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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Lamb to Mother Ryan, Pap, and Stub, 1945

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Object ID: WV0362.4.002

Description: Lola H. Ryan's friend "Lamb" writes to Ryan's family, thanking them for a birthday card they sent and expressing how much she value's Ryan's companionship. "Lambie" also discusses being on on night duty for five separate wards, including a psychiatric ward for prisoners of war and one for amputees.

Creator: Lola H. Ryan

Biographical Info: Lola H. Ryan of McGraw, New York, worked as an operating room nurse in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II.

Collection: Lola H. Ryan Papers

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Full Text:

Dear Mother Ryan & Pap & Stub,

Thanks so very much for the lovely Birthday card. It was swell of you to remember me. You don’t know how much it means over here to know that the folks at home are thinking about you.

I don’t know whether Lola is writing to you tonight, but if I don’t enclose it in one of hers, I’ll send this letter along by itself. It will probably be so short it will need company, but I’ll try and find a few things to say. Lola has probably already told you everything but maybe you can stand to hear them over.

It sure seems a long time since my birthday last year. So much has happened since, but I too am looking forward to celebrating another like it. I’ve intended for a long time to write you a few lines but by the time I’ve written home and to Bob every few days, and answered the letters I’ve received, I’m still behind on my correspondence.

I’m in my glory again— on night duty. But it isn’t too hard so far. I’ve got 6 more nights of my 2 week term to serve. Lola & I had four nights on duty together before she finished her night duty. I have 5 wards but a good ward man on each, so I don’t have to worry much about how things are going on them.

Each ward is a separate building and they are nearly to the top of the hill. I think they figured I needed exercise, and I sure am getting it. But I can’t see I’m losing any weight as a result. I guess if I don’t lose on this food and these nightly tours up & down the hill, it’s a hopeless task.

One of my wards is a locked psycho ward like State, having only 10 patients, all P.W. [prisoners of war] except one. That’s quiet most of the time. In addition I have 4 surgical wards; one just amputations. But most of the boys in spite of being in bad shape are optimistic and in good spirits. I don’t see how they do it. Many of them have only been overseas a couple months. It seems strange to see P.Ws caring for them when other Germans were responsible for their conditions. It sure is a queer war.

I sure am glad Lola & I are still together. Being overseas is bad enough, but it sure would be a lot worse without her. I don’t know what I’d do without her. I can always count on her being able to understand, no matter what happens. I never thought I’d be lucky enough to stay with her so long. It’s been wonderful.

A few days ago I got a letter from my brother Bob saying he was in Germany. It doesn’t seem possible, but he’s only one of thousands, I suppose. All I can do is hope & pray he gets back safely. But it’s sort of hard at times.

I can’t find much else to say, but I guess I’ve filled a few lines. Might as well fold it up & send it on its way. If it goes by itself it will be just one more letter from overseas for you, and I know you look forward to them. Don’t feel that you must answer this individually. Lola shares her letters with me, so you see you write to us both each time.

Like you, I wish we could have a real visit, but until we can, I guess we'll have to depend on paper.

Love, Lambie

P.S. Tell Pap I've decided to wait until I get back to McGraw to indulge again. Then I can make use of his cocktail shaker. Until then I'm a tee-totaler. I learned my lesson- and how!!

Hope you don't mind my salutation. But I look on you all as my adopted family & home. And I sure do miss you and it.