I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but ….

I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but ….

Monday is my yoga day.  An hour and half of me time.   I am calm .. I am whole .. I am me.  

I need the feeling to stay with me longer .. just a little longer before I step back into the real world again !!  I often stop on my way home at Lifestyle Garden Centre  for a cappuccino.  On a warm winter’s day it’s lovely to sit in the sun – if it’s cold, there’s a cosy log fire indoors   On a hot summer’s day, the umbrellas are up and there’s usually a slight cool breeze.  In Spring, as it is now, the air is crisp, the sun is shining and the plants, in their abundance and brightly coloured seedlings en masse are bursting with fresh new growth and pretty flowers.

Sitting sipping my coffee and giving thanks for such a beautiful day, I hear snippets of conversations around me.  I don’t listen.

I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but I did.

Two women were chatting over their tea/coffee and freshly baked scones.   One elderly .. the other, my age or thereabouts.  Their conversation led me to believe that the younger of the two had taken the elderly woman on an ‘outing’,  probably from a retirement village or someplace similar.  She didn’t seem to know much about the elderly woman’s private life.   I heard the ‘younger’  saying something about long distance relationships and how difficult it must be and asked the ‘elderly’  whether she had the same experience during the war (WWII).  She said yes she did, it was very difficult in those days.  But everyone was going through the same thing.  (She was obviously from England, with her accent).   Letters were censored and she would only receive a letter ‘about one a month’.   The married women would be sent postcards regularly from the army/unit informing them that their husbands are alive and well.  She said that one of her work colleagues/friend had a boyfriend in the same unit, or fighting in the same region as her husband, and of course, she being only the girlfriend didn’t receive the anticipated postcard … his parents would receive it.  She felt dreadful when she received her postcard and her friends parents sent word to the friend saying that he had died.   Her husband was one of the many soldiers involved in the D-Day landings – must have been Juno, Gold and Sword Beaches as he was British and she mentioned he was ‘with the Canadians’  … and described how it affected him for a long time afterwards, once he returned home, watching so many men falling all around him.   He was on one of the landing craft further back but watched in horror and disbelief the slaughter of so many men as they battled through the German defences.   ‘He was one of the lucky ones’ she said ..’ when he was disembarking, his arm got caught in a heavy chain and he was weighed down by his heavy backpack etc.  .. he never reached the shore’

I had eavesdropped for long enough – thought it rude of me to carry on – but I found it fascinating and so very interesting for several reasons.  My Dad served in WWII in Italy and North Africa with the Rhodesian Artillery.   Part of our Trafalgar Tour of France last year was visiting Omaha Beach in Normandy.   I could picture exactly what she was talking about, having seen the beaches, the bunkers, the mounted gun placements etc.  I wrote a blog last year about our visit to Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery …



Omaha Beach ..


Mounted gun placements ..


When I was young listening to tales of war from my parents and grandmothers (I never knew my grandfathers) I found them horrific but interesting .. sometimes boring as I heard the same tales over and over again.  I do miss them now .. now that there aren’t any ‘old folk’  left.  My Mum is still with us in body only, having had several strokes over the last couple of years.  I miss them.  I miss the contact.  I miss the stories from the ‘old days’.  I miss my Dad.  I miss my Mum. 🙁

4 Replies to “I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but ….”

  1. I am sure they wouldn’t have minded knowing you could hear their story! I also love listening to the stories about the war from my Grandfather! Sending you a big hug today!

    1. There were a lot of South Africans who, although they joined the forces during the war, they didn’t serve overseas – maybe he was one of them. Peter’s dad was one of those men and he never spoke about the war either

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