Audrey Rhoads: World War II by a nurse’s eyes
September 4, 2016 - accent chair
COEUR d’ALENE — As bombs were descending on England during World War II, a immature Audrey Rhoads (then Audrey Jones) comforted children who were ill and scared.
She was reserved to caring for youths with illness and orthopedic diseases when she herself was still a child.
“I helped a children since we knew some of them were going to die, and some of them knew they were going to die, and we usually had to live with it,” she pronounced gently in her English accent. “We had them when they couldn’t nap during night. We’d speak to them and sing songs.
“I hated it when a child died. They had TB and TB in orthopedic, so they had it in their bones. It was tough to see.”
It was any person’s avocation to pointer adult for fight use during a age of 15, she explained.
“As shortly as we had my 17th birthday, 4 days after we was training to be a nurse, and on-the-job nursing too,” she said. “I went true from boarding propagandize true to being a tyro nurse. we schooled on a job.”
Now 89 and fighting her possess ailment of Parkinson’s disease, Rhoads remembers caring for children in war-torn England as transparent as day.
And it wasn’t all bad. She pronounced it was utterly fun being a singular immature lady when so many large immature soldiers were anticipating to spend some time with flattering girls before going to battle. She married an English warrior commander and had children with him, yet after divorced and eventually married American flashy Vietnam fight veteran, Dusty Rhoads, who swept her divided to scenic North Idaho when he late in 1988.
“I came with Dusty sightseeing to see if we like it,” she pronounced of visiting a States. “He wasn’t certain that I’d like it, so he brought me over for a holiday. we met his relatives, we met his friends and we saw Idaho. we said, ‘Your kin are poetic yet I’ll go for Idaho.’ we adore a lake and a rivers and a forest.”
Although she misses England from time to time, her bookshelves are packaged with tomes containing photos and information about her local land. The shelves also exhibit Audrey’s adore of history, and her book collection would stir any professor.
She’s seen her share of a good and bad in a world, yet Audrey’s clarity of amusement and ability to take it as it comes are characteristics she has carried with her by life as a member of a Greatest Generation.
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Why did we select to be a nurse?
“I didn’t. My mom took me to see a film about Florence Nightingale. And after we saw a film, she said, ‘What do we consider of that, Audrey?’ And we said, ‘Oh utterly nice, Mummy,’ and that was it, she enrolled me as a nurse, we had no option.”
What was it like being a helper in World War II?
“The Americans came over in 1944 and they were stationed on a encampment immature since there was nowhere to put them solely for in tents. we used to take a juniors (about age 12) to bed since we had so many during a fight — their relatives were in a fight use or sparse all over a place that they came to a boarding propagandize and we had to take a juniors to bed to make certain that they were all right. They stayed there during a night, it was a doctor’s residence so they knew they were safe. But we had to travel by these rows and rows of tents, and a kids pronounced to me, ‘Oh, Audrey, I’m afraid,’ and I’d say, ‘Don’t be afraid, there’s zero to it,’ and one of a (military) boys said, ‘Oh Audrey, I’ll be off avocation soon, wait for me,’ so that set them off in shrieks of laughter, they found it funny. we was 16, entrance adult to 17.”
Did we provide soldiers too?
“No, my mom insisted that we start with children and mature to a some-more adult themes of going to London. we during that time was enrolled during a nation hospital, connected to Great Ormond Street Hospital, so when we did your dual and a half years there, we could go to Great Ormond Street for a rest of your training. But we ran divided and got married. we never wanted to be a nurse, we hated to see children die. And they did. One of them, they had TB in a brain, meningitis, and they had these uncanny sorrow calls late during night. (The hospital) was 8 blocks and they were divided adult into conflicting age groups so a immature men, they were during one finish and 17 and a girls were during a other finish and they were 16, afterwards we had a in betweens, and they were poetic children. One of them, we forgot to contend goodnight to him one night and a bed was usually conflicting a door, it was wide.
And we said, ‘Bye everybody’ and off we went, and a sorrow (boy) said, ‘Nurse Jones!’ and he got his cot and he banged it opposite a room and he went true by a doors, burst a potion and he said, ‘You didn’t contend goodbye to me!’ so we gave him a kiss, and that was it. we got unequivocally trustworthy to them, and we shouldn’t, it’s unequivocally hard.”
What would we do for fun when we weren’t bustling with fight service?
“You weren’t ostensible to go on a beach heads or on a precipice tops since they spiny connected it. There were some areas that were full of spiny wire, and some places where there wasn’t any since it wasn’t indispensable and they couldn’t means it. We knew that, and we used to float during a favorite beach and have fun. The boys came out from (their favorite places to swim) and they’d have buried all your underwear so it was full of sand, so you’d have to find it initial (chuckles). We done a fun that way. We had to. We didn’t see ourselves as immortals. We were wakeful of a war, we had a Navy, a Army and a Air Force on a doorstep.
“A infancy of a immature people utterly enjoyed it since we were doing something, we were portion a purpose. And it was fun, since life was short, and a group would say, ‘I competence be passed tomorrow, come on, let’s go have a drink,’ even yet we weren’t ostensible to and we weren’t aged adequate we used to hit them back.
“It was good fun. So many immature men. we had taken adult nursing in ’44, usually come out of boarding school, and we had all these waste men. All a servicemen had dances utterly during Christmas and things like that. The dame of a sanatorium that we worked in had a list and we was not on it since we didn’t wish to be, and she said, ‘Nurse Jones, you’re going to this dance, and you’re going to suffer yourself,’ and off we went.
“When we were immature and 17 and all we went to was dances we met all these conflicting servicemen. We met a Canadians, a Australians, New Zealand, Americans, South Africans and a English and they said, ‘We don’t mount a chance,’ since they have a lousy uniform, we know, and a American uniform was spiffy.”
Is there anything else we would wish a village to know about your use during a war?
“I warranted 12 shillings and 11 pence a week as a tyro training. we bought ‘Lest We Forget,’ a book about a thoroughness camps, and it took all my compensate for that week since it was 12 and 11 to buy a book.”
After vital by such a horrific fight that concerned so many people and so many lives, do we have any hopes or wishes for a destiny of a world?
“I consider we’re wiser now than we were then. We were unequivocally naive. we consider we suspicion a Great War would be a final war, yet there’s always going to be a war, always somewhere, since that’s a usually approach they can settle it. It’s their doctrine. we don’t contend it’s Communist, we don’t contend it’s anything, it’s usually man, and they like war. They do. And of course, when we were young, we suspicion fight was good too. Except when we got inebriated and mislaid a homes. That wasn’t utterly so jolly. we don’t consider any time did we lay and yowl and wail. It wasn’t any good since a subsequent night they’d come and do it again. we mean, we saw Plymouth, particularly. It was so splendid in Plymouth they wouldn’t concede any newspapers to reprint a story since it was in flames. Burned for 3 days since it was a large boat building and training ground.”
What’s something that unequivocally stranded with you, or how did your fight use change you?
“You had to do it with laughter. You had to for a children’s sake. You couldn’t let them see we cry. we used to take my boots off and put them on a wrong feet. And my nurse’s band, I’d spin that down … we was mopping a building and I’d make them laugh. We had a miserable sister who wouldn’t concede a radio on or anything. As shortly as she went off duty, we’d get a bread and butter out and we’d slap all a things on — she would be despotic with a margarine and a small bit of peanut butter and that was it — so we lashed it all on with jam. We usually done fun, we had to. Laughter is a one best thing.”