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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The United Kingdom (01/22/09)

TITLE: I Wish...
By Ruth Neilson


I still have nightmares about those dark days of the war. The siren’s screaming as the low hum of the German’s aeroplanes fill the air followed only by the whistling of bombs falling...closer, closer to the earth…followed by a great explosion that would shake the house and shatter windows.

Those nights, my sisters, and little brother would curl up with me in the shelter we had built in the backyard and try to sleep. But sleep would not come for me. Mum would spend those nights weeping over us.

That was before my siblings were sent away to the country side for their own safety. I was old enough to work in the hospital as a nurse’s aid. I had begged mum for permission to stay in London.

I was helping with the war effort! Burns, bandages, injuries, medicine soon became the drive in my life. My calico print dresses were resigned to a place within the back of my wardrobe and soon I found myself wearing the drab uniforms of the hospital. But it was worth it.

In those rare moments that I had to myself, I wept. I missed my siblings. I would see my siblings in the children who didn’t leave the city and were injured by the senseless bombings of the Blitzkrieg. I would wish that I hadn’t begged to stay.

There were days that I could swear that all of London was burning. Fire and smoke danced around the River Thames as foreign aircraft filled the sky. Children were screaming as I ran desperately through the streets, looking for survivors. Looking for Mum, but I couldn’t find her. It wasn’t until later when an officer found me working in the hospital that I knew. Mum was gone.

The sound of aeroplanes flying over head still terrifies me. I resist the urge to seek cover at the sound of sirens. I just wish...I just wish I had my childhood back.

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This article has been read 521 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 01/29/09
What bittersweet memories this evokes. This had to be a most terrifying and horrendous time for all of Europe, and I heard stories from German children on the other side who experienced the same kinds of fears. How awful that any child has to endure things like this. Very poignant and searing images.
Charla Diehl 01/30/09
War's impact never leaves those who experienced it firsthand. Your writing brought me smack into the life of the MC--her bravery, fears, sadness and losses. Great job of bringing a piece of history to life.
Joanne Sher 01/31/09
What atmosphere and characterization! I was completely engaged in her life.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/31/09
You painted a vivid sad picture of war days. Your ending was just the right touch.
Jan Ackerson 02/03/09
Very melancholy, and the voice is very real.

A few small errors--an apostrophe and a comma out of place in the early paragraphs, and I believe an English woman would say "garden" instead of "backyard".

You made me wish right along with your narrator, and I left this with a sad and tender heart--sign of a good writer.
Chely Roach02/03/09
This was frightening and emotional. Nicely done.
Karlene Jacobsen 02/03/09
It's difficult to imagine what wartime must have been like. However, you've painted a very good picture for me.