Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Some postwar memories aren’t as good as others

Chub had completed several months of duty in Flint, Mich., and was home on leave before he received a new assignment. "Come with me to Boston, and we can wait together," he said.

We stayed the first week in a small hotel within walking distance of the old part of Boston and then rented a less expensive furnished room with shared kitchen and bath privileges. Several other Coast Guard and Army couples lived there - 44 people in all. I helped the manager, Fanny, tuck in the sheets on our bed, and as she left my room, she said, "This second-floor room looks out onto the ‘real’ ocean! Water will splash your front window on stormy days." As she left, she pointed down a long, dark hallway and said, "The kitchen and bathroom are down there."

Soon I met Millie, an Army officer’s wife. She had two children, a Southern accent and a car! They lived in the first floor’s more complete quarters, and her husband was studying Japanese at Cambridge University - very important for post-war communication!

Millie and I had a lot in common, and the day that some fishermen arrived with their catch, we began to plan a trip. We went to Nahant, Mass., about 10 miles away, to see how to fish from a very high, vertical bluff.

Our new tackle consisted of heavy, waterproof line, weights to carry the line out away from the vertical bluff and large fishhooks. I knew how to wind rescue ropes and used the same technique in winding the fishing line - sort of like a cowboy would wind a lariat. Millie was helping Lucy get safely placed for her self-entertainment. I planned my throw, held the rope loops in my right hand and stood on the knotted end. I swung with all my might.

Wham! The coils of rope were tangled at my feet, and something was hurting behind my right knee. "Stand still, Sue," I said to myself. "Plan! Don’t tell Millie until you have a plan."

The big hook hung from my right leg! What a mess! The hook had caught the loose flesh behind my right leg, and I couldn’t move! I called for Millie, and she took one look and said, "Your slacks will be ruined! Sue, you’re hurt." She turned white as a sheet when she realized where the hook was lodged. I said, "It doesn’t hurt until I move." We both realized we were on top of that tall, stony point, and we had Lucy! I could have cut my slacks with my sharp pocketknife - but it was in the wrong pocket.

I assured her I was not hurting. I couldn’t possibly reach with my only free hand, so she got my knife and helped me saw back and forth, endlessly. Finally only a scrap of green wool was trapped against my leg. That was great relief. Now what?

Millie’s color gradually improved as we planned. We packed up toys, tackle and Lucy. Millie knew of a small hospital in a town nearby. Lucy was a wonderful trouper. We got down to the car, loaded things and headed for that small hospital. I limped into the receiving room, where a nurse and a young man in white helped me to a tall table. He tried to back the hook out. "No!" I screamed. "Cut the hook in two pieces." He spoke not a word to me but asked the nurse to go for some kind of grinder. "No! Cut the fishhook in two halves!"

I took a piece of paper and demonstrated cutting the middle of the fishhook so that both halves of the hook would come free with no pain. The nurse came back with a cutter and snipped that heavy fishhook on the first try. A bit of alcohol and a bandage and I was ready to go. No one even thanked me for the lesson in fishhook removal.

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