Just about every day we are privileged to hear from a Grand Lady who personifies our Western civilisation.
Liz of Vic has lived the range of experiences life can throw at us - from sublime joy at life's new creation to its extinguishment in Hitler's industrial extermination factories.
I am so grateful to have Elisabeth in my life.
Thank you to Liz and to all our friends here who share their wisdom in the hope that we might learn.
Here's Liz with some memories triggered by the Centenary of the great battles of the Western Front - and the war that followed the War to End All Wars.
Lest We Forget.
During this time, when we look back and remember the first World War, I always have to think back to WW2.
Yesterday I thought back to May l995, when I happened to be living in Holland for some time. I lived in the apartment of my brother, who was apprenticing for his priesthood in one of the Churches, where he also lived.
It was a two-story apartment, My sister lived downstairs and I lived upstairs. There was a stair-case in between.
Josee and myself were having lunch one day, when we heard the sound of many planes coming over. It must have been nice weather as we had the balcony-doors open, we both became quite agitated and felt creepy, as the planes continued to fly over.
Josee went to close the balcony-doors and I put on the television to see whether anything was on the news and all of a sudden it dawned on us that it was exactly fifty years ago that we were liberated, it was the fifth of May.
We also then realised that the planes, which were flying over were the Lancasters, which used to come over night after night during the earlier years of the war and during the last year. Of course it was giving us the creeps again as it had before.
By this time, we had opened a bottle of wine and talked about a lot of the events which we remembered as clearly as though it had happened the day before.
Where we had lived was close to the end of the suburb we lived in, not far away were the farmlands, where we often had to go to on our bikes to try and get some stuff from the farmers, as there was not a lot in the shops.
There was the time when we had to go a long way before we found a farm who still had some things we could buy. We remembered that day as it was the only time we got some real milk, it was pure white, I could not believe that it still existed. The milk we bought was decidedly grey, we had not seen white milk for years, it also was the day we nearly got killed.
We laughed about it, but at the time we were scared stiff, as all of a sudden planes came over when we were on the way home and they were german I could see the german cross, and they were coming over awfully low, so as we were still passing meadows and there are usually ditches along the road, I said to Josee, drive into the ditch and lie down bike and all and I will lie on top of you so they won't see you, as she was green with fright.
That is exactly what we did and it was only a minute or so later when they came over again, a few seconds later we heard shots and a long time later we got out of the ditch and we saw that our dresses were full of mud and we looked a sight. We were really more upset about the state of our dresses (of course there were no jeans then) as my mother was terribly strict and we would get into trouble, that was for sure. Anyway we had to repack our bikes as we had vegies and the valuable milk, nothing was broken, the bikes were fine so after a while we got going.
When we got home we got indeed into trouble and I don't think my mother believed the story I told her.
However the next day she heard a story, that the planes which had come over had shot some people, who were seriously wounded, we then remembered the shots and we had seen some other people, but we overtook them as we were always in a hurry.
So Ma finally believed us.
There was also the time we found a pilot, my sister had woken up early and had heard a lot of noise and shooting, we did hear that all the time at night as when the English came over to go and bomb Germany the Germans in our area were shooting at them, but Josee thought it was pretty close by and we should go and have a look before Pa and Ma woke up. We got dressed and slipped very quietly out of the house and off to the meadow and yes there was a parachute, it is amazing how big those things are, there were metres of silk and then we thought we heard somebody it was still quite dark and we kept very still and then we heard it again, then we saw where it was near some bushes something moved so we went hand in hand very slowly and it was a man, he could hardly speak, he pointed to his leg and it was in a weird position, so we then realised he spoke English, well we could understand that, and I told him that I would go and get my father and the doctor, so I ran home and my father got some clothes on and he told me to get my bike and he got on his, I went to the Doctor told him where the man was and by the time I got back My father had made the man a bit more comfortable as he had brought the blanket of his bed.
Anyway a long story cut short, my Father got a few people of the resistance and they took care of Peter, he had been the pilot of the plane and they got him to a safe place and eventually he got back to England safely, it took some months as he went via Spain, but after the war he came to see us.
We had a niece who was a seamstress, she made us blouses and slips out of the silk of the parachute, I remember that I had those blouses for years and years, you could not wear them out.
There are quite a few stories, that I have written as I always thought this war must never happen again. This is one of them.
Just thought I send you this, just for something different.
Love from Elisabeth xx
We Will Remember Them.
Lest We Forget.