and wishes to you.