This was so much different than Italy. The Dutch people were more than kind to all of us. The mothers treated us like sons and felt how much we must miss home after being so far away for so long.
Distance then was one without GPS, cell phones, TV, and all the amenities we have today. Most of us had no voice contact with our parents for almost five years. Some of the fellows had lost loved ones at home, some their wives divorced them. One sad case that comes to mind was Capt Taylor whose wife passed away within days of his return home.
On the home front, Mum and Dads would never really know what happened to their boy other than the telegram saying 'We regret to inform you that your son was killed in action followed by the date. This was sent from Ottawa. The sad part of waiting and trying to put in time there were some motor cycle accidents, jeep accidents, poisoned booze, and Canadians thrown in the canals with arms wired [in Belgium ]. All these things took Canadian soldiers lives and the waiting went on. I must say I did not get depressed with the waiting and knew that we would eventually get home.
Orme Payne and Elmer Applegren shared a room in the Wo's and Sgt's house. With this pair there was a challenge who was the best dressed each morning. To be the best turned out you had to be up early. Elmer had seen Orme press some battle dress trousers the night before so he being a monster awakened first and on with Orme's pressed trousers. Now Orme being a good sport about this was going to get even so the next morning he awoke first and half asleep leaped up and went to pull on fresh washed socks that he had seen Elmer wash the day before. Getting the first sock pulled on a terrible smell assailed Ormes nostrils then the realization these socks were soaking wet and oozing the most indescribable liquid. Oh yes Elmer had fallen in the canal on the way home. The canals were used as sewers for centuries so you can imagine the condition of the rest of Elmer's clothes. I, sleeping in the next room, saw this black odorous liquid flowing from under Elmer and Orme's door but did not know until the door opened and Orme giving the still sleeping Elmer what for about the condition of the room, clothes, and stench .Oh yes some of it was fun and interesting.