Women’s History Month in a Pandemic

Well this was our second Women’s History Month in a pandemic but at least Mollie’s War was prepared for it.   March 2020 the world shut down due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).   We did one in-person presentation in Savanna, Illinois on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2020).   It was a wonderful time and such a beautiful setting.  Little did we know the changes on the horizon.  After March 12, all of our presentations were canceled/postponed.  We didn’t have another presentation until April 2020 when organizations started using Zoom to deliver content to audiences.  We have continued to use Zoom since then.   One positive note is the fact that people can join from all over the country!  But the biggest negative is not having the audience reactions and interactions–and not getting to meet people in person.  When it is safe to do so, we are hoping to travel the state to meet some of the people that we have seen on Zoom.   It is difficult to assess reactions when everyone is muted and in little video boxes–and sometimes when a webinar is being used, you don’t even see the video boxes.

We met many interesting people during March 2021.   We spoke in DeKalb at Elwood House, Lansing Library on International Women’s Day, Champaign Genealogy Society, Sycamore Library and Arlington Heights Library.   It was so nice meeting people who were genuinely interested in history and were delighted  that my mother and her family saved all of her “stuff.”     If they had not saved this information, there would not have been an accurate story.  I’ve enjoyed discovering this new audience of people interested in what the women did in WWII, a story that is not told often.

One of my favorite times from this month was when our grandchildren stayed over during spring break and I had a presentation.  Our seven year old granddaughter, Hava, wanted to see my practice session.   So she joined me–she told me that I had a lot of information.   As I was talking and showing the slides, she asked many questions.  What usual takes 45 minutes took almost an hour and a half.   She was very interested.   One of her questions occurred when I was showing the slide of children being evacuated from London to safer places during the buzz bombing.   She wanted  to know if the children ever saw their parents again—what a question but so appropriate for a child of the 2020s.  

Mollie’s War is now on the 2021-2022 Road Scholars Speakers Bureau from Illinois Humanities

I am incredibly proud to have been selected as a Road Scholar from Illinois Humanities for the next two years to continue telling my mother’s story, Mollie’s War. This is the story of the women who served in the military during WWII. I have had the privilege and opportunity to travel across Illinois as part of Illinois Humanities over the last six years. If you are looking for an interesting story for your group, please contact me.

Mollie’s War Presentation on Zoom on April 22, 2020

I am very happy to announce my first Zoom presentation. My sister and I met the president of our local chapter of NOW (National Organization of Women) on the train a few months ago. She asked me to speak at the organization’s next Virtual meeting

Dear NOW members and supporters, Our next virtual (online) chapter meeting, at 7:00 p.m. next Wednesday, will feature a presentation by Cyndee Schaffer, co-author of the fascinating book Mollie’s War: The Letters of a World War II WAC in Europe. Ms. Schaffer will discuss women in the military during the Second World War, and in particular, her mother Mollie Schaffer’s experiences as a member of the Women’s Army Corps (the WACs) by taking you on a journey from inspiration to publication.

Women’s History Month 2020

March 2020 has been a most unusual and unpredictable month.  Little did we know how the world would change in a very short time.   We are all “in shelter at home” and just trying to make it through the day.  But our essential workers–health care professionals, grocery store employees, pharmacy employees, truck drivers and other who must go to work every day–deserve a huge thank you.  We are so appreciative of what they are doing to make the world work. 
Mollie’s War started the month with 8 presentations but due to the coronavirus, we were only able to deliver 2 of them.   First we traveled to Tinley Park where we met other Baby Boomers whose mothers and fathers served in WWII.   Then we traveled to Savanna, IL, a beautiful town on the Mississippi River.   It was a lovely weekend and we explored the town and even walked into Iowa.     The presentation was in the Historical Museum which is under construction.  We met many interesting people including a man who talked about how he trained soldiers to fire guns and re-assemble the guns–and it was a definite problem when they lost the parts and couldn’t re-assemble  the gun–something that Mollie talks about in a video .  The museum director took me upstairs so that I could learn about an Illinois woman–Jennie Hodgers who dressed as a man–Albert Cashier during the Civil War……now I have an Illinois connection about women who dressed as men in order to serve. 

Wonderful Visit on the Queen Mary

We spend a few days in December on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA where it is now docked after being a luxury ocean liner and troop ship during WWII.  The Queen Mary, a luxury ocean liner built in 1936 but put into service in 1942 as a troop ship during WWII, was one of the fastest ships in the world.  She  was very useful during WWII because she could out-run the German submarines and torpedoes. And therefore she was never hit during her run in WWII.   My mother was on this ship when she returned from Europe after serving in Europe in WWII.  

We got a behind the scenes tour of the ship and talked with the Commodore (and historian) about the ship and my mother’s sailing.   It was an amazing and informative visit on the ship.

Mollie’s War is featured as a Veteran’s Day program in News and Announcements from Illinois Humanities

Illinois Humanities’ Road Scholars Speakers Bureau will feature a Veteran’s Day program highlighting the often overlooked, yet vital, role of women during World War II. Join us November 10th in Sterling, IL, for The Journey to Mollie’s War: WACS and WW II, a presentation by Cyndee Schaffer, which draws on the letters of her mother, Mollie Weinstein Schaffer, a member of the Women’s Army Corps in Europe that traces the footsteps of the women who were stationed in London before D-Day and during the post D-Day German buzz bomb attacks.

Printers Row LitFest 2019

Please join me in Chicago at the Printers Row LitFest this Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9 at the Midwest Writers Association’s Tent W which we are sharing with the Windy City Historians. I will be there all day both days to discuss MWA and sell/discuss my book, “Mollie’s War: The Letters of a WWII WAC.” Hope to see you over the weekend!

Women’s History Month 2019

What a wonderful start to Women’s History Month—speaking on March 1st to high school girls at Resurrection College Prep High School in Chicago about my mother’s story and the story of the women who served in the military in WWII. The students were so attentive!