It’s March and that means Women’s History Month. It is always an exciting time for us as we tell Mollie’s story and that of the women who served in the military in WWII.
Happy New Year from Mollie’s War. We had a wonderful 2017 traveling across the state of Illinois. We have traveled from Antioch to Sandwich to Crete to Rock Island to Mount Vernon and all places in between. We’ve seen parts of Illinois that we didn’t know existed. We truly have a beautiful state—from the River Walk along the Mississippi in Rock Island to the working windmill in Fulton to the historical sites in Mount Vernon. For the first time we traveled out of Illinois to Milwaukee and presented a program at the VA Medical Center in Milwaukee.
We met such interesting people including a gentleman who was one of five brothers who served in WWII and everyone came home! Many women talked about female relatives–mothers and aunts– who served in WWII and in fact woman talked about an aunt who served as the head of the WACs in the 1960s. Another gentleman talked about serving during WWII on a aircraft carrier in the Pacific when he was 17 and how he aged to 90 in just 10 days. But he said he would do it over again! A WWII Veteran who landed on Normandy in the first wave told his first-hand account of the landing and driving a jeep. One woman talked about growing up in Iowa, seeing the WACs as they drilled (at Fort Des Moines) and how the WACs would go to church in the neighborhood. There are just so many stories!
It was so exciting today to hear “Mollie’s War” being read by Catherine Byers for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. One of my friends who uses this service showed me and let me listen to my book. If you know anyone who uses this service please let them know about the recording of “Mollie’s War.”
I am very happy to take part in a panel discussion about writing non-fiction at the American Writers Museum in downtown Chicago. I will be discussing memoir writing. Please join me and several other non- fiction writers for a panel discussion on Thursday, July 27th at 6 PM. For more information, please visit:
We had a great time and an awesome location at Printers Row. It was in the shade and near the front of Lit Fest. We had two tables and so there was plenty of room to spread out.
Reno Lovison as AuthorsBroadCast video recorded members, who showed their books at our Midwest Writers table. You can find all of the videos at http://authorsbroadcast.com/our-facebook-live-results-at-chicago-lit-fest-2017/
This year, the Harper College–one book, one Harper focus will be on Veterans. They have selected five texts that they believe will be of interest to a diverse range of Harper students, faculty, and staff.
I am so excited to be selected for this program. I will be presenting “The Journey to Mollie’s War: WACS and WWII” at Harper College on Monday, April 17th at 1 PM.
Well, Women’s History is over but it has been a great time for Cyndee and “Mollie’s War” as Cyndee and Doug have crisscrossed the state telling Mollie’s story of her service in the WACs during WWII—and how Mollie’s generation laid the groundwork for future generations of women in the military. We traveled from Chillicothe near Peoria to Great Lakes in North Chicago and even to the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Milwaukee–and all points in between. We met other women who served as WACs at the same time as Mollie. One woman served in Europe and said that it brought memories. Another woman talked about serving in the US during WWII. One gentleman brought the “New York Port of Embarkation” card showing that his aunt arrived in New York just one month before my mother returned from Europe. She also returned on the Queen Mary. We even met a woman who served bagels on Michigan Avenue during WWII! Several younger women, one Marine and one Sailor thanked my mother for what her generation did for them—they could be “all they can be.”
Veterans Day 2016 was a very busy time for Mollie’s War as we crisscrossed through the Chicago land area from Olympia Fields to Huntley and all places in between. We talked with 4 and 5 year old children at a preschool in Elmhurst as well as 90+ year olds who served in WWII. Everyone had a story to tell whether it was the woman who talked about her parents who both decided to enlist. Her mother was accepted but her father was not–then they had to get her mother out of her enlistment. There was the gentleman who served in both WWII and Korea. The gentleman who served in WWII and talked about his father serving in WWI and being in the forest area in Northern France when the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918 ending WWI.
All in all it was a very meaningful time for Mollie’s War.
The online book club of the 1st WAC Separate Battalion, Headquarters Company invited me to hangout at their first book club meeting to discuss “Mollie’s War” using “Google Hangouts.” It was my first time using Google Hangouts but so much fun. There were lots of good questions and comments. I so appreciated it as they said–Mollie was a huge inspiration for the creation of this group. Meeting a group of women committed to sharing the story of the WACs by reenactment was awesome!