It’s been a wonderful and productive Women’s History month for “Mollie’s War” as we’ve traveled across Illinois from Johnsburg to Belleville to Batavia and lots of places in between telling Mollie’s story and the history of the women who served in the Army during WWII. I’ve met lots of interesting people and so many people who have a connection to WWII. One woman told about her mother who graduated high school during WWII and was given a temporary teaching certificate so that she could teach in her small Illinois town where they needed teachers. Another woman told me about her career as a WAC and how it turned into a career in civilian life. A man talked about being a history teacher and not knowing very much about the WACs and what they did in the military. Some female college students who were returning Veterans were just fascinated by Mollie’s story. Several people commented that they did not know that WACs went overseas. For me it was a real treat to speak to an Army Reserve unit in Forest Park. Meeting these Soldiers and interacting with them about my mother’s story made me so appreciate all the sacrifices that my mother and all of these Soldiers make every day.
I had a wonderful time presenting “Mollie’s War” to Autumn Green at Wright Campus a few days ago. All of the WWII Veterans in attendance told me how much they enjoyed it. One of the women who had been a WAAC/WAC said how relevant it was for her and brought back so many memories. She was someone whose skills learned in the military helped her with a career in data processing… and she became the head of data progressing for a large company in Oregon. (Data processing—that was a long time ago!) She bought a copy of the book for her daughter.
Today would have been my parent’s 69th anniversary. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. Their love story was a story for all time….
My mother, Mollie Weinstein Schaffer met my dad, Jack Schaffer, after the end of World War II. She went on a blind date with Jack on New Year’s Eve 1945 which was set up by his sister who believed they would be a perfect match.
“After their second date, Mollie said to Jack, ‘For two cents, I’d marry you.'” Jack promptly gave Mollie two cents and within three weeks of their first date, they were married in Chicago.
They remained married for 54 years until Jack’s death in 2000 at the age of 92. Mollie passed away in April 2012 at the age of 95.
Colonel Fred Rosenberg and I had a great time presenting a program to the Chicago Jewish Historical Society on December 7th. Interviewing four WWII Veterans was an enlightening experience! Please read the article in their fall journal about the presentation: http://chicagojewishhistory.org/media/1152/CJH-4-2014.pdf
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.