2 May 2014

Published April 30, 2014 by rochellewisoff



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  • Copyright - Renee Heath

    PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Renee Heath

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


            “Tell me about the glorious charge of the Light Brigade, Grandpa.”

             “Ah, Tennyson,” said my grandfather with a mischievous twinkle in his faded green eyes. “School?”

            “I have to write a report about the poem.”  

            “‘Cannon to the right…cannon to the left’…tommyrot!  Real valley of death was that bloomin’ pestilential hospital.”

            “But you were wounded. A hero.”

            “Poppycock! We just did what we were told. The true hero was the angel who cared for us. The lady with the lamp, we called her.”

            “What happened to her?”

             “For all her troubles, she contracted Crimean fever and is a homebound invalid.” 


Florence Nightingale circa 1854




112 comments on “2 May 2014

  • My favourite, favourite poem as a boy – and how it is a parable for life itself. We all grew up with the story of Florence Nightingale, so in fact your tale is my life before me again. The hallmark of a great writer, surely. I am humbled, Rochelle on your page, always.

    • Dear Managua,

      In the research I found Miss Nightingale to be a fascinating woman. Although an invalid, she lived to be ninety. Too much to cram into a hundred words but a great learning experience for this author.

      Your comments humble me and make me smile.

      Thank you,


  • Brilliant Rochelle. It was very nice to connect the image with this story. I could never thought of that. That’s why you are such a brilliant story writer. Loved it and your style.

  • Not just a story but a reminder of the history of Crimea.. So many times we have knowledge about the parts but not the picture… a story like this combine the pieces of history with what’s on the news, and literature,… maybe this will be just a story that connect the pieces like this can make us truly understand … and maybe learn.

    • Dear Björn,

      Time seems to minimize the horrors of war, doesn’t it? I wonder if we’ll ever really learn anything from war aside from how to build more effective weapons.

      Thank you for your comments.



  • My Grandpa died before I could hear his stories, but my Pa’s were just as good. He didn’t go to the Crimea, but he was born in 1905 so he had seen a lot. Well written story, Rochelle,

    • Dear Liz,

      My dad was wounded in battle during WWII. He only told funny boot camp stories, but never much about the battles. I never thought much about it until my brother pointed out that fact recently. I really can’t imagine the horrors he endured and, in retrospect, it explains a lot.

      Thank you for your comments and compliment



  • Great story as usual, Rochelle. The old photos and the poem brought it to life. I love that poem. My dad was in the U.S. Navy in WWI and my brother, much older than me, in WWII. Dad had a younger cousin who saw more of the WWII land war but didn’t speak of the worst things. He won medals for saving two men’s lives but spoke of it as something anyone would have done. He pulled them to safety from the line of fire.

  • Rochelle,
    I just watched a documentary about the Crimean War a little while ago, and it talked about her quite a bit. Awesome story. You’ve used this picture in layers, as the lady with the lamp, and also with her being used up in service, like the candle. Great job.

    • Dear David,

      Thank so so much for your comments. I learned a lot in the process of research for this one. To me Florence Nightingale was almost a fictitious character. So I’m pleased to learn a bit about who she really was and happy that my tiny story worked.



  • Dear Rochelle

    One of my favourite ladies from history. Such determination, such courage to go where she did, at the time she did.

    It is a sad reflection on mankind on how little is really learned from wars. Sadly Crimea is being fought over all over again…

    Take care


    • Dear Dee,

      I appreciate your compliments and agree with your comments. Great courage indeed. Wars will be fought, I fear, until there’s no one left to fight. :(

      Thank you,



  • What a wonderful tribute to such an inspiring woman. It’s very touching that the grandpa gave her the recognition she deserved, as opposed to making the story all about himself. It’s a sad history, but one that needs to be told in the hope that one day, history may stop repeating itself. Great piece, and I especially loved the link because, somehow, I’d never heard of that poem before. Very powerful.

    • Dear Adelie,

      It was certainly an education for the author this week. I knew very little about Florence Nightingale or the Crimean War which shows just how well I paid attention in school. ;)

      Glad you enjoyed.

      Thank you,



  • First off – loving the new intro images. I appreciate there’s a lot of info to cram in, but these make it much easier to digest. Great job, you and Janet!
    Your story is very comfortable to read, in spite of a difficult subject. It really feels like a boy and his Grandpa, chatting in a safe family environment. A bit of concrit for you (of the most unhelpful kind, I’m afraid). The Grandpa’s voice is very smooth and believable, but the long sentence including “my mates and I” feels a bit formal by comparison.
    This is, though, like picking out flaws in a diamond – a tiny thing.

    • Dear Jennifer,

      I apologize for being woefully slow in responding this week. It seems my writing has gotten in the way of reading. Not a bad thing. ;)

      I appreciate your concrit and would be interested in hearing what would seem more natural to you. Aside from that, referring to it as a diamond…well, I don’t mind that.

      Glad you like the changes in the site. Janet did a brilliant job. I’m hoping to talk her into doing a few more. It’s wonderful to have such a great support system in Friday Fictioneers.



      • Hmm… What’s that quote about “if someone tells you something they don’t like, they are usually right; if they tell you how to fix it, they are usually wrong”? I think my objections were “many of my mates” and “full recovery”, plus the fact she was introduced three ways.
        “Poppycock! The true hero was there. The lady with the lamp. Because of that sweet angel, many of my mates and I made a full recovery.”
        “Poppycock! We just did what we were told. The true hero was the one who put us back together. The lady of the lamp, we called her.”

        • As you know, I’ve no qualms about disagreeing. Nor am I too proud to edit when I do agree. The word count was only thrown off by one over. Did some tweaking. I appreciated the help.

          • And tweaked some more. “put us back together” sounded too much like she was a surgeon so I went with “cared for.” That put me to 99 so I added “The” back to lady with the lamp. I only hope some poor confused soul wasn’t in the midst of reading.

            Thanks again, Jennifer. Isn’t this what we’re supposed to be about?

  • A truly original take on the prompt – loved it. And coincidentally I just finished a book which revolved around a nurse suffering from shell shock from the sights in the field hospital. Well done Rochelle, as ever.

    • Dear Sandra,

      We never think of nurses suffering shell shock or PTSD, but no doubt it’s common. It has to be. What unspeakable horrors a war zone nurse must see. Thank your comments, compliments and support. ;)



  • True enough! Some of our greatest heres go unsung, the tireless nurses working in the hospitals after calamity and war. Thanks for reminding us all of wonders like Florence Nightengale. Wonderful story as always, Rochelle!

    • Dear Eric,

      I was (and still am) a huge MASH fan. On one of the interview episodes, Klinger said of the nurses, “They give life, can you do better than that?” This was one of those stories where the research took longer and was almost more fun than writing the story itself. ;)

      Thank you.



  • Rochelle, this is an excellent tribute to not only Florence Nightingale, but to all those nurses who fought, even against doctors, for better hygiene and practices that we take for granted. The lack of them often killed more than battles did. Well done, you.


  • I remember doing a “report” on Florence Nightingale in middle school. I was fascinated! This is yet another wonderful piece of historical fiction. I so look forward to your stories each week, as well as the extra goodies you send our way!

  • That is a very interesting photo, I haven’t seen many of the submissions yet but I’m looking forward to reading people’s interpretations of it.

    I remember learning about Florence Nightingale’s criticism of Mary Seacole, and my teacher actually giving me a somewhat negative impression of the former. My teacher led us to believe that Flo acted rather vindictively towards Seacole and took a lot of credit for her work, but after doing research later on, I’m not sure that’s entirely true.

    • Dear Lauren,

      Now it’s your turn to educate me. I had to look up Mary Seacole. she looks like someone I’d like to know more about. There are a few conflicting stories out there on FN, hard to know exactly what to believe, isn’t it?



  • I love this week’s photo prompt, Rochelle, and I enjoyed your choice to write about the Lady with the Lamp. I was a little confused by the grandchild writing a paper for school as I would have placed the conversation somewhere before the beginning of the 19th century. Were British children composing reports on paper in grammar school while American children were still doing their homework on slate boards? I don’t know. :-)

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    • Geez–I can’t type today, That should read “20th century.” I did a bit of math in my head and figured that the conversation would likely have taken place in the 1880s or ’90s.

      • Dear Marie,

        As best as I can find, (of course I looked this up) the slate was used as ‘scratch paper’. If a report was written, it was written on paper. And I also don’t give the age of the grandson. ;) He might have been at University age. Ah the hundred word limit.

        Thank you.



    • Dear Patrick,

      The point is that the poet romanticized and exaggerated the war. Naturally he wasn’t going to write the reality. Infectious disease and dysentery don’t make for good verse. ;)

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the read.



  • nice! i can picture grandpa whittling from his rocking chair on the front porch with a screen door that snaps shut:) the pic still looks like cake frosting to me. i’ll try my best…

    • Dear Contactrida,

      It’s nice to know when a reader can visualize the picture I’ve painted. There have been a few writers this week writing cake frosting stories, Since cake decorating is my day job I will rarely, if ever, write about it. ;)



  • You have an amazing mind, Rochelle. I love your story and the bit of history woven in. My mind works in far too lineal, and often quite a literal fashion from the prompts. I will be a bit late, but once again I have been inspired by the prompt! Thanks! ;)

    • Almost forgot, I love the new informational image too! Do you think one might be created for us to use as an intro for our readers? Or, would that be too much like branding? Just a thought…

      • Dear Lynda,

        Thank you for such lovely comments. The fact that my mind isn’t linear, more like squiggles and lace, made it difficult from me in school. ;) Seems to work for me now and I love history, which I’m sure everyone has guessed. Perhaps it’s because I’ve reached the certain age where much of my past is history.

        Glad you like the new images. The credit goes to Janet Webb. And you have permission to use them. In fact I think it’s a great idea to “brand” the stories.

        Thank you again.



  • Ah! the Charge of the Light Brigade. Wonderful poem but when you have to learn it in school…. :-)

    And nicely tied in with Florence Nightingale too. Love your work :-)

    • Dear Subroto,

      I vaguely remember reading the poem in school. History and learning are so much more fun when you aren’t learning for a grade. ;) Glad you liked my story.

      Thank you.



  • I never, ever read other entries before writing mine … I find it so interesting that you and I picked very different ‘healers’ from the same prompt! Nice story, Rochelle. :)

    • Dear Judah,

      Where a person’s mind will go with a prompt is fascinating. I often start at one point and by the time I have a story I’m not even sure how I got there.

      Thank you,



      • That is so true! All I knew when I started my tale was that a woman looked up to see the candle had burned out. I had no idea where it would go from there. I think that’s a major reason I continue to write and explore fiction – it’s creation is an absolute mystery to me! And it’s not a mystery I want to solve, but one I just want to participate in.

        Peace to you,

    • Thank you, EL. A lot of the credit for the new look goes to Ms. Tea, Janet Webb. Glad you liked tommyrot. I love it, too. Don’t hear it much in the States. I think we should adopt it. Hope you liked my story, too. ;)



  • Dear Chief Justice Bobbi Jo,
    I loved the story and the poem twas one of my favorites as well. Historians often recall the glory and horrors of battle, but few speak of the pain and suffering of the wounded. Thank you for remembering people like Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton.
    – Big Jake Stay Puft

    • Dear Mr. Puft,

      Clara Barton? Who was she? Actually it was a tossup between the two. ;) One of the things I loved about MASH was the spotlight they shined on the nurses.

      Glad you enjoyed my story.


      Her Honor Chief Justice Bobbi Jo

    • Dearest Renee,

      Your timing on sending the photo couldn’t have been better. I love it. Something out of the ordinary and it’s inspired some good stories this week. Glad you liked my story. I always look forward to your sweet comments. You’re one of the ones who makes Friday Fictioneers a pleasure.



  • When I think of Florence Nightingale, it reminds me of the series of Ladybird books we had at school – I can picture the cover of it even now! As always, a great slice of a story. Thank you.

  • What a saint Florence Nightingale was. Great story, Rochelle! Your dialogue is colorful and reflects the time period well (it seems to me…that I am an expert!). Well done. It makes me want to learn more about her.

    • Dear Amy,

      I think there were many facets to the lady, some glowing some not so much. In other words she was incredibly human. ;)

      Glad you liked my story. Thank you.



  • that’s an amazing story and i love learning history through your stories since history was never a favorite subject in school for me. thanks!

    • Dear Sun,

      Ironically, history was never one of my favorite subjects either. In fact, I found it dull and could see no reason for learning facts and dates. I’m still not great at retaining them. But I’ve fallen in love with research and learning more history. Perhaps it’s my age and the fact that so much of my life has been relegated to history.

      Thank you.



  • I’m hoping Karma took care of her in the next life. It’s so much fun to learn history this way–I wish textbooks were as interesting as your 100-word stories.

    • Dear Sorchia,

      Glad you enjoyed my little story. However there were a few conflicts where the facts were concerned.

      I’ve often thought I might’ve been a decent history student if some teacher had told me to write historical fiction. ;)

      Thank for stopping by.



  • So sad. I hope the hero of the Light Brigade was well care for.
    You must be a history buff, Rochelle. Your brief glimpses into history are nice.


    • Dear Phyllis,

      Don’t know if you’d call me a buff, but I do enjoy research and learning bits of history. Guess you could call me more of a trivia buff. ;)

      BTW, I pulled your link because it went to a comcast ad. Not sure what the problem was.



      • Rachelle, I see what happened. The Link Title was off. Comcast address showed up instead of my address. I have no idea how that happened.
        I have corrected it. Please let me know if this works.
        Thanks for letting me know.

  • Hi, I liked your blog very much. My gran used to tell me stories of her mother knitting socks for the soldiers fighting at Crimea. Such a good story teller was she. Thank you

  • I love Florence Nightingale. A true hero as he said. I like this story Rochelle. Thanks for always sharing something fantastic with us

  • Dear Al,

    Glad you liked my story. What’s interesting about heroes I find in my research is that they were human. Historians love to point out their flat sides. It was fun choosing which side to write about. ;)



  • Hi Rochelle, I thought I had written a comment about your story last week, however, I can’t find it. Brilliant! Florence Nightingale was such an inspiration to me as a younger girl, and “The Charge of Light Brigade” was magnificent! Really well thought out and penned! Love it! Nan :)

  • I’m a bit late to the game this time around. Not sure I can add anything that hasn’t already been said, but I’ll try. You’re quite good at making history interesting–something I can’t say for most of the teachers I had growing up. This is a great story.

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