Click here for nice stories main menu

main menu   |   youngsters categories   |   authors   |   new stories   |   search   |   links   |   settings   |   author tools

Irene (standard:other, 1569 words)
Author: Pitter PatAdded: Jan 08 2003Views/Reads: 1999/1245Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
This story is in honor of Irene, an Alzheimer patient, whose final conversation was of memories she had made many years earlier as a WASP during WWII.

Her name was Irene. In 2001, with much regret, her husband had to put
her into a small town nursing home. Irene had Alzheimer's. She'd wonder 
off physically as well mentally and Irwin couldn't watch her 24 hours a 
day. Iowa winters were very cold. He couldn't take the chance she might 
wonder off and freeze before he found her. He loved her dearly and was 
very concerned about the quality of life she would have during her last 
days in the nursing home. Soon after he admitted her to the nursing 
home, Irwin had a heart attack. When he returned home, I took a 
casserole to him, as was the custom in our neighborhood when a neighbor 
was ill or unable to do their own cooking. During this visit, he voiced 
his concern for her and I promised I would visit her when I could and 
make sure she was being treated well. 

At my first several visits, Irene told me many stories. She and her
husband had built the local airport together on a farm field. She was 
very proud of their accomplishments. 

The last time I visited Irene, a nurse entered the room just before I
did. I watched as she patted Irene's hand and asked, “How are you doing 
today, Irene? Your blood pressure is going down a little. Are you in 
any pain?” 

Irene assured her, “I'm fine, just tired.” 

“Do you know what day this is Irene?” the nurse asked. 

“Of course, are you confused again honey? It's September 10, 1944.” 

The nurse looked very concerned when she left the room. Irene smiled
when she saw me and asked, “Do you know who I am?”  With a big smile 
she continued before I could answer,  “I'm Irene, a former WASP of the 
U.S.A. Do you know what a WASP is?” I shook my head no. “WASP stands 
for Women Air Force Service Pilots. I'm proud to say I am one of the 
first women in history to fly an American military aircraft.” 

“You've never told me that, Irene. What was it like to be one of the
first women fliers in the Air Force?” 

“Have a seat and I'll tell you,” she smiled. "I entered training at
Avenger's Field in Sweetwater, Texas on December 7, 1943. I'd never 
been away from home much, but soon became friends with Beverly Moses 
from Des Moines, Iowa. We were mid-western girls with a common dream – 
to fly aiding the war effort.” 

“Had you ever flown before joining the Air Force?” I asked. 

“Not by myself,” she answered, “My uncle in St. Louis had a plane and
when we visited him he would take me for a ride. He taught me a little 
about the controls and the basics of flying. At Sweetwater we went 
through seventy hours of instruction, just like the male cadets. 
Sweetwater was very primitive, but we enjoyed every minute. Our dreams 
of flying for America were becoming a reality. There were no paved 
runways, no fire trucks, no ambulances, no electricity, no running 
water, just jackrabbits and rattlesnakes. When it got hot, we wore our 
flight suits with the pant legs rolled up and our Urban's Turbans.” 

“What was an Urban's Turban?” I asked. 

She smiled, “An Urban's Turban was a rolled scarf we used to cover our
hair. The unit leader had to figure a way to make it an acceptable part 
of our uniform, so he named it an “Urban Turban” after the base 
commander, Major Urban.” 

“A smart man. Are you comfortable, Irene? Would you like another

“No, I'm fine,” she said. There was a short pause then she continued. 
“After graduation, Beverly and I were thrilled to find we'd be 
stationed together at Las Vegas Air Field in Nevada. It was modern 
compared to Avenger's Field. It was so nice to have electricity, 
running water, and indoor facilities again.  We were there to test 
planes for “the boys” and to fly nightly rectangle patterned watches on 
the west coast. We were to watch for approaching enemy.  Some of the 
planes were a challenge for me.  I met the five foot two inch height 
requirement for a flier, but still couldn't see over the windshield or 

Click here to read the rest of this story (82 more lines)

Authors appreciate feedback!
Please vote, and write to the authors to tell them what you liked or didn't like about the story!
Pitter Pat has 20 active stories on this site.
Profile for Pitter Pat, incl. all stories
Due to abuse, voting is disabled.
For a quick, anonymous response to the author of this story, type
a message below. It will be sent to the author by email.

stories in "other"   |   all stories by "Pitter Pat"  

Nice Stories @, support email: nice at nicestories dot com
Powered by StoryEngine v1.00 © 2000-2014 - Artware Internet Consultancy BV