Friday, November 29, 2013

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder …1944

This grainy picture is me, age11, and Ron, one of the many British sailors that our family entertained during WWII. He had just arrived from Boston’s naval yard where his ship was docked and I was the official greeter for that day.

The boys usually came in pairs but a few of them practically lived at our house and they often came out alone …hopping on the train just as soon as they had leave.

PTSD did not officially become a diagnosis until 1980 but I will never forget how it affected our lives that lovely spring evening.

We lived in a big old house with a large screened-in porch attached to the back. On the night that I recall we had opened the big window that looked out on the porch in order to get the air to circulate. Ron had chosen a chair near the window and the rest of us were scattered about the room just chatting and enjoying his company.

All of a sudden a car backfired right in front of our house . It was very loud and I think we all flinched but suddenly we realized that Ron was no longer with us. Where was he? What had happened?

My mother was the first to act and she rushed to the porch to find Ron crouched on the other side of the window, shivering and covering his head with his arms. He had instinctively jumped through the window to find safety and it had been so quick that we literally didn’t see it.

When we realized what had happened our dad told us to stay where we were. An hour passed before Ron and mother came back in. It was just one of many times that my mother would give comfort to those boys tha we came to love.


Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Years ago, the term might have been referred to as shell shock, and surely the effects were not as recognized as in later years, but evidently quite prevelant even before now.

4:05 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

That's so sad. War is not glorious.

4:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is often not recognised, even today, is that civilians also suffered, including children.
My wife, who was a child during WW2, was buried in the ruins of her home during an air raid on London, she still cannot stand the sound of fireworks: and for a time I was afraid of clouds after a factory next to my school was hit by a V1 rocket which resulted in clouds of thick black smoke. I knew quite a few children who suffered nervous disorders.

7:36 AM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

One of the many ugly effects of war...:(

3:10 PM  
Blogger possum said...

As a kid in the Middle East, I lived thru a small revolution... it only lasted a few weeks, but to this day, I freeze when I hear a plane coming in low near my house. It took years to not be afraid when the crop dusters flew over. And now the navy is practicing landings and take-offs at a base 25 miles away.
I don't jump thru windows, but I hesitate in whatever I am doing, mentally tell myself where I am and try to convince myself that all is OK.
I ducked under the kitchen table the first time a crop duster went over the house. That was real cute.
PTSD is real and so much worse for those who have faced combat - or worse, have lost their buddies or been wounded themselves.
Good post. Love to read about your experiences.

3:48 AM  
Blogger ellen said...

Oh, Ginnie. How can anyone ever expect someone to come out of a war without scars?

1:16 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

War is so terrible in so many ways. Glad that your family gave comfort to those who served.

4:44 AM  

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