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Waving the Flag of Victory

Waving the Flag of Victory
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Hi there. It’s me, typing again on my very ownsome!

For the last two weeks, I’ve been too ill to manage, so my wife kindly acted as a secretary — another of her many talents! I apologize for last week’s rather gruesome outing, but trying to stick to the truth of this disease ain’t always easy!

Suitably I’ve got a Glenn Miller medley blaring in my ear. May 8 was the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, or V-E Day.

Our neighbors across the road knocked on quite a few doors and tried to drum up a street party of the individual front-garden variety, though we deal with our very own virus war.

Notice the Homburg worn in spirit! (Photo by Jane Davies)

A few households joined in and my wife threw herself into the gaiety, printing loads of Union Jacks. I mumbled that USA and USSR flags should be thrown in, but rather sotto voce (quietly) as that would only complicate matters. As it happens, for diplomatic reasons, we all have subsequent V-E Days anyway. I discovered this that night while listening to my favorite historical podcast of the moment.

I’m 62 and this was the first time I ever even attempted to join a British street party. (For some reason I missed the 50th anniversary of V-E Day, though I have no idea why.) We’ve had any number of street parties over the years but these have invariably been monarchist-based and I’m a staunch Republican. Before some of my American readers get too excited, being a Republican in the United Kingdom means being against having a monarchy. If you’re a Republican in Ireland, that’s even more complicated, if not sometimes frightening! I wonder if there are many other English words whose meaning change so much by mere geography?

The rest of the family pitched in to dig out a portable table, tablecloths, and a surfeit of true ’40s fare. The people at the time allowed this one day of celebration because the nation still had the gruesome task of dealing with the Japanese theater. Many felt they couldn’t join in because they had lost loved ones or were still waiting to hear about those Missing in Action.

I even broke my vegan diet and ate a tinned-sardine sandwich, which I felt was in the spirit of the day anyway. There was also a pillar of egg sandwiches (my favorite), but as they’re one of the worst foods to eat for those of us with MS, I managed to, just about, control myself. As eggs were still heavily rationed in the U.K. at the time (one fresh egg per week), I felt truly justified!

My own fight of the last two weeks has also taken it out of me. I’ve just fallen asleep for a couple of hours in front of my typewriter. (OK. OK, it is, of course, a laptop. But where’s the ’40s romance of being a Hemingway-style war reporter in that?)

I hope my own small battle is now over.

I’m happy to report that London is at peace.

***

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

In the ‘80s, John created the first regular column about the burgeoning London stand-up scene. In 1990 he wrote a book about its effect on the Edinburgh Festival: “Comics: A Decade of Comedy at the Assembly Rooms.” That year he also devised and ran a live topical stand-up team show at The London Comedy Store, The Edge. (It was destroyed in 2020!) In 2009 John was diagnosed with RRMS, which cut short his main job as a TV casting director for “Black Books,” “My Family,” et al. Now, John writes “Fall Down Get Up Again,” an irreverent journey with MS, and also serves as MS News Today Forums co-moderator.
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In the ‘80s, John created the first regular column about the burgeoning London stand-up scene. In 1990 he wrote a book about its effect on the Edinburgh Festival: “Comics: A Decade of Comedy at the Assembly Rooms.” That year he also devised and ran a live topical stand-up team show at The London Comedy Store, The Edge. (It was destroyed in 2020!) In 2009 John was diagnosed with RRMS, which cut short his main job as a TV casting director for “Black Books,” “My Family,” et al. Now, John writes “Fall Down Get Up Again,” an irreverent journey with MS, and also serves as MS News Today Forums co-moderator.
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2 comments

  1. Just reading Stephen Ambrose’s D-Day book, and I discovered where all of those extra eggs went during WWII. On D-Day, the infantry were all fed sausage and eggs (and the little tot of rum) for breakfastbefore being herded into the landing craft. Results as you might expect – after a short time of being Jostled on the waves, guys were tossing their cookies (or eggs) right and left, sometimes on their commanding officers.So much for the sacrifices of the British people.

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