Waving the Flag of Victory
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.
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.
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