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More Stories - The Way We Were

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Trip home with cases

Christmas was fast approaching and the rumors were flying that Eddie's group would be back in the States for Christmas.  We were both feeling very unhappy at the thought of not being together for our first Christmas.  It was a sad time for us.  In early December the group was told to prepare to leave at a moment's notice.  All the airmen had their things packed and most were happy at the thought of being home for Christmas.  I told my parents that I would probably be home for Christmas due to this situation.

One day Eddie came home and gave me the biggest hug that took my breath away, and he was smiling and told me he had a wonderful surprise for me.  He then told me that Lt. Miller had called him in and asked if he would like to stay in England a little longer since we had been married such a short time, and he could arrange to transfer Eddie to another unit that would be there a little longer.  Naturally Eddie said YES!!  Oh, what a wonderful surprise that was for me.

When Eddie's buddies heard the news they were happy for him, and by now they had started receiving Christmas packages from their families back home: cookies, canned hams, home baked fruit cakes, candies, and even an electric iron with step down transformer ( 220 volts down to 110 volts) and so many other things we can't remember.  So many of these things could not be taken back because of the weight constraints.  Many of the boys put these packages on Eddie's bunk to bring home to me. 

I was so thrilled and decided to go visit my family before Christmas.  I wanted to surprise them with all of the food etc., so much of which they had not had during the war.  I was so excited.  Eddie could not make the trip with me because of his pending transfer to a nearby base.

I filled two extra large suitcases, barely having enough room for my clothes, and each weighed about as much as I did <G>. I made arrangements for train tickets leaving Beccles on December 19th and returning on the 23 so I could be with Eddie for Christmas. I did not let my family know I was coming for I really did want to surprise them.  (BIG MISTAKE!)

Eddie helped me get to the train and seated in the compartment, putting my bags in the luggage compartment.  I had not given any thought to how the trains were always running late and about having to change trains in Ipswich and also London or about how heavy these cases were.  Ipswich was no trouble but London was a different matter.  Fortunately there were two RAF airmen who were going to Scotland, and would be taking the same train as I.  They graciously offered to help me carry the luggage to the other station. Thank God for that.

As usual the trains were late so this made me arrive home after the station was closed and the last bus had left.  No phones around or no cabs during the war because of the gasoline shortage.  Here I was, pregnant, all alone, freezing, had 5 miles to get home, and I had not told my family I was coming.  No way to contact them and it was pitch black - oh, what a dilemma.  I could not leave my luggage at the station for it would surely have been stolen in the early morning light.  So what to do?

Well, I will tell you what I did.  I took one case and carried it as far as I could and sat on it for a few minutes, then felt my way back for the other case.  I did this the whole five miles, and got to my home at 4:30 AM as dawn was just breaking.  I knocked on the door and I heard my father coming down the stairs.  When he opened the door I never saw anyone look so surprised in all my life.  When I explained what had happened, boy, did I ever get a lecture.

"Why didn't you let us know you were coming, you silly little bugger?"  My father was not inclined to use bad language, but he was so concerned about me.  I was so tired and cold and was still his little girl <G>.

Soon my mother was downstairs and also my two little brothers.  Oh, what a joyful reunion!  My mother made hot tea and my father made a fire in the fireplace since there was no central heat at that time.

I will never be able to explain the joy on my brothers' faces when they saw all the candy and other goodies.  My mother and father actually had tears in their eyes, for they had not seen so much food for such a long, long time.

They were disappointed that I would not be with them for Christmas, but yet they were happy that Eddie and I could be together for our first Christmas.  Needless to say I took the earliest train for my return to be with Eddie, and left one case behind. 

We had made plans to meet at the station on my arrival.  As usual the train was late and it was very foggy as I got off the train.  I could hardly see and I bumped into someone; would you believe it was Eddie?  Oh, how wonderful it was to be back with him again.

While I was visiting with my parents Eddie had met another airman and his wife, who had also been married a short time.  They were looking for a place to live in Beccles nearer the base.  Our landlady had a guest room so Eddie talked with her, explaining that they needed a place to live for a short time.  She was very gracious and consented to rent the room to them.  I got to meet them that night after returning from Corby, and we hit it right off the bat.  Jim and Frieda were a very nice couple.  Our landlady, Mrs. Bedwell, was going to visit her daughter for Christmas, so the four of had full use of the house while she was gone.   ...More >>>  

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