Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kids, Lollypops . . .

. . .And a New Zealand Lady

It has taken a long stretch of my memory to come up with tonight's blog, in an effort to create another TIE story but it has come about.

This could be a short blog but I'll do my best to create a few paragraphs at least so you'll have something interesting to read.

Fast forward backwards (can I say that lady book editor?) to a time of strife in Europe, World War II. I was stationed in England with the Corps of Engineers, United States Army, and in the small hamlet of Thatcham, today a thriving place.

At a supply depot, numerous GIs, myself included, got from their moms and sweethearts back in the United States what today would be called CARE packages. These GIs quickly joined the ranks of sharers. They shared with little English kids.

Now fast forward to about three or four years ago and imagine using your computer browser at random trying to make connections with someone you knew in England.

That was me, seeking to just send a thank you message to a family that took me in as a lonely soldier, fed me, made me comfortable evenings in their home listening to the BBC and oft-times shortwave radio news from the states.

Browsing didn't turn up much until I messaged a newspaper in Newbury, near Thatcham, telling the editor I was searching for a certain family. He personally was no help other than running a brief story about the family I sought.

Weeks went by before a certain lady recognized from the newspaper item the family I was seeking. She evidently communicated with a sister living in New Zealand and they compared notes.

Suddenly from New Zealand came an-e-mail from a lady with a clue to that family which in the '40s hosted this lonely GI. Now I had a TIE - the past and the present.

But that is not the end of it. Between the lady there and the sister in New Zealand (and I hope I have my facts correct despite a little failing of memory) I was informed the old folks of the family were long gone but their was a daughter who recalled my name.

When the sister in England contacted that daughter there came a terse reply that she wanted nothing to do with the American soldier. Now, lest that raises your eyebrows a bit, let me quickly point out there was no reason for that response.

So that was that but the e-mail correspondence between this blogger and the New Zealand lady, who's about 15 years younger than me, turned up a new TIE.

Fast forward backwards again - to that army depot in Thatcham and the GIs with care packages from home. Pretty much daily during breaks, which English mothers and their tykes had timed well, several children would gather outside the gates of G-45 and GIs would feed them goodies, lollypops being a favorite

Among the small crowd of little ones was a four-year-old girl who would ride up Station Road in her pedal car. I remembered the pedal car. Not particularly the girl. Probably fed candy to the kid numerous times.

Fast forward now to the present. From New Zealand, e-mails from the lady there were frequent, with memories of England being predominent.

And then one e-mail struck a new TIE.

The New Zealander said she remembered riding her little pedal car up the road to the depot and she often got lollypops and candy from the American soldiers.

What a discovery! This American, long back home and that Britisher now in New Zealand, had met again.

Amazing what one learns from this round-the-world communication technology.

This charming lady in New Zealand and I still exchange e-mails but not much news from England any more, mostly comparisons of our "golden years," our aches, pains, sicknesses, eyes and ears problems, accidents and so on.

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