DUNTEN, BERNICE

 

MY CHRISTMAS STORY                BY BERNICE DUNTEN

 

It was Christmas Eve, 1918, at Mesors Hospital Center, Base 67, Ward 18.   The hospitalized soldiers, some ambulatory, some wounded, some with eyes burning with mustard gas, some harboring the thief, the amoeba, were stirred with the spirit of Christmas.  “Let’s decorate” said one.   “With what?” said another.  “Let’s go” said another.   A few with just the stigma of Trench foot crossed the nearby road and invaded a forest of pines of all kinds.   A few “sit downs” began tearing up old Ladies Home Journals to cut out the colored parts to make little closed parasols on twigs to hang on the now bare Christmas tree.  

 

Two diligent standers began to make festoons of blue paper discarded from cotton rolls and at the end of all this industry the sad realization that the sheets hung between beds could not be taken down because of the flu.   At this point the top Sergeant came forth with his wisdom and with 50 short plumber’s candles from stores.  A candle was placed on the head or foot of each bed and lighted at the express moment of inspection for prize winnings.   They all gasped, “It looks like a Cathedral”.   And they won the prize.   The next morning at 5 a.m. the nurses sang Christmas carols outside each ward, and everybody cried, which was fitting.  

 

 

WOMEN IN UNIFORM

 

BERNICE DUNTEN

 

WWI Nurse of Huntertown, IN

in uniform

 

Stationed in France during WWI as a nurse.