Category: world smile day


                                                               The Smiling Sisters

‘The place was formerly a little café, and now that the
Germans are gone, the woman who ran it with her husband came back to find
almost nothing left, not even doors or windows, long ago smashed out. Her
husband is fighting in the army. But, with fortitude, she set up her shop
again, even in these miserable surroundings. A few rough army tables and chairs
she found somewhere are set on the bare ground just inside the door. In what is
left of the room there’s a stove. Her barrels of wine and her supplies
are placed around inside. She and her sister do the cooking and serve whoever
comes that way — us among them! And the remarkable thing is that they can turn
out a very good meal. We’d expect that people in this situation would be gloomy
and morose. But these poor women, driven from their homes so long ago, are not.
They are happy and glad to be back — satisfied, I suppose, even to be alive.
This endurance and bravery in the face of the most terrible
hardships is splendid. This improvised café, with its rusted, battered sign,
well punctured with holes, and these women who came back with willingness and a
smile to try to get together and rebuild the work of a lifetime, will always
represent to me the spirit of France.’

WW1 American ambulance driver’s diary in Lassigny, Oise region, France – Photo: WW1, smiling sisters salvaging chairs from the ruins. BnF

‘The Senegalese soldiers were cheerful. I have been in Senegal,…

‘The Senegalese soldiers were cheerful. I
have been in Senegal, and when in Congo, I had a Senegalese for a headman, so I
know a few words of their language. When I hailed them in their language, they
would immediately flash a dazzling smile as they hailed me back.’

WW1, Bayonvillers, American ambulance driver’s diary – History of the American Field Service in France – Photo: WW1, France, a dazzling smile –