July, 2, 2016

Bringing Life to Two War Diaries


“My parents met on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, in a hospital in Paris. The whole city was celebrating the end of the First World War!

My father had been in the trenches on the French front lines for two years, serving as a 1st lieutenant in the 2nd Division of the Army.  After being seriously wounded, he spent two month recovering. He met my mom in the hospital hallway, just as he was being discharged.

Mother was a YMCA girl, the USO of the time. She and a friend were bringing flowers given to them by a flower vender on the street: ‘Viva Les Americans!’.  They ran into each other a day later, at which point he asked her to the Folies Bergère, and obviously it went on from there.

It turned out that both of them were keeping a diary. They describe meeting each other, their continuing courtship in Paris, through the army’s occupation in Germany, and then after the War, life in New York City.  They were married in 1922.

These diaries have brought their story vividly alive for me; their personalities coming through in an unbelievable way, always reinforcing my feelings of my great fortune of having such wonderful parents.”

– Phoebe Ballard Ford

On this Independence Day, we are honored to share Phoebe’s story of her parents and their incredible war time diaries. StoryKeep has collaborated with Phoebe to build an archive, produce a feature-length tribute film, and produce an accompanying book.

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