“A Memory” by my 96 year old aunt…The White Cliffs of Dover

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I just added this selection, “A Memory,”  to my 96 year old aunt’s blog, “96 and Still Writing”… I thought I’d add it here on Pocket Perspectives, too, on Veterans Day. I don’t usually post twice in a day, but I think this is  special, so I will.

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My aunt was in the Women’s Army Corp in World War II, stationed in England. She recently wrote about her memories of “The White Cliffs of Dover”…a song of such longing and hope for safety, being reunited with loved ones and peace.

She prefers her writing to be read in her own handwriting…here it is… (click to enlarge)
(typed copy is below this handwritten copy, if reading on smaller screens)
The White Cliffs of Dover…

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It’s a beautiful song…a song of such longing and hope…

A typed copy of the selection, for reading on smaller monitors

NHVH
(New Hampshire Veterans’ Home)
5/7/2012

A Memory

Today a group of middle aged men and women came to sing songs in the dining room. One song they sang brought back a long ago memory. The song was “The White Cliffs of Dover.”  It  was a very popular song in World War II. It really brought back for me a long time ago.

I was a member of the Women’s Army Corp-WAC. My company was attached to the 8th Army Air Force.  We were stationed in Watford, England, a town just outside London.  I must have had the day off for we planned a train trip to Dover, a town on the east coast of England on the English Channel.

So many times I had seen the bombed out building sin London.  There was hardly a whole building left.  Many people slept in the subway at night because it was safe there. Many children had been sent to stay with relatives or friends in northern England where they would be safe.

We took the train from London to Dover. There in Dover were the high chalk cliffs overlooking the English Channel.  We followed a path along the top of the cliffs.  The English Channel was all we could see to the East.  We thought about the terrible war that had gone on across the channel- the D Day landing on the coast of Normandy-the awful fighting all the way toward Berlin. It gave you a strange feeling of just being a little away from it all-sad and frightening.

So you see why the song, “The White Cliffs of Dover” was so meaningful to me.  The song says it all.

The White Cliffs of Dover

There will be blue birds over
The White Cliffs of Dover
Tomorrow just you wait and see
The shepherd will tend his sheep
The valley will bloom again
And Jimmy will go to sleep
In his own little room again
There’ll be love and laughter
And peace ever after
Tomorrow, when the world is free

Okie Howe
NHVH
(New Hampshire Veterans’ Home)

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Thank you Okie for taking the time to write about these memories…

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16 Responses to “A Memory” by my 96 year old aunt…The White Cliffs of Dover

  1. for those of us who’ve never lived through a war, never had to run for cover from bombers or soldiers even, it’s difficult to imagine what it was like, what it is still like in some parts of the world. Thank you for sharing this memory of your Aunt’s with us. It touched my heart.

  2. Oh my goodness what a treasure! Thank you for posting this Veteran’s Day. Your aunt’s handwritten message is so precious. I read it in her cursive, then I found your transcription (smile)…loved her message the first reading and found I hadn’t missed anything. Her handwriting like her her memory is very clear. I am honored to read. And, thank you for the song, sung from the times.

    • Isn’t that special? I’m so happy you enjoyed it. She read it to us when we were there visiting a few weeks ago…it was hard for her to get through the lyrics, the memories were so strong. The song is so lovely too…longings for love, laughter, safety, being united with loved ones and peace.
      By the way, we found the actual newspaper headline from November 7, 1918….”Germany Quits! The War is Over”….the war actually ended on the 7th, but wasn’t officially over until the 11th. We have that actual newspaper, from Nov.7, 1918, because my husband’s mother was born that day! Apparently there was much celebration in the streets of New York City, as she was being born. She was given the middle name “Victory.”

  3. And yes, I absolutely loved the French rendition too! This is so special!

  4. sufilight says:

    This is very touching and very well done! Made me a little sad at the same time as I wish for peace for the world.

  5. Eric Winger says:

    Beautiful song, and a vision, beautifully expressed in simple, yet elegant prose by your aunt. Thank you for sharing. … Eric

  6. Don says:

    Your sharing here touches a deep cord. It has been such a privilege being in London for this time. The letter and the song are wonderful. Thank you for a deeply touching post.

  7. nrhatch says:

    Lovely reflection to share on Veteran’s Day . . . and Remembrance Day.

  8. It was a difficult time… she remembers it clearly.

  9. It’s always been a song I have enjoyed hearing and thought particularly beautiful. But it really does take on a special meaning when I read your aunt’s memories. She’s remarkable to be so able to put her memories to pen and paper, and it’s wonderful to read them. Her mind is so sharp! :-)

    • It’s kind of amazing reading about her walking along those cliffs and looking out over the English Channel…with sense of sadness and fear. It is such a lovely song, so filled with hope! And Okie’s mind sure is sharp…what a memory!

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