Anne’s story 1944: A significant year

In early 1944 Anne had stopped working and was pregnant with their first child.

Meanwhile, Ray got fired as he didn’t get along with his boss. This was a cause for some soul-searching and shame. Not only was he not fighting overseas like the rest of his peers, but he had been fired from his civilian job.

So, Ray volunteered for the Army. This time, he was accepted in spite of his medical history and he underwent the 6 weeks of basic training in preparation for being sent off to fight for his country. When he finished the training and was home in Vancouver awaiting dispatch to Europe, he was told that his papers were lost (along with the rest of his group) and he would have to repeat his basic training. So, off he went and repeated it. That delay might have been lucky. By mid 1944, the war in Europe was basically over so he was ready for dispatch to the Pacific. That never happened either, as his unit (or whatever it should be called) was still in training in North America when the Pacific war  came to an end as well.

Florence on left, Anne on right – 1942 or 1943

Meanwhile, Anne had a major issue to deal with. Her mother, Florence, was 57 years old and was not coping well. She couldn’t seem to hold a job, after all those years of competent stenographic services. As a young person, Anne had never noticed anything odd in her mother’s behaviour or mental health. She remembers  the first time she realized there was something wrong. It was 1944 and they had met for lunch in a restaurant. Florence was clearly not behaving normally – she was agitated and Anne was most disturbed by her darting eyes and rather manic demeanor. On another occasion, Anne was contacted by an acquaintance who told her that Florence had come to visit, hours ago, and was talking a blue streak and wouldn’t go home.

Somehow, a social worker got involved, Anne was interviewed by a psychiatrist to confirm the situation, and arrangements were made to transport Florence to a mental hospital. Anne didn’t see any alternative – she was 21 years old and starting her marriage and family. (Florence spent 16 years in the mental hospital until she came to live with us.)

1945 – There and then (aka Here and Anon) with Mom

In November, son R was born. Anne remembers that she was required to stay in bed in the hospital for something like 8 days, on day 9 they let her dangle her legs on the edge of the bed. On day 14 she was sent home, but she could hardly walk! Anne insisted on breastfeeding, against the objections of many professionals of the day. She is still indignant over that situation.

2 thoughts on “Anne’s story 1944: A significant year

  1. Ray did not get into the army in spite of his medical history — on this, his third or fourth attempt, he neglected to tell them his history.

    Also Ray had finished training as a signalman and was on embarkation leave twice —first for Europe and then the Pacific.

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