Life was going along as usual except for the war of course and the war did not affect us that much, except when we heard about it on the radio and in the Newsreels at the movies. Then of course there were a lot of movies with stories about the war.
At school, Sister came up with an idea for helping out our service men. She asked who had a relative in the Armed Services and then with all the hands raised. she suggested we put their names in a hat and each one of us would pick out a name. Whoever you picked out, you would write to that person with news from home. That turned out to be a really good idea.
After we had been doing it for a while, Sister suggested that each day one or two letters from the service men would be read aloud to the class. I had picked someone who was an uncle of one of my friends in class and he told me that his uncle was happy to be getting extra mail from home. It cheered him up. And I was happy to be getting an airmail letter from overseas, made me feel important and happy I was doing something.
The war had been going on for a while when we got a letter from the Army; the letter looked important! We gathered around as Mother read it to us. The Army was telling us that Paddy was being drafted into the Army and we would be receiving an allotment for the time he served. Now Paddy was forty years old at this time and it was unusual to be drafting older men, although the Armed Services was getting desperate for men.
Since Paddy had never given us a penny since he left the last time, which had been several years ago, Mother didn’t think it was his idea to send us the allotment. But we were more than happy to be receiving the money, in fact it was a godsend. Mother had been sick with Pleurisy which is a pretty bad disease affecting the lungs and causing a lot of pain especially in the chest. It had been months now and she hadn’t been able to work at all for some time. The doctor would come and visit her from time to time, telling her that she had to rest and take care of herself. She wondered how she was supposed to do that with four kids to take care of. But she couldn’t seem to get off the couch except for short periods of time. She would lie there and direct us what to do and make sure we ate breakfast and got off to school.
But Mother wondered about the allotment and whose decision it was that we get it? She kept asking around mostly of the in-laws, the one or two she was still friendly with and slowly the truth came out.
To be continued!