Margery has vivid memories of being 14-years-old and working on the family farm in a rural English village where everyone knew everyone else. She remembers always being on high alert. In the morning, she would rise early prompted by her father to “get the cows in”. In the afternoon, she would attend school after the evacuated children from large English cities had finished their morning classes. And in the evening, she would watch the bright searchlights that strobed across the black sky like brazen northern lights searching for German bombers targeting their next drop.
It was a time of war – and of experiences that Margery will never forget. On November 11th, as she does every year, Margery will remember the selfless sacrifice of those who served to protect and defend our democracy. She will also recall the unique and extraordinary experiences that shaped her life and the lives of so many who served on the home front as a people united in the cause of freedom.
“The war was probably the hardest period in my life,” says Margery, today a resident of Tapestry at Arbutus Walk. “It was a difficult time of course. We had all our pleasures taken away, even simple pleasures like chocolate, candy or going to the movies. We also had to work very hard doing manual labour on the farm to contribute food and supplies to support the war effort.”
One of Margery’s most vivid memories of those days was being awakened by a large and incredibly loud explosion that brightened the dark sky and roused everyone from their beds. Although the family thought the munitions factory had been blown up, as bombings were constantly targeting the Liverpool port nearly 40 miles away, they awoke to discover a “giant hole” on the farm not far from their home.
Several years later, Margery left the farm for nursing school where she worked hard to become a nurse. While she takes tremendous satisfaction from the care she provided and the fact that she had the priviledge of caring for many, she will never forget the experience of working with the wounded and dying. “There were horrific diseases and injuries I saw which put me under a lot of stress. But I was able to take care of many people and make a difference in the lives of so many.”
One of her most beloved memories of those days is dancing in the streets on VE (Victory over Europe) Day. She recalls joining the American troops, dancing up a storm, watching movies and eating chocolate – things that had been so rare during many years of hardship and war.
Like many who lived during the war years, Margery has no complaints and is thankful for how the challenging experience shaped her life and perspective. “Living through a time like that reminds us to be grateful for the little things in life,” she says. “Getting to wake up in the morning and have a cup of coffee or tea is a simple blessing. A true joy. We should always remember not to take things for granted.”
On this Remembrance Day, we thank Margery for sharing her story of living through World War II. On November 11th, Tapestry residents and employees will together observe two minutes of silence to honour those who served – and continue to serve – to protect the freedom and democracy we all hold dear.