Great Grandma Wise

I am in England while Pam is still back in Malaysia. The reason for my visit is my mother’s birthday. She is turning 90! Doesn’t look it, does she?

Mom is part of what has come to be called “the heroic generation”: those who fought Hitler in the last great war; many of whom died in places they had scarcely heard of before the war started. My father fought in Africa and India, running the motor pool at Cheringa in what is now Bangladesh, which was the airbase closest to the front line against the Japanese in Burma. While we were in Bangladesh ourselves I visited the cemetary where over half his regiment were buried in that conflict.

Needless to say Mom and Dad survived that war, Mom going through the Blitz in London and manning radar stations in the south. Married during the war, they were reunited after a separation of five years and began a family. I am the youngest of their three surviving children that emigrated to Canada in the mid-fifties to escape the privations of post-war England. With nothing more than courage and hope they began anew in Canada and built a life that saw all three of their children to a post secondary education that a devastating war had stolen from them. They retired back to England, and Dad passed away while we were in Germany in the mid-nineties.

All three of their children married and had children, giving them seven grandchildren. Three of those grandchildren are now married, giving them five great grandchildren. That’s fifteen people on this planet that owe their life and their heritage to this truly heroic couple. Only one of them remains, and at ninety Great Grandma Wise is still as sharp as she ever was, with all her faculties and memories intact. It has been a real delight to visit with her again.

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