About Me

My Photo

Vicki Washuk World War ll Blitz  Buy On Smashwords    Also   Buy Diary's Here:
I am the great-granddaughter of Ruby Side Thompson. 
Recently I started re-reading the World War ll journals and felt that they were such an important part of a history that will soon be forgotten if not published and shared with the world. These diary excerpts are not the entirety of what is published in print and kindle.
Ruby grew up during a time when education was just beginning to be encouraged for both upper and middle class women. During the late 1890's Ruby explored many radical political ideas of London, England. She met many famous people including the writers George Bernard Shaw and William Butler Yeats. 
5.0 out of 5 stars A choice pick, not to be overlooked, November 6, 2011 By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)

World War ll London Blitz Diary: 3-17-41 to 3-29-41


Purchase Diary Here:

AUDIO

March 17, 1941
It is St. Patrick’s Day and I’ve received a box of shamrocks from Mrs. Jude! This is my long morning. I have been up since six o’clock, and all my jobs are finished now until it’s time to cook dinner. I’ve a two-pound joint of loin of pork, and I hope it won’t be tough. I’m longing for a good meal. I’d like to sit down to a good lamb chop, or a piece of fillet. The deprivation of good fresh meat is the greatest deprivation of the war to me. I can get along without sugar and jams, and eggs and butter, and fruit and cakes, but it’s a penance not to be able to get enough fresh meat. I seem to need meat, and I’m never properly fed without it.
When Ted called me this morning, I was deep in a dream of my girlhood. It was one of my packing nightmares. I was in my old bedroom at home, and I was taking my things out of the old yellow chest of drawers to pack for my first trip to America. Mother and Dad were there too. Mother was in character, fussing and bustling and supervising every item, arguing and bossing, and making me tired, as she always did, and Dad was just sitting watching, looking patient and saying nothing as he would have been in real life. Mother was obstructing and interfering, as per her usual style; and Dad just standing by, in his style.
I’ve been thinking about the dream ever since, sort of re-feeling it. For one thing, it was queer to think of myself so far back in time, no husband, no children, no America, no infirmities. I was getting ready for America. America, the two loves of my life: Dad and America.
“In my father’s house are many mansions.” What does that mean? To me there is only one house, one mansion, and one home: Six Angel Road, my father’s house. Actually no other house has ever been home to me except that one. That one is home no longer. The house is still there, Mother is still there, the identical furnishings are still there, but something has vanished from it besides Dad. What? Was it the habitude of my girlhood? I don’t know. All I know is, that was home, and now that that has gone, I have no home in this world, nor never shall have. All the homes I have had with Ted: strange houses, perching places only, where I have been a bird on the bough, never a bird in the nest. Perhaps if I could once have made the material home I desired? Perhaps then I could have made myself a home. I don’t know.
It can still come over me that Ted is a stranger. Together we have loved seven men into being, but to my innermost woman Ted remains an outsider, a stranger. Not only to my innermost being, but to the outer woman too, very often. I listen to Ted talking, I have to, and I can’t help myself! I listen to his reiterative platitudinous piffle, to his forty-year-old jokes, and the more he talks the more I am positive it’s nothing to do with me. He’s nothing to do with me. Our ways could part tomorrow, and I could forget him. Very easily. In spite of blood and children, we have never really commingled. We are strangers. Does he love me? Do I love him? Silly questions.
My father: there is the unbreakable bond, there is love, real love with its instant understanding, entire comprehension, complete at oneness in heart and mind and soul. My father. Father fixation of course, in Freud’s language. You see, to just dream of my father, I am flooded with a fullness of happiness, contentment, and peace and joy that no other human being had ever given me, nor ever can give me. Father and daughter. If you happen to have the same sort of minds, the same kind of temperaments, the father-daughter relationship is the most harmonious and most satisfying relationship possible in this world. Father and son may be theological; in fact it is only theological, for in life it spells friction; but father and daughter is the real thing. The complement of sex, without the flesh, and without the fights. More satisfying then the mother and son relationship, because the male partner remains the upholder and protects, as the woman wishes him to be. You know, mothers can get awful tired of being mothers!
March 19, 1941
Last night was terrible. London had the longest alert so far of the war. Alarm went off before eleven p.m. and the all clear not given until after five this morning. The noise was incessant. We could hear the bombs and the incendiaries falling all over the place, although none fell in our immediate blocks. The one o’clock news said the raiders passed over London and the Eastern counties, and concentrated their attack on Hall.
Today the figures are given for last week’s heavy raids on Merseyside and Clyde. They are: about five hundred killed and five hundred seriously injured. The Clyde area, nights of March 13th, and 14th: approximately five hundred killed and eight hundred seriously injured. This is devilish fiendish air-war, every casualty a civilian. I think the very name of Germany will be hated from henceforth ‘til the end of time.
I am frightfully tired today; not only could I not sleep last night, I could not control my trembling, and continuous trembling seems to exhaust the body as much as continuous work. Today, so far, has been quiet, though I can hear our planes zooming about now. When the moon rises at about one forty-five tonight I expect the slaughter will begin again. God help us!
Mary Jude has phoned and will be in to tea tonight. I wrote to her mother yesterday to acknowledge the shamrock she sent me for St. Patrick’s Day.
I also had to write to Edna Renacre. When Ted came home at dinnertime he found a bouquet of red carnations stuck in the water bucket by the door. Tucked inside was a card from Edna, with birthday wishes. She had remembered the date but had forgotten the month. It was very sweet of her to leave them for me. Edna; Artie’s problem is quite a problem.
I’ve also written a long letter to Johnnie, and one to Mrs. Lillian Berry, Bill’s mother. I’m in the mood for letter writing, which is a rare mood nowadays. I mean to write some more, to all the boys, but am too tired to do any more writing today. Au-Revoir.
March 20, 1941
I’ve been house cleaning, and now am very tired. However, I feel very satisfied with myself! This morning managed to do the bathroom as well as the little kitchen. Also did down the stairs and the little hall. I’m getting on. Anyhow, I ought to be able to take care of this house single handed, and after all, there are only the two of us here.
We suffered another shocking night, but it slackened about one a.m. so we managed to get some good sleep. The main attack was on London. Four hospitals were bombed and a hostelry wrecked, besides many houses. We had over five thousand incendiaries on Romford last Saturday night. Yesterday it was Hall that got the worst attack.
The attack began early after tea yesterday. Mary Jude was here, and we began to think she would have to stay all night; however, in a fairish lull about eleven p.m. Ted was able to take her home. She is sleeping alone in their house, a very brave little girl, I think, especially as Carlton Road quite often gets hit. I have no news from Hammersmith, but presume all is well there or I should have been informed otherwise.
March 22, 1941
I have just been talking with the milkman who has been telling me of this week’s damage. Wednesday was the most awful night. Most of the damage was between Stratford and Aldgate. Coming this way, Ilford got eight land mines. Barking-Side, Canning Town, Eastham; frightful, frightful. In Stratford: Boardman’s, Roberto’s, the co-op, all down. These were tremendous shops, stretching for blocks. The milkman says the people from Canning Town, and hundreds of them, are up at their town hall, demanding that we bomb back at the people of Berlin. As soon as darkness falls, every night, they begin to tremble, raids or no raids. Yes. Oh, what a devil’s war this is!
London was quiet last night. B.B.C. stated in the early news that the main attack of the night had been on a town in the South West of England. This was probably Bristol. Thursday’s main attack was on Plymouth. It seems now the tactics are to concentrate on one big town each night, and wipe it out. Meanwhile the politicians soft-soap us.
We have queer weather today. It is a day of November like darkness. It was a day like the day when France fell. Oh God! Let time pass quickly! Bring us soon to the end of this hellish destruction and terror.
March 25, 1941 – Lady Day
Yugoslavia has signed the Tripartite Pact and become a partner of the Axis. I think this war can go on indefinitely. Country by country Hitler swallows Europe; his supplies will become inexhaustible.
Outside it is raining, so maybe we will have a quiet night tonight. We did have a quiet night last night, no raiders anywhere at all over Britain. The weather is queer, dark, like November. The Essex people call it blight, but who cares if blight means a night without the Germans? Last Sunday was observed as a National Day of Prayer, by order of the King. What good does that do? We have had several days of National Prayer, but Hitler strides on and on just the same, and prayer is never going to stop him.
Oh the damn foolishness of war, and the ineptitude of politicians! This world that men have made! Why bother God about it? If only men would get together to see how they could stop the war. Oh what fools men are, and how I hate them!
March 27, 1941
I wakened in the night from one of the most agonizing dreams I have ever had. I was weeping, and must have been crying for some time, for my pillow was wet from my tears. At bedtime Ted had loved me, and we had been happy together for a while. My last thoughts as I fell asleep on my own sofa were of Hitler. Hitler is reported to be a woman hater; certainly he is a bachelor, and one never hears rumors of him indulging himself with any ladyloves. It is supposed he is a frigid celibate. I was thinking, yes of course, he has to be, because if he could ever feel a manly or human tenderness he could not continue with his perpetual cruelties. Perhaps if he could love just one woman, perhaps then he could ease into normal manhood. Perhaps! Oh my God! The time Hitler makes us waste time thinking about him! So when I fell asleep I was assuaged and content, mind and body.
Some hours later I was dreaming of Tenafly, a dreadful dream. I was back in 523, but the house was falling to pieces. I knew I was there without Ted, but the boys were still children; they were the children we had left, and they were busy earning their livings. The queer thing was they were naked, and all seemed only about twelve or fourteen years old. I had arrived upon them unexpectedly, and they were concerned as to where I should sleep and what they could give me to eat. There was nothing, no comfort of any sort. Rain was teeming down, and Johnnie was digging a trench under the front porch. There were other trenches there, like a series of graves, and it seemed these were to be our beds. Inside the house the floors were broken, so Johnnie explained that it was much better to sleep on the ground. He’d got to hurry away to New York, to his job, so he explained to me just how I was to dig my trench, and not to let it connect with any of the others because that would let the rats through. Oh no! He didn’t mind the rats! And no! It was no use trying to get rid of them, you would only get another there were so many of them.
When he got to town he’d speak to Christian Fund and see if he could get a loan to buy some food. Then Jimmie appeared, also quite naked, and he had a mason jar in his hand with some musty dried prunes in it. There he began to eat, but then Johnnie pounced on him, and they fought for the prunes.
“They were for supper tonight,” Johnnie said. “That’s all we’ve got to eat.”
They had to catch a train, and off they went, down Sunset Lane, in the rain teeming down on them, and their bodies shining with the wet. I was counting their ribs. Then I wakened, crying and crying, and some moments before I could realize it was only a dream. Then I went back to sleep, and lo, I was right back again in the same dream. I was trying desperately to find something for them to eat. The Rosa brothers came by and gave me a basket of earthy old roots, and a peach basket with a layer of dry wormy strawberries. Nothing was any good, but I scrubbed off some of the vegetables and put them on to brew a soup. Then the Rosa brothers began to pick over the strawberries, and they ate the best of them.
“Of course,” they said, “we only gave them to you because they are no good. You can’t have the good ones. Naturally we shall take those back again.”
Then I was trying to clean the house, but there were no tools, neither was there any furniture. Some curtains were still hanging at the windows, so I took them down, and they choked me with dust. I saw I could make them into pajamas, and I began to cut them out, and to hurry and hurry, so that I could have them made by the time the boys returned, so that I could have something to cover their nakedness. So, crying into my sewing, the dream faded away and then it was morning.
See how a soul holds its griefs. It is now more than thirteen years since Ted broke up the family and we left Tenafly. The boys are all married men with families of their own; they have succeeded in life and they do not need a mother. I am a mother who needs them. I am a mother who was destroyed in her maternity. When Ted broke his family, he broke me, and I suppose that deep down in my subconscious self I have never forgiven him nor ever shall be able to. There are some wounds that never heal. Nature is violated, what could you do about that?
Well, the boys hold no resentment. I don’t think I do either, not anymore. So much time has passed. The boys don’t need me, can’t ever possibly need me now, and they weren’t permanently harmed (or were they?). They never did hold resentment. That was plain even in my dream. Johnnie didn’t show any resentment at the awful nakedness, cold, wet, hunger, and poverty in which he stood. I was the one distressed, not Johnnie, nor any of the boys. They were the men who were accepting things as they were, and blaming nobody. Yes. Ted has done what he wanted to do. He has always done what he wanted to do. He has realized his dreams. At what cost to me, to his children! It wasn’t good for them to leave them the way they were left. No, it was damnable.
So, this morning I am tired. The dream exhausted me.
One o’clock news was good news. At two o’clock this morning the young King Peter threw over the traitor Yugoslav government and assumed control of his country. The army and all his people back him. Prince Paul, the former Regent, has fled, whereabouts not yet known. The two Cabinet ministers who went to Vienna to sign adherence to the Axis have been arrested. General Sinovitch has been charged by the young King with the formation of a new cabinet. There are efforts of popular rejoicings everywhere throughout the country. Churchill has answered this as “great news.”
“The Yugoslav Nation,” says Churchill, “has found its soul.”
The nine o’clock news was further good news. Keran, the Italian stronghold in Eritrea, has fallen, and Harar, the second city of Abyssinia, is also in our hands. So both Hitler and Mussolini have received severe setbacks today.
March 29, 1941
For months now I have been listening each weekday morning to the “Lift Up Your Hearts” and “Kitchen Front” talks from the B.B.C., and I want to say what rubbish they are. It is absolute rubbish and also impertinence.
To take “The Kitchen Front” series first. More often than not a man gives the talks. He will be either facetious or condescending. When women give the talks they are simply silly. Oh these are substitute dishes! They are so simply nauseating. Who does the B.B.C. suppose pays the slightest serous attention to them? The public knows jolly well what rations are, but it also knows what can and can’t be done in cookery. It jolly well knows you can’t feed the family a dessert of turnip pie, or milk your tea with oatmeal water.
There are straightforward and standard ways of cooking all known foods; why foozle them? Make an omelet for three people, says the B.B.C. with one egg, two tablespoons of breadcrumbs, and two tablespoons of milk and water. Well, that is not an omelet, nor will one egg make a breakfast for three people. What kind of fools do they take the public for? The food problem in Britain is damned serious all right, but we don’t fool ourselves that we are all fed when we are not. We will eat whatever is available, but we won’t fool ourselves that it is appetizing or satisfactory. We certainly won’t spoil what is available by trying to make it masquerade as what it isn’t.
As for the religious talks, they too are fooling. This is another sort of fake. Speakers, some of them parsons, some non-conformist ministers, give puerile uplifting anecdotes, religious pep talks. It is just awful. It seems to me instead of handing out their pious platitudes, they should be totally impersonal, not inflict themselves upon us, but quietly rend from the scriptures, or from the Book of Common Prayer, say, the morning prayer and the Collect for the Day. They would be a thousand times more effective; they would then have sincerity and dignity, and true Englishness, and old beauty and abiding Christian feeling; instead of which the religion they try to put over is just as silly, pretentious, impossible, ridiculous and fake and nauseating as the “Kitchen Front Cookery.”

No comments:

Post a Comment