Helene passed thirteen years ago, just before Thanksgiving, an independent force to the end. Eight pregnancy’s four children, only three made it to adult, I am one of those. Helene married the most wonderful man anyone could have hoped for. Pa lived with them till he passed in 1955, he heartily agreed with her choice.
After many beau’s and letters home, Helene met Tom while visiting a family whose son had scarlet fever. The call came into the office late in the day and because of Helene’s good nature she was asked to take the call outside of her own district — it was just easier to ask her.
The photo of the handsome soldier on the piano caught her eye, and the young man who was now getting better saw her stare.
“That’s my uncle, he is coming home from training, I can introduce you.”
“No, oh no, I have a boyfriend overseas, please don’t bother.”
One month later that handsome soldier appeared in the doorway of the office, with a bouquet of flowers. Looking for Helene who was highly recommended.
“He should have been here for me.” cried the nurse whose brusk personality cause the order to send Helene so late in the day. A Dear John letter went out to the poor guy in New Guinea. She had three blood tests and several postponed marriage ceremonies, due to the war and her ever present dormant TB alerts. Finally the stars aligned and the marriage happened after traveling to the base camp before he shipped out. Gertie, whose husband was in California joined her in Neosho, Missouri and stood up for her as her bridesmaid. They took the next day train home to Massachusetts, both their husbands ended up in California and met at the Brown Derby before they were deployed — I remember the photo. Francis went overseas and received a medal for valor from the Navy. Tom went to the signal corp and never left the country.
All the young men went to war, Helene’s scrapbook is filled with pictures of soldier’s in far away places the names faded on the back. Soldier’s she met at the USO dances at home and friends of her brothers. Mountain Park was a mecca in those days, a trolley brought people by the hundreds to spend a night dancing in the ballroom and forget the worries of the day, if only for one night.
Back at home the girls stayed at the bungalow with pa. Bud had married Mary a beautiful, but fragile woman. Helene often spoke of Mary who died young, she was lovely, and gentile blonde hair that curled at her neck, blue eyes and dark lashes. Helene helped her to deliver her two daughters, being a nurse she was allowed access and tended to her needs. When her youngest child was two, Helene helped her in her final days, Bud was devastated, but determined to raise the two girls himself. Arn never married but had a long time girlfriend, Ernestine. I remember them coming to the house, Arn was our favorite as well, he never lost that infectious smile and playful attitude. Still ever-watchful over Helene he spent many hours at our home and at Gertie’s. He was a favorite uncle and his natural way made him dear to us.
After the war Helene and pa moved to Marlboro, Massachusetts, Tom’s hometown. He was also a favorite uncle to all his nieces and nephews. He would soon settle down and start a family of his own.