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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Take a Trip to World War II London & Live the Blitz With Ruby Side Thompson

Today, I'm hanging out with Victoria Aldridge-Washuk and talking about her World War II Diary series. You can learn more about Victoria and her World War II Diary series on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RubysSide and on Twylah at http://www.twylah.com/VickiWashuk. Victoria hangs out online on twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/VickiWashuk. What follows is the result of my talks with Victoria, edited for length and clarity.

Hi, Victoria, please tell readers about yourself.

I live in Milford, CT with my husband of thirty years. I graduated Fairfield University with a degree in Psychology in 1979. I have worked in the financial services field for 30 years and have three interesting and successful daughters I am very proud of.

I am the Great Granddaughter of Ruby Side Thompson. I inherited her forty-three diaries that span from 1909–1969. They were passed down to my grandmother, Ruth Ferris Thompson who was married to Ruby's son, John Thompson. At one time the Diaries were given to my mother, Adele Thompson Aldridge who keeps a journal herself and tells me she is now on #100. Ruby's Diaries had several ownership transfers and were eventually passed down to me. I intend to pass them down another generation to my daughters.

My grandmother Ruth Ferris Thompson and I were very close. She left me Ruby’s journals as she thought I would be the most inclined to preserve and share them with anyone that was interested.  Recently I started re-reading the World War II journals and felt that they were such an important part of a history that will soon be forgotten if not remembered and shared with the world.


Fascinating, I come from a long line of military men from WWI to present. I had two combat tours in Iraq, and have written a memoir about my war-time service, called Stormjammers: The Extraordinary Story of Electronic Warfare in the Gulf War. So when I say fascinating, I mean wow, this is the kind of reading I love.




Tell readers about the books you've produced based on the journals?





 
World War II London Blitz Diary Volume 1 tells Ruby's story from September 1, 1939 to December 31, 1940. Imagine seeing hundreds of Messerschmitt war planes overhead and hearing the explosion of bombs being dropped around you. Wondering if this is the day one will fall on your house. That's what Ruby lived through in this time.

Ruby speaks candidly about her unhappiness enduring an unsatisfactory marriage. She was the mother of seven sons, two of whom were enlisted in the R.A.F. One of which became an amputee as the result of hitting a land mine and the other son was captured and sent to a concentration camp as a prisoner of war. Her tale is a mix of the commonplace and the historic as seen through her eyes.



World War II London Blitz Diary Volume 2 tells Ruby's story from January 1, 1941 to December 31, 1941. Ruby's own words help tell the story best:

"As I looked over Kent yesterday, so peaceful, all the harvest in, so green, so quiet, the sense of the folly of the war enveloped me ever more tightly and suffocating then in Blitzed London. Much of London is offensive to the sight, so that when one sees portions of it utterly destroyed unconsciously one is reconciled to the destruction. . . . The further I went from London the more I was convinced that war is only made by the few bad men in power, for their own profit."






World War II London Blitz Diary Volume 3 tells Ruby's story during 1942 and 1943. Again, Ruby's own words help tell the story best:

"When Ted returned from the Home Guard he said one of their officers had come in, in an extremely nervous state, and said bombs had fallen in Collier Row. However, when the radio man came this morning, about a half an hour ago, he said, no, not Collier Row last night, but nearer to Fairlop and Warley, the airdromes, well, we’ll know later.

Whilst the racket is going on I get very sick, and retch constantly. I can’t help it, and I can’t stop it. ... God be merciful to me, a sinner. Deliver us from evil."








Riveting, I can see why you wanted to publish Ruby's diaries for the world. I served as a combat flyer, so I lived the first Gulf War from the air and ground, and I can tell you both are terrifying every day, and I wouldn't have wanted to live in London during the Blitz. They pin medals on soldiers--I received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Humanitarian Service Medal, Air Medal, and several others for my distinguished war-time service--but too often society forgets about the families left behind. The war was as hard on my wife as it was on me; she earned those medals right along with me.

Where can readers get your books?

The books are in paperback and out for ereaders.

World War II London Blitz Diary Volume 1 Kindle Edition

World War II London Blitz Diary Volume 2 Kindle Edition

 World War II London Blitz Diary Volume 3 Kindle Edition

Thank you, Victoria, for stopping by!

2 comments:

  1. I am reading Ruby's second volume now and am constantly amazed at her ability to convey the monotony in a riveting fashion. Her details about the scarcity of food I take for granted each day has reminded me how blessed I am. It is easy to see why these people are called the Greatest Generation. What courage!

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  2. I have read Volumes 1 & 2 and can't recommend them enough! The diaries are never boring. Ruby expresses her feelings in such an honest way, that you feel like you really know her. While reading WWII history can be very interesting, these diaries bring to life what it was like for ordinary people on the homefront!

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