Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Little Sister Remembers




When I posted about my Uncle Carl Louis Javorsky the other day, my mom started reminiscing about those days when she was just a little girl and her big brother went off to join the army. Today on Remembrance Day, I asked her if she'd share a few of her memories from that time. And so, it's a real pleasure to have my mom, Evelyn, as my guest blogger today.

Lest we forget those who served in the past and who serve today,
Brenda
xox




 GUEST POST BY EVELYN

It's Remembrance Day and today I am remembering my big brother, Carl, and how I used to write him letters when he was posted in London, England during the second world war. I was about six or seven years old when he went overseas and he was gone about four years -- that's a long time for a little kid.

My mom packed many, many parcels for him. I remember tins of meat like Prem and lots of fruitcake; I think the fruitcake was good to send, as it wouldn't spoil. I am sure it took a long time to get to London. I hope all those carefully wrapped packages arrived to him safely -- I never asked.

We had a big radio in our kitchen and Dad always listened to the news. I can still hear the booming voice, "THIS IS BBC LONDON!" Lots of news from the war, and I had to be QUIET when the news was on.

Carl wrote letters home and Mom wrote him letters too. I would get my own airmail letters from him. How exciting!! I would always answer him and my letters always started the same: "Dear Carl, How are you? I am fine." I think he always started off his letters to me the same way. We were both very original, as you can see. Not sure what else we wrote. This is interesting, I just remembered his London address: #11 Battersea, London, England.

And while he was stationed in London, he met a nice English girl and married her. My family got the news in the mail one day with pictures of the wedding. Her name was Bette and some time after the war was over, she came to Canada to be with her new husband.

I remember our family was grateful that we never did get one of those black letters in the mail that said "missing in action". Others around us were not so fortunate. Dad went to town one day and heard someone's son was missing in action -- that was hard for my parents.


The years passed and finally the war was over and our Canadian soldiers were coming home. By the train loads. So many trains, every day. We couldn't wait for Carl to get back. The names were all published in the Edmonton Journal newspaper so families knew when they were arriving. Dad went to Onoway every day to get a paper and search the lists for Carl's name. It never appeared.

I can still see Dad bending over the table as he searched and searched but to no avail. Maybe tomorrow, we'd hope. And then the day came, there were no more train loads full of soldiers, everyone had arrived home. Everyone, except Carl. There was no Carl. And no news.

In the middle of this, we'd been invited to a wedding and, on our way there, we stopped at the Eaton's department store in downtown Edmonton. Mom and I went shopping, probably for a wedding gift, and we were to meet Dad at the escalator. As we approached, we saw Dad standing and he was talking to a soldier. Mom ran, and I ran after her crying and hugging for Mom. I had a hard time, I think, I didn't know Carl -- he was so thin -- I hid behind Mom and then Carl grabbed me up in his arms. I do remember him looking at me and saying, "Is this my baby sister?" No doubt I had changed a bit in those years too.

Oh, what a reunion in that department store. I am sure everyone in the store was watching us. I can't help wondering how Dad and Carl reacted when they first spotted each other!

After all the hugs and tears, Dad says we need to go eat -- we all saw how thin Carl was -- rations had been scarce. When we were eating, Dad says, "Carl, you need to eat". My brother replied, "I can't eat much, I'm not used to the food; I will get sick if I eat too much. I will have to learn to eat regular food again." Oh my ... I have tears here; I'm sure my parents had theirs flowing at such news too.

 

But, just think of the miracle of it all. For us to be in that store at that exact time when Carl, just having gotten off a train nearby -- he's wondering, and feeling very hurt, why there was no one to meet him at the station, and we're the ones not knowing anything about where he was and why his name was missing from all the lists. It had to be a miracle.

My brother has been gone many years now. I'm grateful for these special memories I have of him -- they make me feel close to him today. And I feel fresh tears for what he went through, and what all soldiers and their families must go through.

Today we take time to reflect on those who are no longer with us as well as the ones who are still putting their lives in danger every day. Let's be thankful for them, for the freedom we have, and the food we eat.
by Evelyn



19 comments:

  1. Mom, Thanks so much for this beautiful post about your brother. That meeting in Eaton's had to be a miracle, I agree.

    Love,
    Brenda
    xox



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  2. Brenda, what a touching story your mum wrote. It must have been agony for so many people, searching lists and waiting and hoping.
    I do remember having a food parcel sent from friends in Australia to my Grandma. I had never tasted tinned pineapple before!

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  3. Such a lovely story! So many untold stories about such a difficult, terrible time. I am grateful to your Mum for writing this so it will always be alive for others to read. Bless your brother and your family on this Remembrance Day.

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  4. Thanks Brenda for sharing Mom's story, and thanks, Mom for sharing! Our freedoms come at a price, it's so good to be reminded not to take them for granted!

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  5. Evelyn, what a precious scene you have shared with us. I am so glad that Brenda asked you to write this. Beautifully told and it reminds me of the goodness of God. A miracle indeed!

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  6. What beautiful memories. My father was a POW in Germany and I can only imagine what my grandmother went through waiting for the war to be over. xo Laura

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  7. To Brenda & Auntie Evelyn,
    Thank you for the beautiful tribute to Dad. It is an amazing story that we will cherish. I can only imagine the thoughts going through Grandad and Grandma's head as they were able to embrace their son once again. For you Auntie Evelyn, to be a part of that first reunion with Carl must hold so many emotions and memories for you. Thank you for sharing with us.
    Love Dennis and Toby

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  8. Thank you Brenda, and Evelyn, for sharing this wonderful story of reunion and miracles.

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  9. Heart wrenching story. A beautiful way to remember. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. A beautiful and moving post Evelyn. Thank you for sharing this little bit of your dear brother with us. Thank you too for his service to us all. xx

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  11. What a beautiful story. How nice to have such a happy memory in your family.

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  12. I just had to come back and say that I just read your story out loud to my husband and my two step-sons (9 and 11) and my husband and I have tears in our eyes. Thank you so much for sharing this here and helping us to remember the sacrifices that so many made for our freedoms.

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  13. What a great story to read this morning. Thank you both!

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  14. Such a dear and moving story of a family's devotion and a soldier's dedicated service and reunion through the eyes of a child. Thank you both for sharing these sweet memories. x Karen

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  15. Such a moving story, Brenda! I can hardly type for the tears. So glad your uncle returned home and what a reunion that must have been. Thanks so much for sharing with us, Evelyn. Wonderful memories! We owe your dear uncle and all those who fought for our country a great debt.

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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  16. I am sitting here with tears rolling. Thank you so much for sharing these precious memories. I am so thankful your brother came home safely! Thank you Evelyn for sharing this touching, touching story!

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  17. I am late in reading this touching post. Thank you Evelyn for sharing these special memories of your brother and what he must have endured fighting for freedom. It was not free and may none of us forget that fact. Hugs

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  18. What a moving story. Thank you for sharing.

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  19. Hello up there in Canada!. Thank you for sharing this memory of the uncle I never knew.
    Love,
    Kevin Javorsky

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To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xox

PS. I do not always comment here, but I do look forward to coming and visiting you....