Friday, March 8, 2019

We're All In This Together!

~Heroic "Hardass" Women of WWII

Most of us have family and friends who served in one of many branches of the service, and, in one of many wars.  I have family who served in WWI, WWII, and the Korean War.  I have friends who also served in each of these wars, the Vietnam war, and the various wars that have followed.

I am fortunate through the Grace of God, that none of my immediate family members perished in the wars of their service, and I enjoyed them throughout my childhood and into my adulthood.

Soooo...we move on to a novel that I have been reading of late.  It centers around a young London woman of 18, who, within 45 minutes of  war being declared, has left her finishing school unfinished, and signed up to serve in WWII 1939.

This young lady had no idea in what capacity she would serve, and was aghast to find that she would be sent off to a school in need of a school mistress.  Since she had never taught before, Mary (her name), worked hard to learn the children's names and establish a rapport with the students.  One week later, she was instructed to get the students packed up for evacuation to the country.  It was eminent that the Germans would bomb London very soon, and the evacuation of the children was a protective measure against the devastation the bombing might bring.

~Operation Pied Piper

~Huddersfield Examiner * England 1939

Women were being recruited to assist in the safe evacuation of the school children.

There were 7 students who were left behind at the school, with some mention that these were special needs kids, and, kids of color, who were less likely to succeed academically,   The headmistress of the school opted to leave Mary behind also.  She was accused of being incorrigibly attentive and friendly with the students, not a good candidate for a productive teacher.

Devastated at having lost her students, Mary went to the Education Authority and sought out a position to return to the school and teach the students who were left behind.  After much pleading and begging, she was finally granted a chance to teach them.  And, a romance eventually began between Mary and the Director of the Education Authority (Tom), who stuck his neck out to grant her the position.

~ London class in wartime

Eventually the bombing did come, and teacher and students were forced to continue their studies in the cellar of the school with very little room.

 This brings us to:

The Education Director Tom's, roommate, (Alistair), who enlisted to serve in the military and was deployed to the island of Malta, a British Colony.  Malta was a military and naval fortress, and was desired by the Germans and Italians, who were seeking to gain control of the island.

* Royal Malta Artillery

* Malta Convoy

Alistair is granted a 48 hour leave before traveling to Malta, and returns to London to visit his friend Tom, and meet Tom's new lady, Mary.  Mary has a friend, Hilda, who is single and from a pretty well-to-do family.  She agrees to join Mary and Tom, and meet Alistair, for an evening of dinner and dancing.  These four young adults must go their separate ways, but always come back around and reconnect, in the best of times, and in the worst of times.

Tom and Mary stay together to school the poor children, who hadn't much hope for a good education.  The Germans are bombing London during the Christmas program at the school, and Mary moves the children and families downstairs to the cellar to continue the program.  Only a few persons survived this December 1940 night's rounds of bombing, and the school ceases to operate.

Mary and her friend Hilda are at a loss as how to continue in the aftermath of the tragedy, and, both have strong desires to make a difference in this war.  They want to help!

* Women ambulance drivers in UK 1940 *

Mary was still enlisted, and Hilda joined to work alongside her friend driving an ambulance at all hours of the night and day, rescuing the wounded and searching for casualties.

We can see that all four of these young adults are experiencing atrocities and heart-warming situations, yet, continue to serve proudly for their country.

As I mentioned previously, I have not completed reading this book...I am now three-quarters of the way toward the end.  I just couldn't get the experiences off my mind, before I  finish the book.  I want to share a passage that continues to ring in my mind and heart.

*** So, this post is not actually a critique of the may want to acquire a copy and read it for yourselves.

* This novel is fiction, however, the author was inspired and has shared excerpts from his grandparents'  'real-life' love letters.

* photo of my book

Mary and Alistair (Tom's friend) begin to correspond while he is serving in Malta, and she in London, as an ambulance driver.  In one letter of their discussion regarding the trials of war, Mary says,

"It is my constant regret that my class would still be alive if I had not insisted on carrying on once the air raids began.  We live, you see, and even a mule like me must learn.  I was brought up to believe that everyone brave is forgiven, but in wartime, courage is cheap and clemency out of season."

I guess you are wondering why this passage hit a nerve with me.  Although I wasn't born during WWII, (I am a baby boomer, though), I grew up always proud of my father, grandfather and my other Veteran relatives for their service.
I don't know what kind of welcome home the servicemen and women received as they set foot on American soil in 1945.  By the mother served as a WAC in India, where she and my father met.  They came back together on a destroyer, and docked in San Francisco with other servicemen and war brides.  Mom said the women cried out of fear of being in a new country with a new life.
There were various organizations for these war brides to help them with their transition into American life, and make them feel welcome.

Our pledge to welcome servicemen and women home properly, continues today.   And it is extended to all branches of service, in all countries who are fighting for freedom.

*** I am not real "war savvy", however, I see the posters and I know that some of our servicemen and women have had troubles with health and mental health while trying to cope with their re-entry into the normal state of everyday-non-war life.

***  I am thanking all of our men and women who have served, and are now serving in all branches of the military ***

Thank you all for coming by today...I welcome any comments you may have.  If you are too shy to leave a comment, just say hello!

*** Prayers go out to the folks who are suffering the tragedy of the tornadoes in Alabama.

And, Happy International Women's Day!  👩👍

Be Kind, Love and Laugh!💓

This is what I mean by "be Kind, Love and Laugh"!
I am blessed with all of the above everyday!

* Anything for a laugh *


  1. Hi, Suzanne!

    It's wonderful to see you posting on your KardKornerKrib site again, dear friend! Thank you for telling us about that passage from the historical fiction novel you are reading. Clearly it is a gripping read based on actual events and acts of heroism that unfolded amidst the horror of wartime. It is important to remember not only the brave servicemen, but also the many dedicated women who summoned courage unknown and lent their talents to the war effort. It saddened me to read about the indigent special needs children and those of color left behind during evacuation because they were deemed less likely to succeed academically. When the bombed out school ceased to operate, Mary and Hilda found a way to serve. Thank you for sharing details of your family members' military service. I personally thank them. It is important for us to give a respectful welcome home to all who served. The transition is often difficult. We are doing them and our country a disservice if we fail to honor them and help them make the adjustment back into civilian life.

    Regarding the loss of life in Alabama from the recent twisters, I watched meteorologist Al Roker on the news shortly after the storms raked across the state spreading their devastation. He pointed out that America's "Tornado Alley" which once extended from Texas up through the midwest and mid south, has been moving eastward due to climate change. The southeast is becoming the new Tornado Alley, says Roker.

    Thank you for this informative book review, dear friend Suzanne. I hope you and Scootie are doing fine and I wish you a safe and happy weekend!

    1. Hi Shady...I finally dusted my KardKornerKrib blog, haha! I do change photos and Featured Posts on my sidebar as I psych up for interesting and fun things to write.

      I didn't mean to become so involved in this book. I only purchased it by chance, as the cover and reviews brought to mind some of the events today that are of significance to our troops. I was ignorant for the most part regarding the Vietnam war, and was an 18 year old who had to work and support myself. During the years that I was 17-19, I didn't know any Vietnam soldiers personally. I didn't know that so many of the boys I grew up with were serving in that war. Of course, years later I came to know and realize what a senseless war it was. And, I know that a lot of the guys came home broken, physically and mentally. I believe there are a lot of help resources, but it takes time and caring people to find and reach out to all who are in need.

      Hey, I watch Al Roker some also in the mornings. I know that when my son, Scootie, and I have driven to Kansas, Scootie always asks about Tornado Alley. Rusty always points it out as we drive through, but as you said, Shady, I believe it has been moving from it's original area. I feel bad for the folks in Alabama, and hope they are receiving good care and relief from their losses. It will take a long time to recover from this tragedy.

      I am so glad you came by, Shady! Scootie is now officially on Spring Break for the upcoming week. I hope to find a few outings for us. My original plan was to head for Kansas, but I don't trust the weather conditions between here and there at this point. We had high winds and heavy rain in the wee hours of the, the sun is brightly shining.

      Thank you for your kind comment, Shady. Take care, dear friend and have a very nice weekend!

  2. Hi there Suzanne, so lovely to see you back.

    I really appreciated reading your thoughts on this book and also sharing your Mum's experience. So many fine people, of all races and gender are affected by war and many from such a young age.
    As you say, women took on many important roles in times of conflict and then, once the conflict was over, they were the ones who returned to the roles of homemaker and nurturers while still recovering themselves from all the horrors of war.
    It would be a beautiful world if our countries truly did provide for every single one of our veterans, unfortunately, statistics show us that is not the case.

    The weather and its changing patterns is certainly causing so much devastation isn't it. Serious subjects aren't they, but that's life today.

    It was lovely to see your sweet little grandson in that photo - he can really put smiles on faces.

    All the best, Happy Women's Day to you too and have an enjoyable weekend xx

    1. Hi Sue, I know most people do not write about a book when they haven't completed reading its contents, but I just couldn't wait to mention the passage that has so much meaning. I am sure I will come away from the end of this novel with more understanding of what our grandparents did for our countries, and appreciate them even more for their efforts. And, how timely my reading was as we approached "International Women's Day"! You'd have though I planned it that way, haha.

      We didn't get snow this winter in our area of Texas. But, several states around us were totally dumped on! Now there is rain, and tornadoes to deal with. I think our seasons have become more confused these past few years, and I am constantly changing from coat to short sleeves, and back!

      I am so glad to see you, and have enjoyed your paintings so much Sue. Thank you for coming by and for sharing your thoughts with me. My grandson still brings joy to my life! I love it when I am able to get a fun candid photo of him.

      Take care, Sue. Have a wonderful weekend!


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