Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Putting On The Blitz

Another day, another crazy morning of having to get out of bed, line up for our showers, and dash around like mad neatening up the bedroom and covering everything with tarps before the contractor gets here to work on the master bath. At 7:30.

Did they even HAVE a bathroom?
Yeah, it's fun. It brings to mind Anne Frank, actually, because I'm Jewish and was therefore expected to read Anne Frank's Diary at an impressionable age, including the part about how she and all the people who were hiding in that attic behind the bookcase had to get up super early and rush around and get dressed and neaten up before anyone came to work downstairs; after that, they had to be super quiet and not move all day until the workers left. I read that when I was 10 or so, and I remember being glad that I didn't live in hiding, because I didn't like getting up and dressed that early.

Growing up Jewish can be special sometimes. Especially because everything reminds you of Anne Frank, in one way or another. I mean, I just compared having my bathroom redone to hiding from the Nazis. If you're not offended, you certainly should be.

In other news, I drove one of my elderly clients to the dentist today, and then sat and knitted in the waiting room while she had her teeth cleaned. (I know, it's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.) There was another elderly woman there (92, as it turns out), with a British accent, and we got to talking, first about knitting.

"I used to knit at boarding school," she said. "We would knit socks in the evening for the seamen."

"Really?" I said.

"We would put notes in with the socks, and I remember being disappointed when none of those gentlemen replied."

Picture me, sitting there, trying to imagine this very old woman as a disappointed English schoolgirl.

"Of course," she continued, "I couldn't wait to graduate. I joined the WAAFs right away."

And here, people, is where I started paying attention.

These women here - she was one of them

"The WAAFs?" I asked. "The Royal Air Force? In WWII?" Because, yes, I can do math. This woman was born in 1924.

"Oh, yes, have you heard of them?" she said.

"YOU were one of the women in those bunkers? The ones marking incoming German planes during the Blitz?"

"Oh, certainly - we all stood around that big table with the maps and pushed those planes around," she reminisced.

OMG, thought my inner history buffI'm talking to a WAAF. She's a living piece of history. 

"Hitler was a terrible man," she added, unbidden. "And this guy in charge now doesn't look much better."

Heck, I guess she'd be one to know, wouldn't she?

[Anne Frank bookcase: Wikimedia Commons]
[WAAF plotters image: Wikipedia]


  1. I could not possibly love this post more.

  2. This is incredible. I had heard of women in the air force in WWII in some kind of role but never imagined what that role might have been. I have learned something new today. How wonderful that you got to meet this woman.

  3. I move around the creaky old house more quietly than any other resident, despite my greater gravitic potential. Because I am still scared of waking my parents (who have been gone for a while). But that's a different type of fear.
    And ... out of the mouths of 92 year olds....
    There were plenty of people who said - once he is in power, he will be more moderate....

  4. I made the connection of today with WWII before you brought it up in this post, but WOW, so cool you were able to talk with this lady!

    There's a woman in my Bible study group who grew up near The Hague and was telling me just last week about going door to door begging for food with an infant sibling in the buggy, which was outfitted with a secret compartment so the Nazis wouldn't find the food. Her dad was in hiding. So much important history that needs to be recorded before it's gone.

  5. Yes, she would be the one who knows, and I fear she is right. I went last fall to Churchill's underground offices in London. People LIVED down there. I saw the big tables and the maps on the walls where people moved around pins and things to keep track of troop movements. It is astounding that they were able to win the war with such rudimentary tools.

  6. Goodness! What a great memory for you to treasure. I wish I had been there too. Please please please don't let her be right.

  7. What a great post and how lucky you were to meet this fantastic lady!

  8. WOW! That was an amazing experience for you! I hope you got her number and will visit with her again. I'm sure she has plenty of stories to tell.

  9. Wow. I love that you shared this story. We need to remember a lOT right now.

  10. How awesome that you got to meet such an amazing woman! I can only imagine how she is feeling with how the world is going right now.. must bring back a lot of memories.