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                        Living in America vs England


Author Dawn Griffis

 I was born in England in February 1940, raised in a village on the eastern edge of the Cotswolds, war was raging across Europe and Britain. My earliest memory was the blitz of Coventry November 1940, but to me, just a baby at the time, it was really pretty colours in the sky forming big puffs in reds pinks blues and yellows. The effects of the war was difficult for all, though in the villages it wasn't as bad as in the cities and towns with the nightly bombing raids.

My early education was a one room school house in our village with one teacher. She skillfully taught several grades at the same time. The school had been there so long that I was the 4 generation in my family to be taught there. We moved to Oxford December 1948 - the adjustment was difficult. 1956 I started nurses training at the age of 16. Most of my training was at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury just 6 miles from my village home.

July 1962 I married Mike Griffis an American from Texas, we had two daughters before leaving England in April 1965. Mike was still in the Air force and except for about an 18 month break remained in the Air force until January 1972. We were one of those families that when ever they saw our name, we got new orders to move! Consequently by 1972 we had lived in Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We were always moved in the winter. Fall of 1972 found us in western Tennessee looking for work. It was there that I went to Nurse Practitioner school at Meharry Medical School in Nashville. Not to takeaway from the book our next step was in September 1974 we were working on a Choctaw Indian Reservation; the following May we were on our way to upstate New York to work at a VA medical center. Just a few short years later and after surviving the Blizzard of 77 we were moved to the VA Medical Center in White River Junction VT. Here we stayed- daughters married, gave us 6 grandchildren four boys and two girls. In January 2005 we returned to England to live. Four years later we returned to the States to help our eldest daughter, by renting her house that she did not want to sell - having been widowed for over five years she was re-marrying. During our time in England I finished the first two books I had started about 30 years before they were published by and started the third book - I did not want to face writing the 7th chapter because I did not want to re-live it again, so I didn't write the 6th, that way the 7th wasn't glaring me in the face. Just before leaving England I faced up to what I had to do - the book was finished in April 2009. 

Since 2009, I have written another memoir about our time in Oxford, at the rehab hospital for WWII head injured service men. We lived in the grounds of the hospital and the men there became our playmates. It is called Headington Hill Hall the forgotten years 1939 to 1958. I have just finished another memoir about my gardening experiences, from a young child in Aynho to having a greenhouse business in Vermont. There we introduced English plants and English style plantings. The cover is posted in my March blog and the book should be available very soon. It will have over 100 colour photos in it.

If anyone wishes to contact me my e-mail address is  


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