To escape New York City’s falling temperatures – and to record a few stories for the Memory Loss Initiative – the Door-to-Door team visited Melbourne, Florida’s Leeza’s Place and Joe’s Club, two local adult day care facilities in Brevard County.
In Melbourne, word of mouth was a magical thing, on our last day of recording we met England native Geraldine Condon, who was brought to Joe’s Club by her daughter and son after reading of our visit in Florida Today.
Some of Geraldine’s favorite memories took place in Kent, England, where she remembers time spent with family on St. Margaret Bay at her grandmother’s home. Later, during World War II, amid the fighting and her travels as a nurse with Queen Victoria’s Nursing Service in the Bradford Royal Infirmary, the possibility of happiness outside England serendipitously made itself known.
After numerous assignments throughout the United Kingdom and North Africa, Geraldine was sent to Rome, Italy. “It was there I met a certain American Army officer, and we clicked,” she remembers. “Jack G. Condon.” Geraldine and Jack’s first date and engagement (and having six children!) were a blur, she says, but she will always remember Rome because her marriage to Jack was the first to take place in the war-torn city after the American troops’ arrival.
Following the war, Geraldine moved to the United States to build a life with her new husband. In looking back at the different path her life took, Geraldine is able to find the good in the events of war. “Maybe because of the war we found it far easier to adjust than people who didn’t have that experience. We were sort of inured by the experiences we’d had and were inclined to accept things,” she says. “I think the war helped us to have an open mind.” And an open heart.
Geraldine is pictured with two of her six children, John Condon and Katrina Dugan.