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- 26 November 2004
Memories are a vital link in our lives. It sustains us during stressful times.F.i. during the german occupation when memories were all we had .Before the war Christmas was a holiday I'll cherish for the rest of my life.
We did not exchange gifts as this was done when we celebrated St. Nicholaas on Dec 5.We celebrated Christmas for 2 days;The first day was strictly a family day, the 26 th we went visiting family and friends: How I looked forward to walk in the crunching snow, the low winterlight made snow flakes look like silver stars.. We went to church at midnite and had a delicious breakfast afterwards with châteaubriand ,hot rolls and the famous Weihnacht stoll from Dresden.
The day before we decorated a live evergreen-I still love the smell of it-We put real candles in it, the manger was put between the lower branches. We sang Christmas carols: the old standby's but also new ones written for children: we took turns blowing out a candle singing :"pft, pft, pft,"till all were extinguished and off to bed we went.
After the Japanese capitulated I was flown in a B. 25 bomber taking off on an airfield in N.E. Australia.
We had to try to get an 8oo bed Mil. hospital running again.
It was empty :everything stolen by the natives.
Eventually the nurses were billeted in a house. But my friend Janie and I asked for the servants'quarters. It was very pittoresque: we could see the stars through the roof when we went to bed,but it never rained in.
We had a maid:Suarsie who brought her little son with her. He was mesmerized when he saw us decorate a "Tjemara"tree- the closest to an evergreen-but most of all by us stringing real candles on the wire between 2 posts,where his mother used to dry our uniforms. When we lit the candles we sang the "pft,pft,"song ,lifted up the little boy so he could blow out the candles.
I was headnurse of a 50 bed surgical ward for wounded soldiers.
I had to make Chridstmas a memorable event for them. We got a tjemara tree,the boys made the decorations. I got hold of some plywood and with help we made a manger out of it with branches covering the "roof".I made the figures of Mary,Josef,some shepherds out of wire.Their faces and hands we formed out of cotton and wrapped in gauze so they would not fall apart. The boys were allowed to draw faces on the figures.All the patients participated if possible.
The sheep were easy :blobs of cotton for their bodies,a liitle blob for their head and a wisp for a tail.
The clothes of the main figures were made of pieces from discarded uniforms. Baby Jezus was swaddled in parts of a pillow case,so we only had to give it a little head. It's crib was lined with grass.
Th boys drew lots who could draw the babies' face.
At midnite we all sang Christmas Carols :Many a patient did not care that we saw them cry: Another Christmas in another war.
Will humanity finally learn not to kill each other???
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