Small business Saturday, November 29, 2014

Please join me as “A Book Above” bookstore celebrates small business Saturday on November 29, 2014.  They will have local authors talking about their books and selling their books.  I will be there from 10 am to noon.  A Book Above is located at 136 W. Vallette #6 in Elmhurst (southwest corner of York and Vallette Roads).  Hope you will be able to stop by.

5 Star Review from Reader’s Favorite

Reviewed By Michelle Robertson for Readers’ Favorite

Readers often only read about the men who served in World War II. What about the women? There were 150,000 women who served in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. Come learn of one such brave woman as she served in England, France, and Germany. She tells of her adventures from basic training in Daytona Beach through to the day she approached the American shore line to return home. Come read a firsthand account about the crucial time in America when a woman, Mollie Weinstein Schaffer, put on a uniform and became a vital part of history. Mollie’s War: The Letters of a World War II WAC in Europe written by Mollie Weinstein Schaffer, Cyndee Schaffer, and Jennifer G. Mathers is a collection of correspondence from Mollie Weinstein Schaffer and her family and friends as she ventured overseas with the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.

Mollie’s letters are simply astonishing. A reader can expect to get a very vivid mental picture of the lifestyle, environment, and events of a civilian girl and military woman during the 1940s. Each letter is a memorable treasure. Mollie talks of the simple pleasures of a young girl such as dances, boyfriends, proposals, and then more serious issues such as getting into the duties of a military female; transcribing Nazi Experimental Data; aiding refugees and citizens of the war in Europe, and missionary work. Reading this incredible historical memoir, a reader can expect to be engaged thoroughly with the pure raw emotion and imagine it as it happened that day, as well gain a deeper perspective on Mollie Schaffer’s experiences, both personal and work related. Mollie’s War would be appreciated by readers interested in history, war, historical women, or the 1940s.

Article about Mollie’s War in North Shore Weekend Magazine

Please read the article in today’s North Shore Weekend magazine about Mollie’s War and my continuing effort to bring the history of the WWII women in the military, in general, and my mother, in particular, to libraries and organizations statewide (Illinois). It is on page 8. Thank you to Simon Murray for a wonderful article and Joel Lerner for great pictures.

Chicago Writers Association Speakers Bureau

Chicago Writers Association unveiled its 2014-2015 Speakers Bureau.  If you are looking for a speaker about women in the military during WWII, please keep me in mind.  I am listed on the Speakers Bureau in the History section:  The Journey to Mollie’s War :  From Inspiration to Publication.

Mollie’s War at Book Club

I had a wonderful time telling Mollie’s story at the St. Paul Lutheran Church book club in Villa Park on Monday evening. Most all of the women walked in carrying a copy of “Mollie’s War.” They bought it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. I autographed the books and then proceeded to my presentation. The questions were amazing and most everyone had parents who served in WWII or other relatives. One woman talked about her friend’s mother who was a WAVE during the war. It was a very personal journey for everyone.

Road Scholar for 2014-2015

I am so honored and excited. I just received an email that the Illinois Humanities Council has selected me to join its Road Scholars roster for 2014-15 with my presentation entitled “The Journey to Mollie’s War: WACS and World War II.”
For over a decade, the IHC Road Scholars Speakers Bureau has been sending Illinois’ finest writers, poets, historians, anthropologists, and living history actors to present to audiences across Illinois. For a small fee, non-profit organizations are able to bring a humanities speaker to their community and share the Road Scholars experience with local audiences, friends and family. IHC takes care of the rest.

Celebrating the Fourth of July

As we all celebrate the Fourth of July, I just wanted to share the letter that Mollie wrote home on the first Fourth of July that she spent in the Army in 1944.   She was stationed “somewhere in England.”

Somewhere in England
4 July 1944
Dear Beck:
Just dropping you a few lines to let you know I am okay and feeling fine and hope everyone at home is too.  I suppose you all went out today and enjoyed some park or lake. I certainly hope Mom and Pop didn’t stay home.
We WACs were give a very nice lunch today at our Mess Hall.  It was all so unexpected—I mean the fanfare.  When we walked into our Mess Hall it was decorated with flags of England, France and the good ole USA.  We even had music from an old broken victrola.  Mom would be interested in this—we had fried chicken, peas, potatoes, lettuce, coffee, which I have now grown used to and some very nice cake—we also had the inevitable spinach.

Remembering D-Day

Remembering D-Day and all of the soldiers who served and gave their lives for our freedom.    Seventy years ago today, the Allies launched the largest military operation in history against occupied France on the beaches of Normandy.  And seventy years ago today, my mother was stationed in London as a WAC (Women’s Army Corps) assisting in the preparations for this attack and working around the clock.  Later in August she was transferred to Normandy.

Recollections of VE Day

Today is VE Day…..69 years ago the Allies declared Victory in Europe on May 8, 1945. Here is an excerpt from a letter my mother sent home after VE Day.
“Day after VE Day
Dear Beck:
…It is Loddo’s and my day off – most fortunate, too, because last night we did not have bed check for the first time since we’ve been overseas.
….The streets were jammed. It was practically impossible for any vehicle to get through. GIs were driving trucks and jeeps with people crowded all over the vehicles, as best they could through the crowds. Every once in a while a crazy jeep driver loaded down with GIs, French gals, and WACs, too, would maneuver his jeep through a crowd and whiz around the block, he’d have a siren going & flags waving in the breeze. What a sight! A couple officers tried to get Loddo and me into their jeep—but we didn’t feel like risking our necks. Everyone was just going wild.
This took place in the afternoon. In the evening Loddo and I ventured forth –….
It didn’t make any difference where you wanted to go—the crowds just swept you along with them…We finally managed to get back to … the Arc de Triomphe … & almost was smothered in the crowds. The Arc was flood lit & the flags of the Allied nations were flying in the evening breeze…
Frankly, I don’t know what the Army will do with us, but please don’t think just because VE Day has been declared – all I have to do is run out to the docks and grab a boat home. The Army doesn’t operate like that!…
We are watching a lot of the French people stroll by. It’s all very interesting and enjoyable. I’m thinking back to the first day of my service and honestly speaking—I’ve never regretted being in. I’ve a wealth of experience in so many things that civilian life could have never given me. However, now that we can see the beginning of the end, I am not sorry that I shall have to give up this nomadic existence and return to normalcy.
We are watching a group of huge planes flying low. It’s so wonderful to feel that every plane flying over is friendly.”