The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
The Girl I Left behind
I well remember her as she stood on the pier at Port Melbourne that Saturday afternoon when I left: fresh, beautiful and dry-eyed—aye! dry-eyed, though the glisten in those grey orbs told that tears were not very far away. Her talk was all cheerful while we waited lor the boat to put out— not for the world would she make it hander for me by any outward display of the emotions which, l knew, were sorely trying her fortitude. Her "Good-bye, Bert. Gooa luck, and—God bless you; I'll always write", as the boat slowly swung out, was as good as a volume of promises to me. And, among the crowd on the pier, I could see only one figure as we gradually drew farther apart. Until we were right out of sight, 1 could see the brave flutter of her handkerchief, which might pardonably have been at her eyes.
I often see that little handkerchief waving before my eyes—if I'm doing something which is perhaps not quite on the square, it seems to say, in Morse code, "Pray the game"; if I'm down in the dumps, it serves to cheer me up; and on sentimental moonlight nights, I can always see it waving out its message of steadfast hope from far across the seas.
Her promise to write is faithfully kept, for her letters are as regular as the mails, and always newsy and cheery. She tells me of church, tennis, theatres, Red Cross days, and even makes an heroic attempt to go into the intricacies of football for my benefit; she seems to have the knock of telling all the things which interest me. Her cheery finish up, "Keep on smiling. Lots of love, from Clara", and the little line of barbed wire entanglements, make me feel it's worth while being alive after all, even though I have just had a row with the Q.M., and Deen put on picquet for the second time this week. And men there are the socks she sends—all made by herself in her spare time; besides which, she is always working for the Red Cross. And the parcels of "creature comforts", and the papers and books! Really, I somttimes wonder what I've dune to deserve it all.
It makes me wonder at times, to read of some of our fellows marrying other girls, when, way back home, there are so many girls of the first order of merit—dinkum, bonnie, peerless Aussie girls—constantly working for, and thinking of nothing else but them. Girls whom we knew on the beach, on the tennis courts, at our own country holiday resorts, and in a hundred and one places where we found them true pals and good sports; and whose worth we have doubly learned since the war began. I'd just like to tell them, that there's one here who plumps for them against all comers. So here's to ye, little Australian lady—the red-headed girl, you of the golden locks, our little brunette, and the brown, pig-tailed flapper, be your name Clara, Kate or Euphemia. I speak to you as types. You all know the meaning of the word pal; and the warmest place in our hearts is ever kept for you, cur pals.