In late January of 1944 Roy came home from work to find Iva packing a suitcase in her bedroom.
“What’s going on?”
She glanced up from the packing. “Oh Daddy, I have had wonderful news. Jack’s ship is headed for Oakland for more supplies. He wants Jerry and I to meet him there as they should be there a while.”
“I see,” said Roy. “But why the rush to pack? Shouldn’t you wait for word they’ve docked?”
“I don’t want to waste a precious moment of his leave time traveling. I decided to take the first train bound for San Francisco. It leaves at 9 tonight. Will you take me to the station in Seattle?”
“Tonight, that’s crazy.”
“Maybe, it is but I’m not waiting. You won’t mind staying here by yourself, will you?”
“No, course not, that isn’t the point. San Francisco is no small town. How do you intend to find each other if you leave before he’s arrived?”
“I don’t know, we just will. She pecked him on the cheek on the way to the kitchen. “I’ll get our supper on the table.”
“How long do you think you’ll be in there?”
“I don’t know, Jack said they might be there as long as a month.”
There was nothing Roy could say to dissuade so reluctantly he went with here across the bay by ferry and drove her to the train station in Seattle, where he left her, Jerry and two suitcases on board a train bound for San Francisco.
“Call me when you get there,” he instructed.
“I will Daddy, but it will be late in the evening, and I will have to find a place to stay so don’t expect to hear from me until morning. I will call before you leave for work.”
Roy spent the next two nights tossing and turning worried about what might happen to his daughter and grandson. He was relieved when the phone finally rang.
“Hello, it’s me,” said Iva.” Jerry and I have arrived safe. We are spending the day at the ferry building watching for Jack coming across on one of the ferries coming from Oakland. Will you let Jack know if he should call?”
“Yes,” said Roy.
Before he could say another word the voice of an operator interrupted, “to continue this call please deposit a dollar twenty-five.”
“I have to go,” said Iva and the phone went dead.
He hadn’t even been able to find out where she was staying. All he could do was wait to hear from her again.
Three agonizing days went by before he received another call. This time it was from his son-in-law.
“Hello,” said Jack. “Is Iva there.”
“No,” said Roy, “she’s in San Francisco waiting for you.”
“She said she’d be watching at the ferry building for you. I haven’t heard from her in almost 3 days.”
“Oh dear,” said Jack. “That’s a long time. Don’t worry, I’ll find her. “
“Please call me when you do, I’ve been so worried.”
“That will be another 1.25,” interrupted the voice of an operator.
“Okay I will,” he heard Jack say in the background. “Don’t worry I’ll find her.”
Somehow, they did find each other and that evening he received another phone call. They’d been reunited.
Roy slept better knowing his daughter and grandson were with Jack that evening. In the ensuing three weeks the house felt empty with Roy inside alone. And he missed his daughter’s cooking, his tended to be cowboy stew consisting of beans and bacon. A few days after she and Jack had reunited, he received a postcard with the address of the apartment they would be staying at until Jack had to ship out again. While he missed his daughter and grandson’s company, he was happy they could be together for a while in these uncertain times.
Three weeks later the phone rang.
Roy picked up the receiver. “Hello.”
A nasal sounding voice said, “will you accept collect call from Iva Baily.”
“Yes, yes,” said Roy.
He could tell by the tremble in her voice something was wrong, very wrong.
“It’s Jerry, he’s in the hospital. His legs won’t work.”
Roy felt himself go clammy.
Iva continued; “we took him to the navy dispensary.”
“Polio?” he croaked, dread filling his heart.
“At first, they thought so but its isn’t that. They couldn’t decide what was wrong, so they sent him to the Stanford hospital. That’s where we are now. They have done all sorts of x-rays and tests and now they have his lower body in a cast. They think he might have osteomyelitis. It’s a serious bone disease.”
Roy could hear his daughter’s voice waver.
“On top of that Jack must ship out in a couple of days. He wants me to bring Jerry home where our doctor can care for him.”
“I’ll come get you,” said Roy, “just tell me when and where.”
“No, that’s not necessary. We contacted the Red Cross and they have arranged for me to have a roomette. Jack will put us both on before he must leave but I will need you to meet us at the train when it arrives in Seattle.”
“Of course, of course,” said Roy, wondering how she’d manage both the boy and her luggage.
Two days later Roy paced the tiled floor of the Seattle train station. After arriving, he’d learned the train bound from San Francisco had been delayed by six hours. The trip was long enough for his daughter with a 4-year-old in a cast without such a delay to deal with.
Finally, he heard an announcement that the train from San Francisco was pulling into the station. He hurried out to the loading platform wondering if he should ask someone for permission to board and aid his daughter off the train. But when he asked the man at the base of the steps passengers were descending shook his head no.
After what seemed an eternity, he spotted his daughter carrying Jerry while a porter carried her two suitcases behind her.
He raced over to hug her. She looked so weary, not at all like the young, spirited girl who had left a month ago. He gave her a big hug and took Jerry from her arms. At four he was a bit of a load and the cast he wore made holding him awkward. But the poor little guy couldn’t stand up alone.
“Can you manage the two bags?”
“Yes, she said. “I’m so tired, please I just want to go home.”
Once settled on the Ferry for the hour ride to Bremerton Roy asked how the trip had gone.
“Fine until we pulled into a station and had to trade engines. I was told we’d have to wait 6 hours for a replacement, but I could stay in the roomette as our car was going onto Seattle. But there was no dining car available while we waited. Jerry was so hungry and so was I. A kind lady volunteered to stay with Jerry while I went inside the station to find something for us to eat. But when I returned the car was gone.”
“Yes, gone, I was so frantic. But then someone told me the car had switched to another track onto another train. You will not believe how relieved when I found the car with Jerry again.”
“I can just imagine,” said Roy. “The kind lady was probably glad to see you, too.”
Iva nodded, “she was worried about what she would do if I didn’t find them.”
“I called our doctor yesterday,” said Roy. “He said to bring Jerry in just as soon as you got back. Do you want to go directly there first or home?
“The doctor,” said Iva.” I want to know what he thinks is going on.”
The receptionist at the office when they came in said, “Right this way, doc said to expect you and that he wanted to see you immediately.”
She led them to an exam room and popped a thermometer into Jerry’s mouth.
“98.6,” she declared a few minutes later. At least he has no fever.”
“He never did,” said Iva.
“I’ll let the doctor know you are here.”
Minutes later there was a knock at the door and the doctor walked in. “I’ve been expecting you folks. Now let me look at this fine little fellow.”
He took his stethoscope from around his neck and put it in his ears to listen to Jerry’s heart. And then patted him on the head. “Your ticker sounds fine. Tell me do you hurt anywhere?”
“No, said Jerry, “but my legs really itch.”
The doctor chuckled. “I bet they do. Let’s get those casts off so I can get a good look at those legs of yours. And then you can have a lollipop.”
Roy and Iva watched as the doctor carefully cut the casts off Jerry’s legs.
“There now.” said the doctor. “Can you wiggle them for me.’
Jerry did more than wiggle, now free of the cast, he bent and flexed his legs as though nothing was wrong.
“Let’s see if you can stand,” said the doctor lifting him off the examining table.
Not only could Jerry stand but he walked across the room. He was a bit wobbly, but he was walking.
“Can I have a lollipop now?”
“Yes,” said the doctor. He called to the nurse, “take this boy and get him a lollipop.”
When jerry had left with the nurse the doctor turned to Roy and Iva. “I don’t know what to say. He seems perfectly fine now. Those legs will be a little weak from disuse, but I predict that he will soon be racing around like normal in a week or two.”
“I’m so relieved,” said Iva, “Thank you.”
“I did nothing,” said the doctor.
“If you have any problems contact me immediately but think he’ll be just fine.”
Once back at the house Roy said, “Iva, why don’t you lay down and get some rest.”
“I will just as soon as I write Jack about Jerry. He will be so relieved to hear Jerry is walking again.”
The information for this chapter came from my Aunt’s written account of the events.