Say it with flowers

This being our first blog after Valentine’s Day we thought we'd try a romantic theme and bring you a story from February 1945 about love and the way in which WVS brought service men and their wives together in the final months of the war.

“Of all the many tasks that WVS members have undertaken, surely this plan for the delivery of flowers from men in the Services to their families and friends at home is the most imaginative example. A really lovely, fairy godmother-ish kind of idea - in the true WVS spirit.

I was asked if I would collect from the florists some flowers and deliver them at a certain house on a certain day. It sounded simple and attractive, but I did not realise how greatly I should enjoy my errand until I returned to the WVS office to report that my job was done.

It was a beautiful morning, the sun shining brightly on this middle-aged WVS member as she sallied out of the flower shop, balancing a huge bunch of daffodils on her arm and feeling all young and sprightly and romantic. I literally trotted along as my feet tried to keep in step with my thoughts (these were already at the door and handing in the flowers with a smile and a few well-chosen words!). I felt a cross between Mercury and a bringer of peace terms.

Those daffies smelled of spring! What an exciting, heart-stirring mission I was engaged upon. No bees buzzed (after all it was February), but birds sang - at least sparrows cheerfully chirped from the house-tops - and everything seemed to shine; everywhere was full of brightness and everyone who directed me (for I was not familiar with this part of the town) was so kind and helpful - a truly golden day.

Even the little house seemed to gleam and beam at me as I rang the bell. At the sight of the young woman with the baby in her arms all my pre-arranged speech of explanation vanished. “Are you Mrs Dash?” I asked; “for if you are, these are for you.” The baby stretched out fat hands towards the daffodils. “Please hold him, Miss, while I open the letter. Oh, the flowers are beautiful... they’re from Ken, my husband, he’s in Holland... we’ve been married three years... and - and - do come in, Miss, and have a cup of cocoa - it won’t take a minute to make.”

I sat with the cherubic baby on my knee. He gurgled as I played with his bare pink toes as though we were life-long friends. But I did wish that Ken could have seen the look on his wife’s face, as solemnly we raised our cups of steaming cocoa and drank our toast to Ken and to the early return of all the lads and lassies serving in the Forces.

So I left her, after she had pinned one of her precious daffies on my coat, and as I waved to her from the corner of the street and fat Billy raised a plump hand to me I thought: “This new task of ‘saying it with flowers’ is not a task at all, but is in the nature of a reward for all the hard, tiring, messy and often disappointing jobs that WVS have done in the past.”

Now this is romance.”

Posted by Matthew McMurray at 09:00 Monday, 16 February 2015.

Labels: Valentines Day, Say it with Flowers, Services Welfare, WVS

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