February 6, 1943
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World War ll London Blitz: 2-6-43 to 2-18-43 The Russians have taken Stalingrad; we have taken Tripoli, and this morning came the news that Mussolini has dismissed his entire cabinet, including his son-in-law Ciano.
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February 6, 1943
February 6, 1943
I am cooking dinner. I have a half a shoulder of lamb for a change. Mostly our war-joint is a piece of brisket, which we are sick to death of, but there is nothing else. Today’s half shoulder weighs two pounds, and is our entire meat ration for the week.
War news is speeding up this week. The Russians have taken Stalingrad; we have taken Tripoli, and this morning came the news that Mussolini has dismissed his entire cabinet, including his son-in-law Ciano. We bombed Turin very heavily last Tuesday so perhaps that has something to do with it; maybe the Italians are panicking. The meeting of Churchill and Roosevelt in Casablanca must have alarmed the Axis pretty considerably. Report of a letter from Stalin to Roosevelt, made public today, says that Stalin states the speedy end of the war is in view. Well, don’t we hope so!
February 7, 1943
In the week I received a letter from Eddie in which he wrote: I saw the Berry’s yesterday and Mrs. Berry said Grandma had died, a shock after your letter saying she was in good shape. Well, maybe it’s the best way to go, no hanging around through a long lingering malady. She certainly left her mark on the world, in a goodly streak of stubbornness in her descendants. I think we need toughness and stubbornness nowadays more than anything else. If we had more of it before we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in now.
Then he writes pages about Puritanism, saying it is the great distinguishing factor of the English speaking peoples. It’s our greatest strength in one form or another… you can’t find it an any other people anywhere. It may be cruel sometimes, but it does make for strong character. Puritanism, like the old Spartan, assumes that people are strong, and thought it may be hard on the sensitive souls it keeps the majority strong.
Just as Eddy is active in mind and body, he can’t help it, so also is he extremely ardent in his likes and dislikes, because he’s not a German, or a Frenchman, or a Hindu, or anything else. He’s got a good bit of Grandma in him.
I must have been pondering this for days, for last night I woke up to the fact that I’ve got a “good bit of Grandma” in me too. In short, I am my mother’s daughter. Mother was a positive and an ardent and passionate woman, and she lived her life with zest right up to the very end. I am like mother, though my zest has been overlaid all these married years. Mother wanted to be happy, and she went out after happiness, wherever and however she could find it. I want to be happy, but I have had to spend my adult life with a man who only wants to be safe and to be good. I’m sick of goodness, sick of piety. I am sick of asceticism and sick of discipline. I want to enjoy. I want to be free. Free. Ted oppresses me, and I allow him to do so. What a fool I am, and have been. How many years have I got left to me? Perhaps twenty, if I live to be as old as mother, perhaps twenty-five or more if I live to be as old as Grandma Side and the Aunties. Of course perhaps I have many fewer years. I am resolved that I will put zest back into my living, Ted or no Ted. I will enjoy myself, and if I can’t enjoy myself with Ted, I will enjoy myself alone.
Yesterday the English feminists celebrated their Silver Jubilee with a grand luncheon. In spirit I belonged to that group it was only due to the fact of being in America that kept me from joining them. Yesterday, Lady Astor said, it took the First World War to give women the vote, and it has taken the Second World War to give them full citizenship; it will take a tornado to get them on the bench of Bishop and the end of the world to get them in the House of Lords. This is funny, but it is also true. This is still a man’s world, with men regarding women as very secondary creatures to themselves. As to the Bench of Bishops well I feel as the war goes on and on, that the Churches are done for, all of them. Men’s religion doesn’t work any better than men’s politics. As for myself, I still feel and think Mrs. Eddy to be more real and more helpful, to me, and perhaps to women generally, than the Pope.
Yes, the Pope. What has the Pope done in this war, except play safe? He is just another Italian. Whatever prestige Catholicism had managed to achieve for itself in the non-catholic world has vanished now completely.
Yes and I feel I am no Catholic. Catholicism is simply not in me, no more than it was in Mother. I have soaked and soaked my self in it, in fervent efforts to please Ted, but it has been no good. Yes, and blow Ted and be damned to him, for one great silly fool. What an ass he is, what an ass!
February 8, 1943
The weather has turned sharply cold today, and there was an extraordinarily heavy frost this morning. There is a wind blowing now, and the stars out. This morning Ted did hand me his clothes coupon book. I have used twenty-four of his coupons, and will pay him back with mine directly they become available. I went to Stone’s and bought the wool I need. So now I shall have enough supplies on hand to work out my accumulated designs.
February 9, 1943
At eight thirty this morning we had an alert, and then guns firing for about twenty minutes. Very nasty. Ted has been under the weather and it is the food or diet we have to eat. Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting. We shan’t get any real food until the war is over. When will it be over? God knows.
I have one thing to note. Mussolini has appointed Ciano Ambassador to the Holy See. This is absolutely farcical. How much religion has Ciano got? As things are, one is tempted to ask, how much religion has the Pope got? This present Pope, Pacelli, is a Roman Aristocrat, an intriguer of the first order.
February 11, 1943
I have just finished writing my weekly letters to the twins. I did go to Hammersmith yesterday. The morning was fine, but rain began again in the afternoon, and I got very wet walking home form the station. No taxis to be had of course. An alert sounded whilst I was on the Underground, about a quarter to five, and the all clear came after I was in the Romford train. It is all very alarming. As usual in my journeying I found myself viewing the human race with disgust. When I see people en-masse I dislike them all, and I ask myself, how can God be interested in these ants? The insignificance of human beings. No wonder tyrants wage war; the value of single personal lives is nothing. So I resolve yet again to wringing all the pleasure and joy out of my life that I can, whilst I know I have got it. If men must fight, they must fight but I’m not going to bother myself about their causes. Men! Fool men!
As I sat in the railway carriage yesterday morning going to town, and looked at the company of women filling it, I thought we were just like a pen of cows, waiting for the bull. I thought the stupidity of women, who wish to please men. Women should remember, and should never forget, that the basic fact of a man’s life is his sex, and his basic need is the satisfaction of his sexual appetite. Let men talk their silly talk, let them prate of politics and ethics, religion and war, science and superstition, right and wrong, morals, their eternal morals, let them, it is for women to laugh, for in the end the body gets them, women’s bodies and their own. Women can live full and happy lives without men, but men cannot live without women.
February 16, 1943
Mother’s anniversary, had she lived until today she would have been eighty. I miss her tremendously. If anyone had told me I would miss her so much I wouldn’t have believed him or her. My love for her must have been much deeper than I knew. I let her annoying ways irritate me too much. That is because I am a nasty irritable person. Yet underneath, unrecognized all the time there was the inescapable bond of human affection, the human tie. My mother.
February 18, 1943
I received a letter from Joan today. Joan, I think is the family problem child. Joan has a quarrelsome disposition. We used to watch her with George, behaving arbitrarily and domineeringly with him, like Mother used to behave with Dad. George left her, and that’s the fact. He didn’t have to go to France. He volunteered to go because he could no longer live with Joan, and he told her so. When she lived with mother she quarreled with mother, then in Yorkshire with Cecily. Then she quarreled again in Penzance with Gladys. Now she is ready to quarrel with Gladys again. Joan takes umbrage at every trifle. It appears Gladys has written to say she will come to town in April, assuming, of course, that she will come to Angel Road as usual. At this Joan takes offence. Gladys, she says, should wait for an invitation. The house is hers now, and not mother’s, so Gladys has no right to come to whenever it suits her. Quite right technically. What a point to make an issue about. After all, we’re sisters, aren’t we? Joan is peeved at Malvin too. Malvin has been to see her, and that doesn’t suit Joan either. She needn’t think she can go oncoming to the house now Mother has gone, says Joan. So I expect, Joan will quarrel with me too if I don’t watch out. Why quarrel so much? Joan is too touchy, always on her high horse, always criticizing other people’s behavior towards herself, always resenting other people’s real and fancied demands upon herself. So silly. I’ve noticed before Joan’s attitude towards living is “Why should I?” She makes no concessions and she gives nothing. Poor old Joan.