|Jo Maynard carefully locked the door of the cottage she had called home for the past few years. She slowly made her way down the path towards the waiting car. As she reached the gate, her sister and brother were both waiting to give her final hugs and kisses.|
“Goodbye, Joey-baba. Take care of yourself,” Madge said as she drew her close. “I’ll miss having you so close after all these years.”
“Goodbye, Madge. You’ll have to come and visit us as soon as you can.” Jo released her sister and turned to her brother. “Look after yourself, Dick. I wish we’d been able to stay in the same country for longer.”
“I know, Jo. We’ll see you regularly, though. You’ll have to come and stay with us for a few days when you come to visit,” he replied.
“I will.” Jem sounded the car horn at this point. He wanted to be on the road and Jo was keeping him waiting.
“There’s Jem. Go and get in the car before he leaves without you.” Dick gave her a gentle push and Jo reluctantly left her brother and sister to climb in the front seat beside her brother-in-law. Dick came round and shut the door for her before he stood back and wrapped his arm around Madge. They waved as Jem set off and Jo returned the gesture with tears in her eyes.
Jem left her to herself as he drove steadily along. He knew that Jo was upset at having to move to Switzerland when she had only just settled back in Howells. She’d had a rather stressful few months as she’d had to pack up her home and make her farewells to family and friends round about. Now, as he glanced at her, he noticed that she had fallen asleep. Leaving her to her slumbers, Jem concentrated on the roads. He was driving her and her family to Dover to catch the ferry to France, whence they would get the train to Switzerland and Jack, who had gone on ahead to set up the new Sanatorium and be there to meet the furniture vans.
When Jo woke two hours later, they were well on their way to Dover. She looked out of the window at the passing landscape and allowed her thoughts to wander. She was going to miss living in England. The cottage held many memories for her, both happy and sad. She knew that leaving it was a big wrench, but she was aware that she was also facing a new challenge and a new adventure. At least she’d been able to prepare for this removal. Her first one hadn’t been so easy. She’d been unable to take anything other than the clothes on her back and it had been extremely traumatic for her and the others involved. Although this latest removal had been quite stressful, it was nothing compared to that one. This time, she was in much better health and she didn’t have to worry about being caught by Nazis.
Jem stopped the car outside a hotel so they could have a proper breakfast and stretch their legs a little. Once everyone had eaten, Jem packed them back in and continued the long drive to the port since Jo was hoping to catch the early afternoon ferry and reach Paris that evening.
Once they were on the road again, Jo returned to her thoughts. She'd known both great happiness and sadness in her little cottage in Howells. Her family made it home for her. Not just her own children, but also Robin and Daisy who had lived with her and her husband almost since their marriage. Though she knew that both of them had gone on to live their own lives, she knew that she would miss them, even more so as they would no longer be in the same country.
Jo wondered how she would manage being so far away from her sister. They'd never spent much time apart. Even when Jo had been a patient in the Sanatorium, Madge had visited her every week without fail, keeping Jo up to date with all the news. Jem was another person she knew she'd miss as well. He'd been almost like a father to her and had looked after her throughout her illness. She knew that she was so much better, now and that moving to Switzerland, with its healthy atmosphere, would help her to continue to improve. Her appointments would still be done by Jem and in a way she was relieved that she would still be seeing him. She knew that he was able to be her doctor much easier than Jack had found it on the few occasions when he'd had no choice. She loved her husband, but she preferred to discuss her own illness with someone who wasn't quite so involved. She knew that Jack kept an eye on how she was doing, but he was sensible enough to leave her be unless he felt it necessary to step in.
Jo’s thoughts turned to the sad times she’d had as well. It was in that cottage that she’d received the devastating news that Jack had been swept overboard from his ship during the war. Jo had been expecting their first child when the telegram had arrived and she had quite ill from the shock and grief over losing her husband. Luckily, for all concerned, Jem and Madge had been there for her and had helped her through the dark times until Jack had contacted them to say he was still alive.
When Jem pulled up at the docks in Dover, he waited until the others had climbed out, and then turned to Jo. Seeing that she had tears in her eyes, he decided to give her some advice.
“It’s a new adventure for you, Jo. A new challenge. I think that this time you’ll enjoy this challenge much more than any others that have been thrown in your path.”
“I know. It’s just having to up sticks and move again so soon. I thought we’d be staying Howells for longer than we have done.”
“Just remember that we’re all here when you need us and we’re not about to disappear as soon as the ferry departs. You’ll be back to visit regularly and you’re always welcome to stay with us any time. We’ll also be coming out to visit you, as well.”
“I will. Thanks, Jem. I still think Madge did rather well when she married you.” Jo climbed out of the car before Jem could reply and began to organise herself and her family ready for boarding the ferry. Jem gave them a hand and he held Jo close just before they embarked.
“Take care, Joey. We’ll be seeing you very soon.” Jo kissed him and nodded.
Once she was on board, she stayed on deck to wave as the ferry set off for France and the beginning of her new challenge.