Hatred Makes You Ugly

By M-J de Mesterton

Have you ever noticed that the more resentful and jealous a woman is, the more wrinkles she has? The most important age-preventing measure for your face is being a member of the Clear Conscience Club–you know, the one whose members get a good night’s sleep. When people carry around the burdens of hatred and envy, resentments and greed, these destructive inner elements inevitably manifest themselves on their faces. Here is a quote from an interview by Linda Holmes with elegant, ageless singer Darlene Love, whose work in the 1960s with music innovator Phil Spector catapulted her to fame and made her into the exploited victim of a megalomaniac who was ethically-challenged, and for whom loyalty was a foreign concept:

“I have no reason to hate him,” she says, “and I never did, because I always found that hate makes you ugly. Makes you have wrinkles. Which I don’t have.” Here, she laughed. “But you know what? That has a whole lot to do with your insides. When you hate people, it not only makes you hate that person, it gives that vibe off for everything around you. I really do believe that. So I really did try hard not to dislike him and always be the good guy, and say what I say about him and nothing bad. ‘Cause it doesn’t help.”

 

 

Geneviève de Galard, The Angel of Dien Bien Phu

Geneviève de Galard, The Angel of Dien Bien Phu, has been featured on my Elegant Survivors page for many months. This exceedingly valiant heroine and her husband live in Paris….

Here is an excerpt from a letter by the editor of Geneviève de Galard’s autobiography, William Hopanski:

Geneviève asked me to translate her recent video from the French , and you will see my translation superimposed. I ask that you share the video with as many people as possible, and especially send it to teachers of French classes in high schools and colleges near you. Geneviève dedicated many years to working with and for young people, and she hopes that her story will inspire many of them to do what they can to promote freedom worldwide.

Following is the introduction I wrote in 2010 for AUSA, delivered by a general during Geneviève’s reception and book signing in Washington. It will give you an overview of this remarkable person and the enormous challenge she overcame.

*********************************

“In the spring of 1954, with the Free World engaged in a global struggle to contain Communism, all eyes were on a French garrison in a remote northwestern corner of Vietnam: Dien Bien Phu. Fifteen thousand French Union forces were surrounded by a 35,000 man Viet Minh army, supported by a 300,000-strong supply and labor force. Hanoi was 180 air miles distant, and wounded and dying needed to be evacuated from the airstrip which was under almost constant artillery bombardment.

A young French flight nurse had flown through antiaircraft fire into and out of this hell many times. On 28 March 1954, her evacuation aircraft succeeded in landing in the dark, but ran into barbed wire which ruptured the oil tank. After daylight the disabled aircraft was spotted and destroyed by artillery. This was the last plane to land at Dien Bien Phu. She was trapped.

What follows is the story of an incredibly skillful, compassionate, courageous young woman who for 57 days, to include 17 as a prisoner of the enemy, gave treatment and hope to those men who with profound respect and affection called her “our Geneviève,” and whom the American press named, “The Angel of Dien Bien Phu.” After her release, President Eisenhower invited her to the United States where she received a tickertape parade up Broadway, a standing ovation in Congress, and the Medal of Freedom from the president at the White House. It is an extraordinary honor to introduce Geneviève de Galard, ‘The Angel of Dien Bien Phu.'”

~~William Hopanski, Editor

**********************************

Evelyn Lauder

Mrs. Leonard Lauder


Evelyn Lauder:

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), was founded in 1993 by Evelyn H. Lauder,
Senior Corporate Vice President of The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. 
Mrs. Leonard Lauder passed away on Saturday, November 12th, from magnetic ovarian cancer at age 75. Always tasteful in her personal presentation, Evelyn Lauder was elegant, beautiful and
kind. 



Click Here to Read M-J’s Main Website, Elegant Survival

Doña Juana de Castilla-León y Aragón

Don Felipe (Philip of Hapsburg) and Doña Juana 
Joanna, Queen of Castile and Aragon

From Wikipedia:


Portrait by Juan de Flandes, ~1500

Queen of Castile and León

Reign 26 November 1504 – 12 April 1555 (50 years, 137 days)
Predecessors Isabella I & Ferdinand V
Successor Charles I
Co-sovereign Philip I
Charles I

Queen of Aragon

Reign 23 January 1516 – 12 April 1555 (39 years, 79 days)
Predecessor Ferdinand II
Successor Charles I
Co-sovereign Charles I
Spouse Philip I of Castile
Issue
Eleanor, Queen of Portugal and France
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Isabella, Queen of Denmark
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Mary, Queen of Bohemia
Catherine, Queen of Portugal
House House of Trastámara
Father Ferdinand II of Aragon
Mother Isabella I of Castile
Born 6 November 1479
ToledoSpain
Died 12 April 1555 (aged 75)
TordesillasSpain
Burial Capilla RealGranadaSpain

Doña Juana, or Joanna, Queen of Castile






A myth created by her sick husband and perpetuated by her father, who was trying to issue a replacement-heir by his second wife, Germaine, that Doña Juana was “mad,” kept her from long-term power. “Juana la Loca” was very well-educated. The princess, countess and queen was an excellent student of court etiquette, dance, music, and equestration. Doña Juana–Joanna–was fluent in French, Latin and all of the Iberian Romance languages: Castilian, Leonese, Galician-Portuguese and Catalan.

To be continued….
©M-J de Mesterton

Doña Juana de Castilla-León y Aragón

Don Felipe (Philip of Hapsburg) and Doña Juana 
Joanna, Queen of Castile and Aragon

From Wikipedia:


Portrait by Juan de Flandes, ~1500

Queen of Castile and León

Reign 26 November 1504 – 12 April 1555 (50 years, 137 days)
Predecessors Isabella I & Ferdinand V
Successor Charles I
Co-sovereign Philip I
Charles I

Queen of Aragon

Reign 23 January 1516 – 12 April 1555 (39 years, 79 days)
Predecessor Ferdinand II
Successor Charles I
Co-sovereign Charles I
Spouse Philip I of Castile
Issue
Eleanor, Queen of Portugal and France
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Isabella, Queen of Denmark
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Mary, Queen of Bohemia
Catherine, Queen of Portugal
House House of Trastámara
Father Ferdinand II of Aragon
Mother Isabella I of Castile
Born 6 November 1479
ToledoSpain
Died 12 April 1555 (aged 75)
TordesillasSpain
Burial Capilla RealGranadaSpain

Doña Juana, or Joanna, Queen of Castile






A myth created by her sick husband and perpetuated by her father, who was trying to issue a replacement-heir by his second wife, Germaine, that Doña Juana was “mad,” kept her from long-term power. “Juana la Loca” was very well-educated. The princess, countess and queen was an excellent student of court etiquette, dance, music, and equestration. Doña Juana–Joanna–was fluent in French, Latin and all of the Iberian Romance languages: Castilian, Leonese, Galician-Portuguese and Catalan.


©M-J de Mesterton

Uniting the Crowns of Castile and Aragon
The marriage of Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I of Castile, in 1469 at the Palacio de los Vivero in Valladolid, began a familial union of the two kingdoms. They became known as the Catholic Monarchs (los Reyes Católicos). Isabella succeeded her brother as Queen of Castile and Ferdinand became jure uxoris King of Castile in 1474. When Ferdinand succeeded his father as King of Aragon in 1479, the Crown of Castile and the various territories of the Crown of Aragon were united in a personal union creating for the first time since the 8th century a single political unit referred to as España (Spain). ‘Los Reyes Católicos’ started policies to diminish the power of the bourgeoisie and nobility in Castile, and greatly reduced the powers of the Cortes (General Courts) to the point where they sanctioned the monarchy’s acts, and brought the nobility to their side.


The 16th Century

On Isabella’s death in 1504 her daughter, Joanna I, became Queen (in name) with her husband Philip I as King (in authority). After Philip I’s death in 1506, Joanna’s father Ferdinand II was regent, due to her perceived mental illness, as her son Charles I was only six years old. On Ferdinand II’s death in 1516, Charles I was proclaimed as king of Castile and of Aragon (in authority) jointly with his mother Joanna I as the Queen of Aragon (in name).[3] He became known as Charles V. As the first royal to reign over both Castile and Aragon he may be considered as the first operational King of Spain.

Government

As with all medieval kingdoms, supreme power–the Divine Right of Kings– was understood to reside in the monarch “by the grace of God,” as the legal formula explained. Nevertheless, rural and urban communities began to form assemblies to issue regulations to deal with everyday problems. Over time, these assemblies evolved into municipal councils, known as variously as ayuntamientos or cabildos, in which some of the inhabitants, the property-owning heads of households (vecinos), represented the rest. By the fourteenth century these councils had gained more powers, such as the right to elect municipal magistrates and officers (alcaldes, speakers, clerks, etc.) and representatives to the parliaments (Cortes).
Due to the increasing power of the municipal councils and the need for communication between these and the King, cortes were established in the Kingdom of León in 1188, and Castile in 1250. In the earliest Leonese and Castilian Cortes, the inhabitants of the cities,  commonly called laboratores  (workers),  formed a small group of  representatives who had no legislative powers, but served as a link between the king and the general population, a social mechanism instituted by the kingdoms of Castile and León. Eventually, representatives of the cities, or las ciudades, were granted the right to vote in the Cortes, often in alliance with the monarchs against the grandees or great noble lords.


The Kingdom of Castile Canting Arms

During the reign of Alfonso VIII, the kingdom began to use as its emblem, both in blazons and banners, the canting arms of the Kingdom of Castile: gules, a three-towered golden castle, masoned sable and ajouré azure.


Protect Yourself from Hospital-Acquired Diseases

 

Ginger for Colds and Flu

Eating Ginger Helps to Kill Cold and Flu Viruses

Last night we called our dear friend Sandra, who regularly visits friends in Seattle’s hospitals. She is a retired nurse in her 70s. She had been to visit a friend of hers in the hospital a few weeks ago, and sensed that there was something being coughed into the air by a patient in the general vicinity. Sandra did what she could to prevent being infected, but when she got home realized that she felt under-the-weather already. The cold that she caught at the hospital has lingered for weeks. We recommended that she take Zicam and raw ginger. We ended our conversation as she left for the store to buy those two things, and Sandra promised to let us know her status very soon–whether these two remedies work. It is best to take these things as as soon as you feel a cold or flu coming on.

This morning, I saw a recent editorial on the People’s Pharmacy entitled, “Be Vigilant to Avoid Harm in the Hospital.” It warns of  a number of bugs and maladies one can be infected with just by visiting the hospital, some of them hard-to-cure and antibiotic-resistant,  and explains precautions to take when being treated there.

©M-J de Mesterton

Edwin Newman, Elegant Survivor, 1919-2010

The brilliant, amusing journalist and English pundit Edwin Newman passed away on September 13th in Oxford, England at the age of 91. Every time I saw his books in our home library, I prayed to God that the author was doing all right and enjoying life. Mr. Newman was our keynote speaker at the English-Speaking Union World Conference in Princeton circa 1997. There, I took photos of the great television newsman speaking, and had him sign my copy of “I Must Say.” I read his hilarious, incisive book, “Strictly Speaking,” on an airplane when I was seventeen, which taught me much and enhanced my love of the language. Thank you, Edwin Newman!

When I recover from the sad news of his passing, I shall return with a couple of Newman quotations, and if I am able to locate them, some snap-shots.

©M-J de Mesterton; September 15th, 2010
Clicking on Photos Will Enlarge Them

Edwin Newman, Elegant Survivor, 1919-2010

The brilliant, amusing journalist and English pundit Edwin Newman passed away on September 13th in Oxford, England at the age of 91. Every time I saw his books in our home library, I prayed to God that the author was doing all right and enjoying life. Mr. Newman was our keynote speaker at the English-Speaking Union World Conference in Princeton circa 1997. There, I took photos of the great television newsman speaking, and had him sign my copy of “I Must Say.” I read his hilarious, incisive book, “Strictly Speaking,” on an airplane when I was seventeen, which taught me much and enhanced my love of the language. Thank you, Edwin Newman!

When I recover from the sad news of his passing, I shall return with a couple of Newman quotations, and if I am able to locate them, some snap-shots.

©M-J de Mesterton; September 15th, 2010
Clicking on Photos Will Enlarge Them

The Christmas Present, by Freddy Bloom, 1949

The Christmas Present, by Freddy Bloom

The Christmas Present, by Freddy Bloom, 1949; Illustrations by the legendary artist and cartoonist Ronald Searle: Click Here to See Larger Version–Photo by M-J de Mesterton

Singapore, Christmas, 1943, I woke up and watched them drawing back the last of the blackout curtains from the outside. This meant that soon the glaring lights that had been on all night would soon go out. I tried to stretch my legs and kicked Reddy. He did not stir, and vaguely I wondered whether he was unconscious or just sleeping the deep sleep of exhaustion. It did not really matter; in either case it would do him good.

I turned my head and looked at the Sikh who was lying next to me. Poor Mahinder Singh. When they had brought him in he was tall and strong and magnificent. Now he was tall and skinny and just very young. His beard and long, coiled hair were no longer sleek and shiny. His smooth brown skin had a greenish hue. Perhaps dark skins always turned green when fair skins turned pale.

I looked at my own hands. They were quite beautiful. Slender, smooth, and white, with nails that I had carefully bitten into a good shape.

Just as well that I could not see the rest of me–except my feet. I had seen so much of them recently. They had made us all take off our shoes as we entered the cell. None of us had stockings or socks. Who would think of wearing such things after 22 months of internment? Anyway, most of the women in Singapore had gone about bare-legged even before the Japanese came.

I thought of the silly line of shoes outside the cell. Sixteen pairs, all shapes and sizes, but mostly trompahs, native wooden-soled, one-strapped sandals. My own were real shoes, white leather with crêpe soles and they would have to last me until the war was over. I certainly was not wearing them out at the moment. Perhaps they would not fit the next time I was called out for questioning. The last time there had been difficulty putting them on. I looked at my feet again. They were white and fat and dimpled, like a baby’s. That was beri-beri. The shoes would have to fit. Everybody always made a proper business of putting on shoes when called out. It gave you a chance to do something outside the daily routine, and a chance to collect your wits and fight the blue funk that filled every inch as you thought of the questioning to come.

“We Would Show Them–but What?”

This was Christmas Day. Perhaps nobody would be taken out for questioning. What a hope! The Nips would pile it on thick  just to show us.  This was Christmas day and we would show them. This was the Kempetai, the Japanese Gestapo, and we were their prisoners. Oh well, it was Christmas Day and I was going to wash my hair.

I looked across to the w.c. in the corner. Dr. Choo was washing. He was always washing. Washing had become an obsession with him. Other things had become an obsession with him, but it was hard to know what they were for he talked so little. Of course, the Nips did not allow us to talk, but he was the only one who did not disobey them. He was scared. So were we all, but it affected each in a different way. He seemed to sink more and more into himself. The other day, when Mac had accidentally bumped into him, he had almost shrieked, “Don’t touch me. Don’t touch me. I’m superstitious.” Mac had barked back, “I’m no devil, fool.”

Mac was a dour Scotsman. Imprisonment had made him more dour, more Scottish, and somehow, more of a man. Mac was hard. Dr. Choo was not hard. He was just a hard-working Chinese doctor who had suddenly been torn from his work, his wife, and his children. He swore he did not know why. I looked at the w.c. again. Dr. Choo was using it. I looked away.

Mahinder Singh woke up. He rolled his head on his stiff neck and started to massage his body. He turned to me and smiled. “May Christmas, Memsahib.” “Merry Christmas, Mahinder.”

“Today Kismas. Today good day. Today all go home. Catch big eating.” After 75 days of the Kempetai, Mahinder was still the complete optimist. He was my friend. We had played a great joke on the Japanese. This joke was our bond; it was our strength.

Mahinder and the Mouse

They had brought the young Sikh policeman in a few days after me and they had insisted that he sit next to me during the day and sleep next to me at night. This, they reckoned, would be most degrading to the proud Sikh and to me, a white woman, the only woman in a cell with fifteen men of different races. Degradation meant nothing to me, but at the start I was a bit frightened. I tried to stay as far away from him as possible, but that was not easy, with sixteen people in a cell 10 feet by 18.

The first night we lay next to each other I awoke because a mouse had slid up between the warped floorboards and slipped up my shirt. My femininity had never included a horror of mice, but to have one scuttling round my ribs under my shirt was another thing and I sat up with a start. We had to lie so close, that this woke Mahinder, who sat up too. Just then the mouse leaped out of my bosom and scurried away. The young Sikh put his hand on my shoulder, smiled a lovely paternal smile and whispered, “Thik hai, Memsahib. It is only a little mice.”

At that point the Nip sentry on night duty screeched at us and we both lay down quickly. From that moment we were friends. We never let the Japs know. When they were near, Mahinder and I would play at being enemies, and this was the best game we had. When they beat him up, I nursed him. When I was ill, he took off his shirt at night and put it over me.

Mahinder’s greatest gesture was when he lent me his comb. The Sikh religion forbids men cutting their hair, so they all have beards and silky tresses, which often reach below their waists. The hair is then combed up, twisted, and coiled into a knot on the crown of the head and held in place with an adroitly inserted small wooden comb. Ordinarily a turban is worn. They had taken away Mahinder’s turban in case he tried to hang himself with it (they had removed the elastic from my knickers for the same reason), but had left him his comb. After we had been together for some days, he watched me trying to comb my hair with my fingers, and then, to my utter astonishment, he handed me his comb. His gesture meant a great deal.

Thereafter he lent it to me every day, but he would never lend it to anyone else. Mahinder had proved himself, as mentioned, my friend and we were wishing each other a merry Christmas. Then we both looked towards the w.c. That w.c.! How our life revolved about it. It was no ordinary toilet. It had no wooden seat, and instead of the ordinary flush arrangement, it had a tap that could be turned on fast or slow. When the bowl was full, it automatically drained itself. This was a very practical arrangement, and for a time I thought of having a similar fixture in our home in London, until it occurred to me that in England we do not use toilets for such varied purposes. In the Smith Street lockup in Singapore the w.c. was used for washing, for drinking, as well as for our basic needs.

Initiation

When they first flung me into the cell with all these strange men, I had sat for some hours until it had become imperative to catch the attention of the sentry who marched up and down outside the bars that formed one wall of the cell. Since he spoke no English, I pointed to the w.c. and then to myself. He obviously understood, for he went out and spoke to the corporal on duty, and within a few minutes a Japanese voice bellowed, “If the woman wishes to wash, drink, or pass water, there is a toilet in the corner of the cell.”

The embarrassment of the men about me was so strong that it broke through my own. When I eventually got up, each man seemed to try to disappear within himself. Now, after so many weeks, we all took each other very much for granted.

Across the cell Walter was reading his Bible. Walter was, in some respects, a privileged prisoner. He was an Englishman who had lived for years in Nagasaki, spoke fluent Japanese, and understood Japanese customs and manners. He had been our camp interpreter and done a wonderful job until he had been arrested for running a strictly forbidden radio. Now he still acted as interpreter in our urgent demands for medicines, foods, and the barest essentials of life. Most of the time his efforts were in vain, but any vaguely human touches that were ever shown us by the Nips were almost always due to his efforts. He was a deeply religious man and had somehow obtained permission to bring his Bible into the cell. As I watched Walter, he looked up and smiled.

Though there seemed to be a rule that a sentry should be on constant guard, marching up and down, passing each cell about once a minute, this had slackened considerably during the past few weeks and was only in force when higher officers were expected at our lockup. Ironically enough, the headquarters of the Singapore Kempetai were housed in what had been the Y.M.C.A. This morning the guards were all busy with their own affairs and paid no attention to us.

The First Present

Walter got up and came to me. “Merry Christmas, and here is something the postman left for you.” With care he took a little picture out of the Bible and gave it to me. It was the type of highly coloured little holy card that is often given to children in Sunday schools. Perhaps one of Walter’s children had put that particular one in that particular Bible. Now he was giving it to me as a Christmas token. I held it carefully; it was very beautiful.

And then our first meal of the day arrived. Choy, the young Chinese conscript, clanked down the corridor with a high stack of tin dishes, the size of small cake tins, and a bucket of rice. He stopped outside our cell, counted the number of inmates, slung a dollop of rice into that many tins, unlocked the small door in the barred wall, and slid all the dishes on the floor. The men sat down in the places they had occupied all day. I got up and handed each man a tin. This had been my duty ever since the beginning, when there had been squabbles. There never was very much rice.

We all ate meals with our fingers; there were no utensils. When we had finished, we waited for Choy to come back with the tea bucket. Then we lined up at the door while he poured tea (no milk or sugar, of course) into the tins. This led to difficulties and contortions, for many of them were rusted and full of little holes, and we had to try to hold the tins so that the fingers plugged all the offending holes. Since the tea was often boiling hot, my fingers used to blister, and often one of the men would hold the tin for me while I drank.

Greetings to Cicely

One of my cell-mates was a Chinese Communist called Tang, who was the head of one of the up-country resistance movements. He was short and squat and, unlike most Chinese, grew a thick stubbly beard. He was the toughest man I ever knew. No matter what the Nips did to him, he never changed his expression and never made a sound. When anybody tried to nurse him, he just shook his head and said, “Tidapa,” Malay for “Never mind.” He spoke no English. Sometimes I thought that I would rather be a white woman in Japanese hands than a Japanese woman in Tang’s hands. He was tough…and he was always the first one up to hold my tin when the tea was hot and he would tilt it carefully like a mother feeding a child.

Remembering Christmas, 1943, there is a great deal of sentiment but no sentimentality. We were a group of extremely mixed people sharing a most unpleasant experience. Some showed up better than others. As I personally was concerned, there was not a man, European, Indian, Chinese, Eurasian, or Malay, who was not thoughtful and kind and they had a great deal more than my presence to think about.

That particular breakfast differed from the others in one respect. Three or four cells down was Cicely, another woman and a good friend. They had brought her in the day after me. We had seen each other on one or two occasions since then. As far as we knew, we were the only women who had been taken from Changi Camp. While Choy poured out my tea, I whispered, “Christmas greetings to the other lady.” He did not bat an eyelid. Later, when he collected the empty tins, he growled, “She say you too.”

I was just going to the w.c. to wash my hair when there were heavy footsteps in the outer office. Quickly, we all sat down in a straight row facing the bars, knees bent, feet tucked in, and waited. We spent at least 14 hours a day in that position. To straighten your legs was considered very bad form. And so we sat on Christmas Day as we had sat for weeks before silently, all in a neat row, looking through the bars into the corridor, and then through another set of bars into the cell opposite, where a similar row of miserable beings faced us. The thing to do was to wiggle into a position where the gap between one’s bars coincided with the gap of the person opposite and one had a clear, if not large, view for signalling.

Sign Conversations

Opposite me sat Perry. We had known each other before the war in Penang, where we had played games at the same club, danced at the same hotels, and been invited to the same cocktail parties. The next time we saw each other was through the gap in the bars. It did not take us long to work out an inconspicuous sign language and we spent the tedious hours having long conversations. We also passed on information about what had happened in various interrogations.

Christmas morning we wished each other all the best and while the sentries marched up and down we made rude remarks about them. Suddenly the noise in the outer office increased. Three of the Nip big-shots stamped down the corridor, followed by a drip of slouching, arrogant interpreters. They looked at us the way a person looks at a harmless beetle before stepping on it. They called out a few names in front of cells farther down, then turned round and stopped at our cell. We looked into space, our hearts pounded, there did not seem to be enough air to go round. They called Dr. Choo’s name and turned to the cell opposite, where they called for Perry and two Chinese. The rest of us relaxed.

Cell doors were opened and those who were due for questioning got out and put on their shoes. Perry held onto the bar in front of me while he put someone else’s  trompahs on his swollen feet. He wiggled his fingers at me and before he left he winked.

We continued to sit, looking straight ahead. Only those who had been badly beaten and tortured were allowed the luxury of lying down. When the Japs were working on a man, he never got much rest.

I wondered about Perry, about Dr. Choo. We had heard some cars leave. That meant some of the prisoners were being taken to the Y.M. for questioning. That was bad for they were very thorough. Others were being questioned here. The noises that went with questioning were too familiar by now. It is almost impossible to identify voices under such conditions, and yet one cannot stop trying.

We sat until the second meal, just like the first, was brought round. We put a tin of rice aside for Dr. Choo, and it was eyed greedily, for when a man has been questioned he has either been given food or he is in no condition to eat. In either case the cell may share his ration.

Perry Comes Back

After “lunch,” we sat down again. I wanted to wash my hair, but thought it better to do nothing until the big-shots had left. After all, it had not been washed for ten weeks; Boxing Day would really do as well as Christmas. We sat. A couple of people from cells farther down were brought back. They did not look too bad. We sat some more. A scuffle outside and two interpreters dragged an unconscious figure down the corridor. We could not be sure, but he seemed to be Chinese. We sat some more.

Hard to say what time it was when Perry came back. He seemed a bit stiff and his face was bruised, but not too bad. He did not look at me, but as he bent to take off his shoes, he held the bar nearest me. As he bent, his hand slowly came down the bar. When he eventually let go and turned to enter his cell, there was a tiny parcel on the floor in front of me.

It was not until a good deal later, when most of the prisoners, including Dr. Choo, had returned and the Japanese officers from headquarters had left, that I could examine the parcel. It was a single sheet of toilet paper, and inside was a sliver of real soap. They had allowed Perry to wash up after his interview, and he had stolen a Christmas  present for me. Before the third and last rice meal of the day, I took my precious gift and, with great ceremony, washed my hair, with soap in the the w.c., and a Eurasian lad lent me his shirt to dry it. And then, of course, there was Mahinder’s comb….

Many years have passed since then. Most of the people who were in that prison died. I was lucky. We are back in London and since then have had two wonderful babies. Looking back to Christmas, 1943, I remember that was the day I washed my hair and Walter gave me a holy picture.

By Freddy Bloom,
1949

Originally published in Leader Magazine of Great Britain, this story was discovered in the 31 December, 1949 issue given to us by our friends Peter and Michele King of England, and diligently transcribed here,  visible for the first time anywhere on the internet, by M-J de Mesterton for readers of Elegant Survival. Read Freddy Bloom’s obituary in Elegant Survivors, at http://www.elegantsurvival.net/elegantsurvivors.htm

This moving story contains pejorative language directed at the Japanese, who are today respected allies–please remember that it was wartime, and that the persons involved endured unimaginable suffering at the hands of their captors.

Leader Magazine, December 1949: Sixty Years Later, this Story Is Still Relevant



Henry Allingham, Elegant Survivor, Passes away at 113

Henry Allingham in June, 2009

LONDON, July 18th, 2009

Henry Allingham, the world’s oldest man and  oldest surviving British veteran from World War I, has died at the age of 113.

Henry Allingham was a founding member of the Royal Air Force.

Mr. Allingham died in his sleep at St. Dunstan’s care-home in Ovingdean, England. Born on June 6, 1896, Allingham was active until his final days, having celebrated his 113th birthday last month on the HMS President with his family.

The Guinness Book of World Records Certified Allingham as the world’s oldest man in June of 2009.

“The queen was saddened to hear of the death of Henry Allingham. He was one of the unique generation who sacrificed so much for us all. Our thoughts are with his family at this time,” Buckingham Palace declared.

“I had the privilege of meeting Henry many times,” said Prime Minister Gordon Brown. “He was a tremendous character, one of the last representatives of a generation of tremendous characters. My thoughts are with his family as they mourn his passing but celebrate his life.”

Born in London’s East End during the reign of Queen Victoria, Henry Allingham’s father died when he was a baby; he was raised by his mother and grandparents. Henry joined the Royal Naval Air Service at age 18 as an aircraft mechanic in 1915 after his mother died.

Henry Allingham at Age 18

Henry Allingham was the last known survivor of the Battle of Jutland, considered the greatest battle of World War I. He was serving aboard the armed trawler HMT Kingfisher, which was sent to join the British fleet as it fought to keep the Germans away from what is now mainland Denmark.

The Battle of Jutland holds the all-time record for the most gun-armed battleships and battlecruisers engaged in a fight, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defence.

In 1917, Henry Allingham was sent to France to support the Royal Flying Corps. His job as a mechanic was to service the aircraft and recover parts from downed planes, but pilots would often ask their mechanics to fly with them, thus Mr. Allingham would sit behind the pilot, dropping bombs or operating machine guns.

Allingham served in Flanders until that November, when he moved to the aircraft depot at Dunkirk, France, where he stayed until the war was over.

Allingham was a founding member of today’s Royal Air Force, which was formed in 1918 when the Royal Naval Air Service merged with the Royal Flying Corps.

He married his wife, Dorothy, in late 1918 and left the RAF a few months later, in April 1919.

Allingham remained a reservist, and during World War II he was called upon to find a solution to the German magnetic mines that were bottling up the English harbour of Harwich, on the Essex coast.

Henry Allingham and his team devised an effective system to neutralize the mines, after which every ship was fitted with his invention.

His dedication to the military and the memory of fallen troops never wavered. In his later years especially, Henry Allingham was often seen at memorial events, even though he could no longer walk, his eyesight was failing, and he needed a wheelchair.

“Henry was always determined to ensure that today’s generation does not forget the sacrifice of those who died on the Western Front,” a representative of St. Dunstan’s nursing home said in a statement after Allingham’s passing. “Until recently, he regularly visited schools and attended war-based events as an ambassador for his generation.”

Asked once at a memorial ceremony how he would like to be remembered, Henry Allingham demurred, saying that people should instead remember those who died in the wars. “Remember them, not me,” he said.

He was installed as a chevalier in France’s Legion of Honor in 2003 and was promoted to officer of the institution earlier this year. Awarding the honor, the French ambassador to Britain thanked Mr. Allingham, on behalf of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, for his work in protecting France during the two World Wars.

The Royal Navy celebrated Henry Allingham’s birthday last month by throwing him a party aboard the HMS President. A birthday cake and card signed by the First Sea Lord were delivered by fast-raiding craft of the Royal Marines; Mr. Allingham was given a decanter of Pusser’s Rum, his “favorite tipple,” by the Fleet Air Arm.

Henry Allingham’s wife, Dorothy, died in 1970. Their two daughters both died in their 80s.

He is survived by six grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, 21 great-great-grandchildren, and one great-great-great grandchild, all of whom live in the United States, said a representative of  St. Dunstan’s at Ovingdean. Since 2006, Henry Allingham had lived at St. Dunstan’s, a nursing-home for blind ex-military people on the south coast of England. He had lost his sight as a result of age-related macular degeneration.

“Everybody at St. Dunstan’s is saddened by losing Henry, and our sympathy goes out to his family,” said Robert Leader, chief executive at the home. “As well as possessing a great spirit of fun, he represented the last of a generation who gave a very great deal for us. Henry made many friends among the residents and staff at the home. He was a great character and will be missed.”

Classic Pumps by Robert Clergerie, at Christabelle’s Closet

Update, April 8th: these beautifully crafted, classic French shoes have been reduced to the price of 50 USD.

The Most Elegant Pumps, by Robert Clergerie Size 7.5 US

Elegant Pumps, by Robert Clergerie; Size 7.5 US

Robert Clergerie Patent Leather Pumps, Made in France:  Simple, Elegant  Shoes for Evening, Cocktails or Teatime

It’s difficult to find classic, real shoes these days. When I speak of elegant dressing, I often mention closed-toe shoes, which used to be the norm. Sure, peep-toes and strappy high-heeled sandals are all the rage, but I don’t write about trends, except to disparage them and their lack of longevity. Exposing one’s toes and tottering about on stilts are never elegant. This pair of shoes almost represents my ideal for evening. Alas, they are a half-size too small for me. Advice to people approaching middle-age: buy your shoes a half-size larger than necessary, because your feet are about to grow a half-inch (once upon a time, these shoes would have fit me).

~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2009

Ralph Lauren Women’s Safari Jacket: Elegant Survival

Multi-Purpose, Three-Season Safari Jacket in Black Silk

Multi-Purpose, Three-Season Safari Jacket in Black Silk

Ultra-Useful Black Silk, Lined Safari Jacket by Ralph Lauren

These days of economic disaster bring desperados in the form of purse-snatchers and pick-pockets. An elegant safari jacket has four ample pockets that button, in which you may carry all that you require for a shopping trip, light travel or touring. This Ralph Lauren ladies’ safari jacket is made of silk, is lined, and has a belt at the true waist to make you look chic, slim and elegant while protecting yourself from various elements.

Foods and Vitamins that Help Prevent Cancer

Ginger root is believed to inhibit cancer-cell growth, particularly in the female reproductive organs.

The oleic acid in olive oil dramatically reduces the levels of the cancer gene Her-2/neu, which is found in breast cancer tumors.

Beans and other legumes
may lessen the risk of breast cancer, because they can suppress the production of enzymes that encourage tumor growth. Try to eat beans three times a week.

Supplement your diet with vitamin B-6 and vitamin D-3.

Folate, a B-Vitamin found in leafy greens, is a powerful cancer-fighting agent. It fights the changes in DNA that cause cancer-cell growth.

Eating carrots may reduce the risk of kidney cancer and ovarian cancer.

Watermelon, tomatoes, and pink grapefruit
, because of their lycopene component, can reduce the risk of prostate cancer and colorectal adenomas (tumors).

Citrus peels
contain limonene, which acts as a sunscreen inside your epidermis.

~~M-J, 2009

Drinking Coffee in Middle Age May Help Prevent Dementia Later in Life

Coffee for Mental Health

Coffee for Mental Health

STOCKHOLM, January 14th, 2009

Middle-aged people who drink moderate amounts of coffee–three to five cups daily–can significantly reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, a newly completed study by Finnish and Swedish researchers suggests.

“Middle-aged people who drank between three and five cups of coffee a day lowered their risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by between 60 and 65 percent later in life,” said research team-leader Dr. Miia Kivipelto, a professor at the University of Kuopio in Finland and at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

The study, which was conducted in league with the Finnish National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease this month. The research on coffee and its effect on the prevention of dementia in its various forms was based on successive interviews with 1,409 people in Finland during the span of two decades.

The subjects were first tested for cognitive abilities and asked about their coffee-drinking habits when they were in their 50s. Their memory functions were tested again in 1998, when they were between 65 and 79 years of age.

Of the 1,409 research subjects, total of only 61 had by then developed dementia, 48 of whom had the Alzheimer’s variety.

Dr. Miia Kivipelto reported, “There are perhaps one or two other studies that have shown that coffee can improve some memory functions (but) this is the first study directed at dementia and Alzheimer’s (and) in which the subjects are followed for such a long time.”

Coffee contains several antioxidants which are known to counteract Alzheimer’s disease.

Some studies have also shown that coffee helps protects the nervous-system, which can also protect against dementia. Previous studies suggested that coffee protects against diabetes, which is now linked to Alzheimer’s.

Health

~~M-J, January 2009

Happy Birthday, Elegant Survivor Dianne Lennon

Even though I had planned to honor the Lennon Sisters here since yesterday, after I had looked up their version of “Melodie d’Amour” on the internet, I’ve just now realized that today is Dianne (“Dee Dee”) Lennon’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Elegant Survivor Dianne Lennon!

Here is my tribute to this national treasure: The Lennon Sisters: Elegant Survivors

Where are the words to describe the beauty, elegance and goodness of Dianne Lennon? (“Dee Dee” is the lady at the far right end on this video.)