broken hearts, broken dreams

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Stories Galore

this story resounts what happened to numerous veterands of the second world war and how their lives were so badly muddled. this is not a true story but the instances of veterans living on the streets and nevr being able to continue a productive life are numerous in number.

Broken Hearts, Broken Dreams

Jack Kay

His name was Robbie, after his grandfather Robert. He grew up in a small town on Lake Huron in Ontario Canada called Wyndam. The place was named for the first settler, Jeremiah Wyndamwho after a lifetime of drinkingdied in a drunken stupor on the main street of the town. Robbie was born in 1920 at home which nothing more than a shack with a few rooms. His father was the town drunk and his mother a terrible slob, who was a chain smoker . His brother James quit school when he reached the age of fourteen. Their father Travis was a viscous man especially as he remained constantly drunk. He worked sparingly unloading trucks at various places in town and earned very little.Their mother Maggie worked in a canning factory, eventually becoming their only source of income.

Their home was a hovel with almost every kind of bug imaginable. The beds were covered in bed bugs and cockroaches roamed the kitchen.They mostly survived on a limited diet of cabbage soup and macaroni. One day their father was attacked while stumbling home and was beaten up. When he finally made it home his form of retaliation was to hit James so hard across the mouth that he broke four of his teeth andhis nose. After the incident, James recovered, eventually running away. In fear Robbie went to live with his grandmother, Nellie, she was also a boozer but somehow kept a clean home andhad a small income from doing house cleaning. His education ended in 1936 at age 16 when he he luckily found work at a town bank as a messenger. His grandmother bought him a used bicycle for his job. He found the employment stimulating and heworked very diligently.

He dressed the very best he couldon his salary of 12.00 per week and remained well groomed as well. His evenings were spent listening to the radio. Robbie had very few friends and had never dated or had any girl friends.One day he was asked by bank tellers at his bank if he would beinterested in joining the Canadian Militia, a Squadron of Engineers met atthe town armories every week. He discussed the situation with his grandmother withthe result that he attended on the following Thursday.He was signed on despite the fact he was only seventeen.He found he enjoyed the company of the other moreexperienced soldiers. The pay worked out to 7.00 per week which was paid every three months. He joined the unit in February, and in July used his vacationof one week to attend the Militia summer camp in Niagara On The Lake. He lived under canvas and learned numerous aspects of the job of Engineers during war time. When he returned to the unitin the fall he was recommended for promotion to Lance Corporal. He loved the weekly army life and demonstrateda leadership ability. He studied several manuals and passed numerous tests particularly on Military Engineers’ responsibilities which encompassedthe use of demolitions and land mines, the design, construction and maintenance of defensive works and fortifications, urban operations (hostile room entry), breaching obstacles, establishing/maintaining lines of communication, and bridging. Helearned that theyprovide water, power and other utilities, provide fire, aircraft crash and rescue services, hazardous material operations, and develop maps and other engineering intelligence. In addition, military engineers are experts in deception and concealment, as well as in the design and development of equipment necessary to carry out these operations. The official role of the combat engineer is to allow friendly troops to live, move and fight on the battlefield and deny that to the enemy.He read every book he could find with the result that he became knowledgeable.

****

His Grandmother insisted that he attend the Unitarian Church with her on Sunday. In November of 1938, many Canadian churches commemorated the end of WW1. He decided to spruce up his uniform and put a dazzling shine on his boots and attend. His attendance in uniform was met with smiles and the Pastor mentioned his attendance and congratulated him on being member of the local Militia.After the service they met in the lower hall for refreshments. It was here that he noticed a girl, who had gorgeous blonde hair and a Shirley Templeface.He was taken with her wondrous facial expression. He watched her for a few moments and then took the plunge and walked over with his cup and enter into the conversation inwhich she was surrounded by several young men. It was amazing at how she suddenly eyed him and began to speak directly to him.

" I have seen you at the Commerce bank,and my name is Kate Brown."

He was startled that she spoke to him as kindly as she did and stumbled over his response. The other young men became disinterested, as he edged up closer to Kate.They sat down smiling at each other . He was taken with her beautiful face , it was unblemished and her teethwhite and perfect. she asked him about his army career.She told him she was working part-time at the Woolworth store, while attendingnight school classes at the secretarial academy. He praised her for continuing her education.

They were interrupted by her father whom Robbie recognized as a Deacon at the church. Her father was dressed in ablack suit that had seen better days and he hadserious look on his face.He waited in silence as Kate finished the conversation.Robbie bid her goodbye and she moved away from him, He walked to the exit. thinking 'I sure would like to see that girl again'. She then appeared from no where quite breathlessly handed him a small slip of paper. It said: ' Nice to meet you, would like to see you again , my phone number is 22325 or at Woolworths on Friday of Saturday. . Robbie felt a surge in his loins which he knew would be noticeable and so he sat waiting for his Grandmother.

In the weeks following his meeting with Kate he saw her at the store and had a hot dog lunch with her. Within a very short time Kate and Robbie were hiding in corners and dark placesto kiss and hug. He was in paradise, she was in love.He got her to go the portrait studio for a picture. After several weeks of back room hiding they were caught by her mother! Kate was ordered by her father to stop seeing him , with a stern warning that their machinations could lead to serious trouble. They became even more secretive. His grandmother knew what was happening . She let them sit in the front livingroom when both could get away. Kate pretended she was going to school , but they met at his place. Finally they decided to get married, before they went further with their love making.The idea was discussed with Robbie's grandmother. She said she would call them first and tell them that their affair was now unavoidable. She also went on to say that Robbie was a good man and had a very good position in the Canadian Militia.

Robbie could see byactivity at the armories that war was on the horizon.There was a sudden influx of modern equipment including a new battle dress.They had been using trucks that were very old , but shortly new GM vehicles began to arrive. Several of the men in the unit were promoted including Robbie. In mid July he went for a week to summer camp in Niagara on the Lake , several regular force Engineers attended. The members of his unit were given advanced training, but were not requested to join up withthe active forces as yet. When he returned home, he was unable to get in touch with Kate. He asked at Woolworths and they were devious about her whereabouts.He askedaround with the result that he found out she had been forced to go to her uncle's house in Toronto . He took time off of work, to find her. Before going he visited with the adjutant of his unit.

"If you need to make some phone calls, or get information you can use the Trunk line" he was told.Robbie was thankful for assistance. He was able to obtain the phone number of Kate's family in the Toronto area phone book. He called but they refused to speak to him or allow Kate to speak.He was just beginning to give up when, his grandmother called to say Kate had telephoned to say she was going to attempt to escape the next night and would he be at a park near where she was living at midnight. Robbie asked around for help with a car . It was quickly forthcoming.

She had stolen out of the house and it was not before the next morning that they realized Kate was gone. She met Robbie and the driver at midnight and they drove back to Wyndam with the young couple joyously lavishing kisses with hugs onto each other. Next came dealing with the problem and where she was going to live.

****

The law regarding persons under 21 was difficult to overcome at that time.Robbie's grandmother told him that it was not a good idea to move in with her. The next best thing would be to just elope. She made arrangements to help get them a license at the city hall in Forest , Ontario a few miles away. He took a leave of absence from the bank and with what money he had saved they bought some wedding clothes and visited the office of theJustice of the peace. They were told they had to wait 48 hours after making application for a wedding to take place. A blood test for some reason was also required at that time.

He took a room at a Bed and Breakfast house in Forest. The owner was very suspicious of them. He said he was going to Europe and they were to bemarried. They did not sleep together at Kate's insistence. He slept on the floor.

The next evening they were able to officially get married. They stayed another night in the Band B but the marriage was not consummatedby the first act of sexual intercourse , simply because Kate pulled away several times when he attempted entry.

He was surprised but he hoped the situation would change and put the matter up to the fact that Kate was still quite young. When they arrived on the bus from Ajax, her parents werethere to meet them. His grandmother had spilled the beans. They shouted at him and Kate right in the terminal which was a local restaurant called 'Foggies.' Her father said he would have the marriage annulled because they were underage.

By now Robbie was steaming mad, and confronted her father by sticking his face right up to the old man. "

"Look old man I am a soldier in the Canadian Militia and I don't need your permission to get married. Now I am telling you to FUCK OFF, and stay out of our lives."

The conversation was heard by several of the restaurantpatrons all applauded which caused Kate's father and mother to leave .The situation was for them quite dire. Their salaries would not be enough to pay for living accommodation. His grandmother said she would take care of them for a short time but she was not really equipped emotional or financially to take them on. Robbie wentto the bank to ask for more money but the best they could do was to raise his salary to 16.00 a week. It was a message that arrived to the Engineering unit that was his salvation.

He went to his weekly training session and was handed a telegramwhich stated that he was being assigned a emergency full time status in the activeCanadian Army with the rank of Corporal. He would be assisting in the training of recruits in the local jurisdiction until the training Centers were created.He had some documentation to undergo but one thing that was uplifting for he and kate was a bi-weekly salary of $72.00. He was really elated when the paymaster gave him an advance he requested of $50.00.

Next he found a small fully furnishedapartmentnear the armories. He paid a months rent and he and Kate moved in with his grandmother providing the bedding and he purchased groceries with the balance of the money. He gave notice at the bank and suddenly they wanted him to stay and offered more money. He also found out that he was entitled to 100.00 as vacation pay. Both he and Kate were feeling really good about themselves .Kate kept her job at the Woolworths three days a week.He still rode his Bike to the Armory. It was however still a problem for them in bed. They had not consummated their marriage. Kate was always very sorry that he was unable to make penile entry but she was so frightened that she pulled away. He made an appointment with one of the Doctors in town to see if therewas a remedy. Kate was totally embarrassed by the her visit. The Doctor explained the way for her to meet the challenge but did not venture any real method to overcome her fears. He did not tell her that the problem emanated from her mother who warned her from an early age about the sins of sexual intercourse. The fear that was generated was also by her father who frightened her.

Within a few weeks of the young couple getting settled the war broke out. Robbie was busy from morning to night with new recruits. He made sure he took the weekends off with an effort to fulfill his marriage obligations. His CO(Commanding Officer) told him that by January of 1940 the unit would be moving to Camp Borden near Barrie Ontario. New soldiers were pouring in especially to his Armory. Training sessions were now going on almost 24 hours a day. The new recruits were living under canvas with the result that there was a lot of complaining . It was a very unhappy situation and without proper clothing and accommodation the entire camp was relocated at the end of October to wooden barracks left over from WW1 in Brockville several miles from Wyndam.It meant that the training staff had to move as well. He rented a cabin at a roadside Inn near town.Kate quit her job and took up housekeeping in the cabin.

They were still unable to copulate, and Robbie was growing very frustrated. He spoke to a few of the married men in the unit and they told him to get a lubricant. Kate told him he was just too big to make entry. She did learn to hold him but quite often he ejaculated. An older man whom he knew that was married for a long time suggested they try the position from the rear known as "doggy fashion'. It did work slightly but he could not get all the way in and Kate screamed and cried. He approached a Army Doctor who told him she needed to have a small operation to remove the blockage by the hymen. She would not have any part in that. Finally he just covered himself in vaseline and holding onto her pushed himself in to her vagina causing her to wildly thrash about and push him away. They did not speak for two or three days,He was busy with his job and she was stunned by his ruthlessness.

***

They sat down to discuss their problem. She was remorseful but also very angry at his efforts to enter her which she address to him as being arape. It was after this meeting that she packed her clothes and he put her on a bus to go home.For all intents and purposes their marriage was over. But they did not seek annulment or any other legal method to terminate the marriage. She continued to receive a monthly payment known as marriage allowance. He moved on with his military career , but he became quite bitter. His usual smile and banter ended because of the breakup of his marriage. His grandmother told him it was better that way because she was never going to be ready to commit to the act.

They never did contact each other and by the winter of 1940 he was sent along with other Engineer battalion members to Camp Borden near Toronto. He worked very hard sometimes for eighteen hour days. They were called upon to do every aspect of training . He was constantly called upon to lead platoons in building pontoon bridges small military installations.Robbie was the first call NCO for assignments. He could be trusted to complete all training and to lead other men in militaryexercises. It became no secret that he was up for promotion to Sergeant and by late winter he was given his three stripes .

It was not long before he was on his way to Britain for further training with the Britishat Brixton in the South of England. He along with twoofficers and three other NCO's were selected. He was to leave in early summer by ship from Halifax. He made an effort to see Kate but it was fruitless.He sailed from Halifax on the American Liner the "New York." It was a poor voyage for him because of the terrible weather. They arrived and took up residence in British Armybarracks which proved to be very old and decrepit. The food was poorly prepared and he suffered stomach cramps, developing asevere bowel disorder . He began to lose weight until he had a discussion withtwo Brit engineers in the Mess and found out that they ate most of their meals at a pub close by. He never touched another meal atthe base until the full battalions of Canadians arrived in 1941. He was now 21 and a full Sergeant.

He was now involved with intensetraining but he did try and attend somedances put on by the local town's folks at the localdance hall . It was there that he met Bonnie Ives . She was a member of the new Woman's Army where she was a stenographer for the Adjutant. Some how she reminded him of Kate. She was a rather short nicely shaped girl from the British midlands. Her hair was sandy blonde and it was her smile that captured him. She questioned him after the second dance with her about his maritalstatus and he explainedin a carefully wordeddialogue that he was separated.

Bonnie laughed very long and very hard and he was surprised.

"I have heard that so many times that it just makes me laugh. You Canucks are all a bunch of liars, never really telling us the truth."

She then walked away from him. He sat down and lit up a smoke , his new habit.It a few weeks before he saw her again and she was with a RAF Corporal. He got up enough nerve to ask her fora dance and she took his hand.

"I remember you." she said with a broad smile.

"Yes , I was telling you the truth, my wife left me 6 months ago, just before I shipped out."

"Well thats a new one on me" shesaid and giggled.

They were now dancing very close together Robbie felt really amorous, with a result that he leaned over and kissed her on the lips. She kissed him back. He was now quite erect. The closer they danced the more he became aroused. She could now feel him through his pants and pulled away momentarily. But then pushed herself back and held him against herself. The RAF chap had now arrived in front of them.

"How long you going to be Bonnie" he asked in a kind of drunken voice

"Sit down Johnny, I will be there soon."

But they kept on dancing with both of them hugging each other. The were hardly moving on the dance floor and other couples pushed them, The band took a break with the result that they stayed on the floor just kissing and with their arms wrapped around each other.

"Get a room" someone yelled. Robbie took her hand and they headed to the exit. He didn't know where to go, but she did and led him to a nearby park. They bothhad a rain coats which they had taken from the cloakroom. She found a small pavilion with a very dark interior. There was a wooden floor . She spread her coaton the floor and he used his as a cover. They began to fornicate and it was absolutely glorious for both of them. Robbie could can speak afterward and his new friend was breathing so hard shethought she would collapse. They laid beside each other for several minutes until Robbie lit up cigarettes for them. This was a turning point astheir intense love making continued for several months until Robbie's unit was sent for the invasion of Sicily.He wanted like anything to see Bonnie again. They both knew t here was no use in any entanglement at that time , because he might no come back. His training in Britain carried on through 1942 and in early March 1943 he was sent to Africa to begin preparation for the assault on Sicily.

***

The attack began in June when the British 8th Army with Canadian units including Robbies began the operation.Their biggest job after coming ashorewas to search for mines laid by the German and Italian troops when they fell back.Next he was sent to London on Furlough and was there for the preparation of the D day landing 6th of June 1944. The Canadians landed on Juno beach and he was in the first wave ashore in an effort to set up a perimeter and search for mines. He and two other members of his crew were pinned down in the sand for several hours. The Germans were holding fort in their brick structures firinga blistering fire causing several casualties. Finally they were able to move as the mechanized unites began to come ashore. The Engineers were supplanted with some British units with a result they were able to begin searching for mines. They found their way up the massive hilled area and came upon a number of mines that had been planted. They were still in their original wooden crates. After havingcompleted defusing them Robbie and his squad carried in through the hedges . Just as they were approaching a stone wall, the Germans began to fire on them from behind the enclosure. Two of his men were killed and Robbie was wounded in his shoulder. Robbie kept on firing with with his M-1 rifle but was bleeding badly. Luckily for him three Brits arrived and wiped out the nest and called for a medic. Robbie was very badly wounded and lost consciousness.

He did not know what happened to him but awoke in a field hospital wherehe was together with several other patients. There were quite a few Canadians and German POW's. He was very drowsy but a nurse came to tell him he was going to be the next operation for the extractionof the bulletin his shoulder. Robbie was given a dose of ether, and fell into a very deep sleep. The next thing he knew he was on a hospital ship with several otherwounded and dying service men. Robbie was in both pain and severe shock. He wa given shots but the arm was very sore. A nurse came to calm him and eventually he slept. He awoke with a terrible thirst, and he was given some ice cubes. He completely lost count of time or anything about where they were going.All he knew was that he was going back to England and then he just fell asleep.

***

He was sent to a hospital in a town called Canterbury where there were several troops that were recovering from wounds. He was having problems to lift the arm where he been shot. Despite hours of working with chiropractor's he was unable to lift his arm and was designated to be sent home to Canada. He tried to get them to change their minds but he was really unable to carry on with his job and he needed a long course of help to recover.

****

Robbie was airlifted back to Canada. He was in the Westminster Hospital in London Ontario for several months and made an effort to get in touch with Kate, to no avail. He spoke briefly to his grandmother who invited him to stay with her in Wyndham. His arm still would not heal and he could barely hold it up. He had several months rest and relaxation so he decided to head home.

His aunt arranged for a few of his friends to pick him up at the bus station and he had a a good time meeting with them. Before he could ask about his wife, his grandmother told him the story.

"I think I ought to tell you about her carryings on in town. Soon after you left she took up with a fireman named Rolly North. You know the family , they live over in Landover and his dad ran the co-op. Anyway it wasn't longbefore she was wheeling a baby buggy around downtown. About a year later she was seen at the Memorial park with another baby buggy and a little mut in hand. A month ago I saw herwith my own eyes , at the Palace restaurant and she was really pregnant. So what I am saying is that she sure found out how to do it with her fireman boy friend. Sorry to relate this news to you." she stopped and they lit up cigarettes.

Robbie began to sob, not knowing what to say. They sat smoking and drinking coffee all afternoon. His grandmother told him to get a legal divorce from Kate, but he didn't know where to start.

"You know Gram, I am permanently disabled and the onlything I know is theArmy. That means my career is over. Ihope I can get a pension at least and to be lookedafter medically. But I guess I will have to stop payments to kate especially since t he kids are not mine.

He called and made an appointment with a local lawyer Ted Jessop, who took his case PRO BONO after Robbie explained the situation.He was over joyed at that good deed by Todd and over the next few weeks, Kate was served with papers. The divorce would take a while but he could stop the payments.

He received a letter from the Defence Department which outlined his benefits. He was on leave for three months, fully payed he would then begin disembarkation leave which would last 6 months . Following that he would be eligible for retrainingin a civilian occupation. His pension would be about 300.00 a month for life.His Grandmother was very happy for him and the following month payments stopped to Kate.

He still wanted to contact Bonnie in Britain and had her family address so he wrote , detailing all the things that had happened to him. He wanted to see her again when the war was over which he felt was coming very soon. Would she like to come to Canada, he ws hoping to get a job somehow.

Robbie began going to several different stores and business in town but since he had a problem with his shoulder he was not employable. One day Gram came up with a greatidea.

"Why not try the bank, they may have a job for you after all you worked there before going overseas."

He became quite excited about a chance maybe as a messenger again, perhaps with a car .The next day he visited the bank. He was asked by the managerwhat he was planning on doing?

"I was hoping you could give me some kind of job here, I am on leave for nine months and I could work for a few dollars a week and learn to do something here and be a messenger again.

" No Robbie, we don't need anyone for that job, high school kids do that now. But how would like learningthebanking business from the ground up. You know, investments, loans, new accounts.

Robbie was at a loss for words.

"We could start you at $45.00 per week and with some benefits as well. It would be on the job training and it is clean bank work where you meet people."

He took the job with profuse thanks and his future was assured. But his trouble with Kate were just beginning!

***

His grandmother was extremely happy for him. She told him he could stay with her but he wanted his own place . Apartments were very difficult to find in town, with long waiting lists. He visited with several friends asking if they knew of a place he could rent. He was welcomed at the Canadian Legion and one night a wartime returnee mentioned that he knew someone that had converted a garage to living quarters with a kitchen, bed sitting room.The next day Robbie searched out the place in a truck he borrowed. The man was a widower who had undertaken the job during the war. The appliances consisted of a stove and ice box. The man said he could use his washing machine and that the heat was a wood stove and there was electric lighting.The bathroom had a shower stall and toilet There was no furniture but his grandmother told him would undertake to help him furnish the place.His only real problem was that it was the rent was 50.00 a month but he felt it was necessary to be on his own.

He began work at the bank , although he was still on the army rolls. He received a confirmation that he could commence a civilian occupation and that his benefits would arrive within a few months with his status being changed to reserve list.

The job he found was very interesting but intensive. For the first months he did not meet customers but learned the specifics of the job. The first mortgage eh undertook turned out to be a disaster with the paper work and he figured eh would be fired but the staffmembers who knew him and wanted to see him succeed helped him get better organized.Before long he began to get the hang of the banking profession and people started asking for him. He dressed in a suit every day , having purchased three along with shirts and ties. In t he midst of his return to a civilian life two dissimilar incidents crept into his life

His grandmother contacted him to tell him that a letter had arrived from England.He stopped in after work. The letter was from Bonnie who had writtento him:

Dear Robbie:

Actually I had intended to see you as I heard you were in Canterbury but before I had a chance, you were shipped back to Canada.I just got your letter and I was overjoyed to hear from you.Sadly I have to report that I married Johnny and he was killed on a bombing run before the war ended. I am back living with my Dad in Essex. I would be happy to join you in Canada in a minute, but I am without any funds or any way to travel. I investigated and found out that I do not meet the status of a War Bride. I am only 28 but life sure has a way of making it difficult for you. I am lucky I guess there are no children.

Please let me know if you can think of anything to bring us together.

Robbie made a trip to London Ontario to a travel agent to see if he could bring Bonnie over by ship from England to Montreal. Ocean travel so soon after the war was very expensive as wasflying. British Airways were offering a overseas flight on their new Constellations. He sent Bonnie a telegram asking when she could come to Canada although the flights were to New York. He went to the bank manager and told him the situation. He was given a loan of one thousand dollars. It would he hoped cover the flight and a train from New York to Toronto and then London Ontario.

Two days later Bonnie replied that she could come within a monthas she needed a passport which usually took two weeks.The flight alone -one way was 500.00, plus the fact she would need a hotel and the train, he could barely make it with the loan but his grandmother loaned him two hundred to make up the difference. He fired off a telegram to Bonnie , with the result that within a month she would arrive.A day after he had the good news a letter arrived telling him that his wife was taking legal action to obtain support for her and the three children!

***

After the shock wore off, he realized that in order to fight the case in court, he would have to employ a lawyer for which he did not have suitable funds to pay. His situation wasjust one of manythat veter ans had to face.His wife hired a well know London Lawyer Max Shapiro who had a record of nearly 95% wins in settlement cases he handled. Luckily for Robbie , the Ministry of Veterans affairs came to his aid after he

describedhis dilemma. A ministry lawyer named Amanda Block was assigned to the case and they met in

Hamilton , a few weeks before the trial camein Goderich at the courthouse. He explained the case to Amanda who was a middle aged well kept woman who had an enormous case load.She was shocked to learn that the children were not his and that there was absolutely no way for them to be , yet Kate insisted that he had to pay for them simply because she was his wife although they were separated.

Shapiro and Amanda had locked horns several times and she knew his antics.The case was set for January of the following year. Fortunately for Robbie, the Veterans affairs would pay for his lawyer.

****

Bonnie arrived in New York and was scheduled to take the trainthe day afterher arrival. She wanted desperately to see New York and sent Robbie a telegraph thatshe was not feeling well and wouldstay in the hotel for aa few days before try to travel. She said she was okay money-wise, saying the hotel was only 12.00 per night. She walked around sight seeing ,then had a good meal at a Cafeteria. She tried to settle in for the night in her room but decided to go to the bar for a drink.The place was quiet empty so she ordered a beer and lit up a smoke justto have a few quiet moments. Before long a young American soldier wandered over and asked if he could sit with her and buy Bonnie a drink. She agreed.He was slight inebriated. He bought her two drinks and then asked if she was staying in the hotel. She was surprised at quickly she responded in the positive. He mentioned he could buy a bottle of wine and they couldenjoy it in the comfort of her room.

Again she said yes and bought a bottle of wine over the counter for 10.00. She noticed that he had a wallet full of money! They immediately headed up to her hotel room and she changed into her night clothes and he , who he told her was named Reg slipped off he is jacket and they sat on the couch drinking the wine in water tumblers. After a while Reg began to muzzle her. He was becoming quite amorous and she knewthat they were going to have sex so she reached down and took hold outside his pants. It didn't work with the result he pulled off his pants , and leaned over to remove her panties. He was now fully erect so she pulled him onto the bed and turned around so that she was on her knees with her bottom up.He took her from the rear. Regbecame very excited and told her "oh boy thats great I lovelooking at your behind."He thrust several times, it was very pleasurable for both. He then groaned as he came falling onto the bed into a deep sleep. Bonnie washed herself and without thinking reached into his pants pocket, removed his wallet and realized it was jambed with several hundred dollars. She took the money , dumping it into her purse, grabbed her loose clothing from around the room , packed her suitcase and quickly left .

She left thehotel by an emergency exit , hailed a cab, asking the driver fora reasonable hotel near a shopping area. He took her to the President hotel and she checked in, hoping to stay two nights. That day after a rest she headed out to replace her wardrobe with the stolen money. She had nearly four hundred US dollars. Bonnie shopped in the larger department stores , buying sweaters, blouses, slacks along with every other garment and woman's underclothing she could. She began to throw away many of the items she had brought from England. By the timeshe had finished she had spent over 300.00 and filled two new suitcases . She bought jewellery as well, and a watch.She planned to leave on the afternoon train the next day to Toronto and wired to Robbie that she felt better and would arrive at the Arcona station near Wyndhamthe next day. The next morning Bonnie continued her buying splurge. Filling her suitcases to capacity.She also stopped into the Parker Pen stationary shop and purchased a set for Robbie.

The next day she took a cab to the train station, exchanged her open ticket alongwith cash fora sleeping compartment with meals. The train left in te early evening,She spent a very comfortablenight , eating a very hearty breakfast arriving in Toronto at noon . A porter took her bags to the track for the departure train to her pickup point. It was a very slow train but she enjoyed looking at sceneryof her new home.. Finally she arrived and had her suitcases taken out hoping to see Robbie.They both hugged and kissed when they met, Bonnie cried like a baby when Robbie gave her a bouquet of roses. Robbie had come with Danny his friend who owned a GM truck and they piled Bonnie's two trunks which she had sent ahead and her huge suitcases in the back. Arcona was thirty miles from Wyndham . They arrived just at dinner time and had lunch in Gloria's diner which Bonnie found repulsive.

'Is this the Ritz in Wyndham " she said laughing

Robbie was embarrassed but kept his cool, Danny laughed, while thinking wow this dame is a real piece of work.They headed to Robbie's garage abode.When they arrived Bonnie walked into the garage, thinking it was the storage place for her trunks and suitcases. She then had a walk around and realized that this was where she going to be living.

Before she had anything to say Robbie realized she was growing very angry.

"This is only temporary until actual housing is available" he said waving his hand around.

She remained poker faced, glancing around with a look of disdain at the limited furniture and the facilities.

Suddenly the long day along with her disappointment unleashed itself upon her , she completely went berserk screaming invectives at him, unleashing a tirade of expletives such as "I have not journeyed across the Atlantic to live in a pig stye". He was non plussed at her vicious anger, which frightened his friend Danny who raced for the outside door. She spoke rapidlysmoking all the while one after another.He tried to wait until her invective was over but she kept shouting and then began to pick up items and throw them, at the walls.

He had enough , and interrupted her and shouted" We can live with my grandmother until a regular apartment is available. She stopped immediately, took hold of one of her suitcases and replied "lets go then before I throw up." Danny was waiting and they headed to Robbie's Grandmothers after they reloaded Danny'struck with her travel items. . Robbie realized he had made a terrible mistake importing a wife to Canada.

***

Bonnie met Robbie's grandmother , liked the house and began to settle down. Robbie's Gram noticed that Bonnie had a very large wardrobe of newclothes with the original price tagsstill on them. She spoke to Robbie quietly wondering how the Bonniehad enough money for New York fashions when she implied she was poverty stricken and couldn't pay to come to Canada.Gram discussed her suspicions one day at a drugstore where they met for lunch.

" She sleeps until noon everyday and I am sick of making breakfast for her at that time. But I am still in the dark how she purchased all those clothing items in the states."

"Got me on that one Gram, she wired me that she was broke and I would have to pay, if I had decided to bring her over. I still can't understand how she paid the extra for the hotels."

The answer to their questions was not long in coming.

Robbie was visitedat the bank by a constable of the local RCMP detachment one day . He asked if they could meet after Robbie finished work. Later Robbie met the RCMP Constable Fred Smytheat the coffee shop next to the bank.

He began in a very quiet vocal tone."I believe that you have a visitor from Britain who arrived about twomonths ago. She passed through New York city before coming to Wyndham, am I correct?"

Robbie nodded his head wondering wherethis was all leading

"We have received an request from the New York Police department asking if we could help with their investigation into atheft from a US Army service man whom the lady in question- Bonnie Haines invited to her hotel room at the Century Hotel, engaged in sexual intercourse for afee and then when he fell asleep rifled his wallet ,leaving the hotel without checking out. "

He sat back, stunned at the revelation. "How did they trace her to town?", he stuttered.

"The hotel had information when she checked in from her British passport which is necessary to provide for foreign visitors to the USA now. But however that is not really important for you, is she now living with you as it will be necessary to interview her. The amount taken from the solder's wallet exceeded four hundred US dollars, and since this happened to a serviceman they would like for us to question her.

When questioned the next day by the two RCMP members she denied any wrongdoing.The Federal government of Canadaordered that Bonnie be considered persona non grata ,she must leave Canada within 48 hours . Since she did not have the financial ability to pay for her return and Robbie was unable to assist, she was placed on a military North Star aircraft from Trenton Ontario to LondonEngland 3 days after the government order was carried out by theRCMP. The US solder was reimbursed by the Canadian Government andthefunds were repaidover a six month period. He felt very lucky to get Bonnie off his hands and still have his job at the bank.It was also determined that Bonnie was wanted for some crimes in the United Kingdom and an outstanding warrant had been sent after she was placed on the plane back to England. It was another setback for Robbie .

Robbie's friend Danny also helped him with few cash donations which Robbie turned over to his Gram. The court case in which his wife Kate was suing him for non support came up for trial in March 1950. Within a space of 20 minutes. Robbie's lawyer showed the judge Robbie'sservice recordwhere he had not been back to Canada 1940 to 1945, thus debunking the argument that the children were his.The case was thrown out but Robbie still had to pay upkeep on Kate until the marriage was officially annulled.

Robbie was seriously in debt and it took him nearly two years to get back on an even keel. He was moving up in his bank job and after four years he had moved up to be the assistant loans manager. Kate however would not give hima divorce , saying that she wanted a permanent payment, which was really beyond his income. More bad news occurred when his grandmother passed away in 1952 , and he discovered her house had a second mortgage, leaving him to sell the house just to pay it off and settled his Gram's estate.

He was now living in a boarding house. He did not own a car or had any possessions . His entire life was given to work and staying in his room. On top of all his daily concerns his arm began to become very painful.He tried to get help from the newly organized Department of Veterans affairs but since he was now getting a pension nothing more could be done for him.

He often needed medications at the drug store. He noticed acute cashierwho chatted him up every time he shopped or picked up his meds.Heinvited her for coffee one day . Her name was Mary Beth Williams. They met several times and Robbie felt that things were finally lookingup for him.She was from aver y staunchreligious family, and saidthey would need to begin to go together to church every Sunday. She introduced him to her parents and for some reason which was way beyond his under standing they took a dislike to him. He just could not understand why he was not liked He began to notice that they were impolite and he mentioned it to Mary Beth, she explained that they he was ill bred. Her father repeated certain bible tracks to her about low class people. Robbie became very frustrated and decided to drop Mary Beth , considering thathe had enough aggravation without adding more to his plate.She was very upset and blasted him all over town. His friend Danny told him that he was doing te right thing.His relationship with Mary Beth ended. He then asked for a transfer by the bank and it was granted, with him moving to London Ontario to a large branch where he was the assistant loan manager. He found anew apartment near his work. Robbie made a decision to stay single. He was able to buy a used Ford car, kept it in good condition and by 1960 was able to save a portion of his salary which was nowenough to live on.

After over 15 years with the bank he was promoted to the manager of a newly opened band branch in St Thomas,Ontario near London. He was elated to have reached a position far past his dreams and he was just past age forty. It was the pinnacle of his life, but from there things went down hill.

His arm which he had begun treatment at theVeterans Westminster Hospitable in London began to become extremely painful. Suddenly he awoke one day to a complete numbness in his arm and shoulder. He made an appointment at the hospital. He w as told he was sufferingPeripheral Artery disease which was causing localized paralysis. He could not use his arm to write or type,or any other daily necessities in his living condition. The worst for him was his job which required the use of his right arm.

****

Robbie was devastated. He made arrangements to see the divisional manager for the bank. The meeting turned out badly. He was placed on a disabled list and offered a severance package for his 15 years with the bank. They could not offer him another job. He was completely disheartened.He had toleave his post , and was unable to maintain his apartment. Veterans'Affairs helped him secure a small bed sitting room with a kitchen but it was so dreary he left within two weeks. From there he wandered around each day, eating cheap fast foods and eventually he took to sleeping in his car on parking lots. His condition was described as having fallen through the cracks like many other vets.

Fortunately he was not a drinker. But he was really neglecting his health. His right arm was completely useless and he went to a medical clinic to see if the arm could be removed surgically. He was sent toa specialist.The arm was amputated at Westminster hospital where he was hospitalized for several weeks. He went back to living in his car and eating bad food.

The car would no long work but eh remained setting up a small heating system , attached to new battery . As the winter of 1965 approached he was unable to leave his car during bad winter weather often occurring in London. He survived on bottled water and junk foods, and his meds. One night in the middle of a deep freeze a police car patrolling to get street people into warm facilities noticed his car parked on t he lot and went over to investigate. Robbie was ina deep sleep in teh back seat and the police constable banged on the window in a n effort to get his attention but to no avail. He called for a ambulance and smashed a side window to get in the car. Although Robbie was wrapped in blankets he was hardly breathing. He called for backup and the ambulance arrived with two para medics carried him to theambulance. They applied a ventilator to his mouth and wrapped him in heated blankets, but he failed to respond.He was whisked to the Westminster hospital emergency r oom and with oxygen and various medical routines he began breathing on his own. His life remained in the balance for 48 hours.

****

Bernice Cohen was one of the new graduates inspecialized medicine from Western University. She had been at the hospital for a year. She was called upon shortly after Robbie arrived. Bernicehad never seen a man who was in such terrible physical condition. On top of the fact thathe had lost an arm he was undernourished, suffering from scabies, and severe blistering through his whole body. He had to be placed in isolation. He was very slow in recovering and did not speak a word as he was mostly under sedation and meds.Bernice was given the job of trying to save Robbie's life as he remainedin ICU. She brought to bare all of her knowledge in conjunction with several military doctors on the hospital staff. Every day and some nights she was faced with almost the completefailure of his body organs.The chief resident medical doctor - a Colonel Brian Masterson was not certain Robbie would recover and Bernice was assigned to other lesser problem patients as well as a continued effort to assist recovery for Robbie.

He was fed intravenously as well as small portions of ground down food, HIs body condition did begin to improve and one day he finally spoke to Bernice saying " You are wasting a lot of time on me."

She laughedand gave him a broadsmile which made him respond with a timid grin. After that he began to slowly recover . She constantly told him he must not return to his former life. He stilldid not speak very much but began to study Bernice. He saw a woman he guessed was about 35 years old (she was actually 41). he saw a person who had nice hair and a pleasant face with a nice touch of cosmetics. She was rather plain but had a beautiful brown eyes. He guessed she was of the Jewish faith because she wore a star of david which he recognizedfrom his military career.

Eventually they got him up and he walked around the corridors often visiting with other WW2 veterans. One day he was visited by arepresentative of veterans affairs and told he was eligible for a vastly improved pension and living subsidy. Physically he felt very good but he was still he heartsick about his disability. He would be unable to fend for himself whereverhe lived.

***

Suddenly one day about two months after Robbie was released , Bernice was called to Emergency and she was appalled to determine that Robbie had returned but this time he was even in a worse condition that she ever seen. Two emergency Doctors were making every effort to keep him alive. Bernice stood by as they used every medical technique possible but his circumstances were so deplorable that their efforts were in vain. Bernice realized he was nearing his end, without hope , without love and without anyone to offer him some warmth. She held him in her arms for a few minutes and then he spoke  his last words.

Softly he whispered " So long Bernice , thanks for your......" and with that he passed away.

His going left her with but one thought . What a waste of a good man  going so early and and really not caring She walked to the elevator and began to weep for him and all of the men whom had never gotten over their war time service. Later she wrote a thesis for her doctorate titled "Broken Hearts, Broken Dreams. " 

Jack Kay December 2020


Submitted: December 17, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Jack Kay. All rights reserved.

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