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Date: March 28th 1944

MARCH 28, 1944

Dear Bernice:

I hate this slippery paper, but then I'm slippery myself today. Our chief nurse, Major Knights, is typing away here in the office, and I sneak behind her to write this 'missile'. Had morning time, and have just come off duty. Not much doing. Had my hair done this morning, and as usual combed it out immediately. It's sure getting grey, and I'm getting fat. However, I hope to shave down a bit. I rented a bicycle, and am trying my luck at that again. Last Wednesday after supper had quite a jaunt. Last week, we (about twenty of us) went to the same town where I spent my five days last summer, via truck. Spent the afternoon. Some golfed, some played tennis and three of us had our bicycles along. Nice shady roads, and little traffic. Even with the little traffic and not a thing on the road, I found my carcass on the side of the road. Wish you could have seen the bruise on my hip. One would think I was a battle casualty. I am getting three days off next month, and going again. Can't stay away as we did last year. It will be good not to have to get up early, anyway.

There is a great deal of talk of our unit being broken up, so any of us may be picked at any time. We have too many nurses according to the War Department. Thirteen have to go, but where no one knows.

Had letters yesterday from both Win and Helen. They seem to be having a good time. Win sent me a snap of she and her latest. She looks years younger. She said Helen said they had never lived up until now. They expect to move soon. Helen said, 'Can't win the war sitting in Australia.' Win said her nephew Roy Brown (Captain) is in Italy now.

Had a letter from DeMille yesterday. She said she had sent me a package. 'I hope it isn't tablecloths. I've got enough tablecloths now.' She said she didn't know who told me about Papa needing an operation. Said it was not so. So what?

I am very anxious to hear about your trip to Montreal and Eva's doings. Haven't heard from her since last summer.

Oh yes, just about forgot. I was promoted to 1st lieutenant today, but orders are as from March 22. Salute me. I have been kidded a lot about getting the promotion just because I was night supervisor, and have been and am now working in the office. Today all unexpected, eight-thirty a.m. to be exact. We were called to the Colonel's office, and the bars pinned on. Boy, were my knees shaking. Going downstairs Miss Knights said, 'Now, when he calls your name, step up and salute; when he finishes his speech, shake hands and salute again.' Well, I got all beflustered and forgot to salute first; however, I did manage the second salute and handshake. He said, 'Lieutenant Charman, I know all about you, back where you were a good obstetrical nurse like myself,' ha! He, by the way, was an outstanding obstetrician and I did work for him some. He is now, and was then, as gruff as anything I ever saw. So now I wear the silver bars (the gold ones were much prettier). Had a bouquet from the florist left in my room this morning by one of the nurses, and one gave me an extra set of bars. They are hard to get, and one needs so many so as not to have to change so much. There were five of us promoted today. After the ordeal, one of the nurses said, 'I have something for you in my room.' It was two sets of old silver bars which a Captain Bailey (6th General) gave her before he left here a short while ago for the USA. Told her he felt I was going to be promoted, and wanted her to give them to me when and if. I took care of him partly on the ward. He had a bad time. Had a ruptured vertebrae, with operation for it and many complications. He also was my dentist. He left here for home on a stretcher, and so thin and emaciated. I felt as though I had been hit in the stomach, and could have wept buckets when she told me. I got the bars this afternoon. They are old, and he wore them when a 1st lieutenant. We all hated to see him go home. I read a letter this afternoon one of the doctors received from him, and he seems to be doing very well back in the USA. I thought it very thoughtful of him, and appreciate it no end. Got his address today, and will write him.

Just had Gladys send me three sets of 2nd lieutenant bars. So will now give them to my roommates. Now, after this splurge, I'll say the weather is delightful. The days getting very warm.

Will now say adieu, and write up my report. Almost time now to go off duty.

Love to all, Frank