Stalag Luft 6 & 4 Notebook – “A Good Girl”

(Posted: June 28, 2011)

There is no way to be certain that dad wrote “A Good Girl”.  It has been in the notebooks of other POW’s but when it’s listed, it’s listed as “author unknown”.  Is my father the unknown author?  Once again, something I’ll never know for sure.    

One thing for certain is the fact that he hadn’t met the girl he would marry yet – Sara Quattrone.  In the letters he received from home there were a couple of girls’ names mentioned.  He may have been sweet on them prior to his entering the Service but there didn’t appear to have been anyone special that he would correspond with.

When I read the words of this poem though I can imagine them being my father’s as he would mention his mother certainly and perhaps one of the girls named in the letters had wanted him to marry her before leaving for the service. Another thought is that he just put his imagination to work to help pass the time.  Dreaming that “today” he first met and was with a girl who hastily wanted him to marry her.  It’s comical that the author thought they should allow more time – “tomorrow” would be more appropriate.  One could never know the meaning behind this poem without the writer to ask.

How difficult that it was for those girls who were married to men who had become Prisoners Of War – with the uncertainty of whether they would see their loved ones again and the possibility that they wouldn’t looming in their minds.  The wives went through a most difficult time worrying and waiting for their husbands to come home – hoping that they would soon return.  Their dedication and love is the driving force that kept the men from giving up.

And then, conversely, how difficult that it was for the men who left their loved ones behind and anxiously waited for the letters from home to give them hope.  Would their girlfriends or wives be able to wait for them however long they would be gone for better or for worse?  These boys had all become men overnight and would their women be able to understand this changed person – a person transformed by the atrocities of war.  Would they have the patience to cope with their man as he adjusted to life outside of a prisoner of war camp again?

Encouraging words from home would be the POW’s greatest source of comfort.  It would have been so important to these men to know that there was still a life for them at their home so far away.  It was their connection to the rest of the world and they were dependent on these rays of hope.  Of course, sadly there were the “Dear John” letters written to the forlorn lovers taking away any plans that they dreamt of to pull them into the future.  This would undoubtedly drive a despondent and homesick individual into a deeper depression under the existing conditions in confinement.  It would have the capability of taking away one’s lifeline.  One would have to depend on their comrades to bring them out of such dejection.  Captivity in many cases would be synonymous with “friend helping friend to survive”.  Thank God for the human compassion and spirit that arises when faced with adversity. 

It is likely that during the months or years of imprisonment that each and every prisoner had visions of their “good girl” whether it was fact or fantasy.  Many knew what she looked like and others would fabricate their dream girl.

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