INT: Let's stop there and see if there's anything we've missed out. That was great!
INT: Can you tell me about the... bleak moments when, say, the peace talks weren't going well in.. Korea. What was the.. kind of the lowest point and what were you thinking at that time?
FG: (Sigh) I don't know. I don't know what I can say about the lowest point. I felt so low so much of the time, I mean, I can't begin to describe the depression I was in from the 29th of November of 1950 through, I'd say, August 1953! (laugh) I mean, the fact that he was missing in action was a little of a lift. When his name was exchanged as a prisoner, that was even more of a lift. When the letters came in that was better, but there was.. it was still very depressing. I think in retrospect the most depressing time was probably the 29th of November '50 and about the 9th of December.. 29th of December 1950, when I knew he was somewhere but I didn't know where. When I knew that something had happened because friends of mine were being contacted by their soldier husbands, officer husbands boyfriends, you know, and I got no word whatsoever. I think that was probably the lowest point.
INT: And from there?
FG: (overlap)... although it fluctuated from day to day but a low point was truly then, when I had no idea where this man was. You know, I can't think about when I'm alone and I can even cry today. I told my friend that I was coming here and I said you know, 'I can't talk about' but I'm talking about it, but there are times when I still can't talk about it, if I scratch the surface enough, those feelings come back, those feelings of utter loss, you know? I mean, terrible depression.
INT: But the story does have a 'the happy ending'.
FG: Oh, it does, it absolutely does, you know, and that brings me through it, by the way! (laugh)
INT: But when you had your reunion in San Francisco, when did it really sink in that your husband was back, you were reunited as a family, was it then? Was there a time-lag before you felt 'this is really all over now'?
FG: Oh no, it was immediate. I mean, immediately when I met Bernie on that dock, I knew he was home and the fact that we were sort of strangers at the beginning was just a fleeting thing. I mean, the fact that.. it would be like you not seeing a relative for 3 or 4 years and you've changed, you know, you've gotten older or your hair has changed colour and you look at that person, you say 'well, is that person still there' and yes, that person is still there. You just have to look for it and once he gained weight and was back to his normal self, yes, he looked very much (laugh) like the man who left! But initially, yes, he had changed. But it was just the moment.
INT: You realised it was all over when he came off the boat.
FG: Oh yes, yes, and I couldn't wait for him to see his son, I really couldn't, and that was a very happy experience. and little Bernie was too much of a child, you know, a little boy, to really grasp it, but I used to give him his picture from the time that he.. I used to give him his Daddy's picture from the time that he was able to understand and I would say 'kiss Daddy goodnight' and I've been re-reading letters that I wrote Bernie and that were returned to me and I would tell him this in the letters, that his son would kiss him goodnight and hug the picture, and when he was a little older, he didn't wanna hug me at all or kiss me! He just kissed his Daddy goodnight (laugh) - the picture! (laugh) So there was that attachment, that excitement too in him to know.. when his Daddy came home.
INT: Thank you very much.
END OF I/V WITH FLORENCE GALING