The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Last year my sister Kathy and my sister-in-law Barbara both recommended that I read this book because the author talks about the bombings of London and the rooftop Fire Guards. Our mother experienced all of this when she was in London from January until August of 1944.
The bombings by the German planes, we would watch at night and the ack-ack of the British artillery attempting their destruction. This was exciting but when the buzz bombs (V-1′s) started, that was different. The bombs flew over and when the motor stopped that was it. You knew it was going to hit. They started every evening all night long — later on, we had day time treats also.
I spent my evenings in underground night clubs and my boss, Bill Carlson, got me an ankle bracelet that he insisted I wear because he knew that I would be found somewhere with no identification. (Hedvig Johnson)
I do love my neighborhood Book Club, but last year I had to explain that since I am writing a book I don’t have time to read anything unless it’s about World War II. This month’s book is … “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows! During the war, the Germans occupied Britain’s Channel Islands, one of which is Guernsey. I took my book down from my shelf and this time I began in earnest to read it.
The author on page 30 describes a “Punch” cartoon which, as the author details … ”shows ten or so people walking down a London street. The chief figures are two men in bowler hats, holding briefcases and umbrellas, and one man is saying to the other man, ‘It is ridiculous to say these Doodlebugs have affected people in any way.’ It took me several seconds to realize that every person in the cartoon had one normal-sized ear and one very large ear on the other side of his head.”
When I read that passage, I shrieked! I have that cartoon! Well, the one I have is not from Punch, which was at that time a British weekly magazine. My cartoon was published in the British newspaper, the Daily Express on July 11, 1944. The cartoonist is Carl Giles. Our mother, Hedvig “Hedy” Johnson sent it to her parents, and after her Mother died, Hedy retrieved it and stored it in her London scrapbook.
I’m halfway through the book and will finish it by tomorrow, just in time. It has been so interesting to read how the islanders got through the war. And I can’t wait to show the ladies at the Brookfield Book Club Hedy’s cartoon.