May 8 – VE Day

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 15, 2003

It came, it went and now it’s just a day last week. It was warm and sunny and not like what we had been getting. It had been rainy and cold – quite nasty.

That day, May 8, 59 years ago, lives in my memory – not as VE day. I was too busy fighting off labor pains to care about weather, the Japanese or St. Peter. But let’s start as the beginning.

I already told you I eloped after one date with the man who was responsible for those same labor pains I was going through and at the time murmuring, &uot;I’ll kill him.&uot; I’ve been told it goes with the territory. How was I to know? It was my first time.

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This all began in 1942 – the year was now 1944. I tell you these two years so there will be no counting to validate an early nine count (Worry not – I’d do it myself.).

I was living at my parent’s house. Frank was fighting the entire Japanese army the way doctors do. I was home and fat! Three brothers, all unmarried, were in the service -two Navy and one Coast Guard. When they had leave they came home to Mama.

So brother Bud was on leave and I was fat. Bud doesn’t miss a chance to make a bet and it all started with, &uot;When are you due, Sis?&uot; Told him first week in May. He answered, &uot;You’ll have a cute little girl.&uot; &uot;No way,&uot; I said, &uot;I’m having a boy – Frank, Jr.&uot; I knew he’d never let it drop since I didn’t agree with him. So I got, &uot;Bet?&uot; &uot;Sure, how much?&uot; &uot;Five bucks, I’ll go easy on you.&uot; So I agreed. Five dollars I say boy, he says girl.

So along came May and on the 7th I begin to get involved in an &uot;only women need apply&uot; project called labor. Men should try it. If so we’d have every family with an only child. They’d never even one increase.

So on May 8 she arrived. Not a he. I soon forgot the he and looked at my she. In the middle of her forehead was a perfect V. She was born in Chelsea Naval Hospital and the nurses took her all over the hospital declaring peace in the war was done as God sent a victory sign. One year to the day, May 8 was VE day. Victory!

The V stayed till age one. She was a beautiful, smart child. As to Bud – I sent him $5 in pennies all the way to the Solomon Islands. He was the talk of the regiment.

Beauty rules no matter where. This is the beauty shop at Nansemond Pointe Suffolk Nursing Home. It is run by Chary Brown and it includes residents at Hillcrest Retirement. Beauty will be served.

Florence Arena is a resident of Hillcrest Retirement Center and a regular News-Herald columnist.