Women’s History Month 2018

We had an amazing Women’s History Month as we traveled across Illinois telling the story of my mother and the other WACs who served during WWII.   And because this is the Bicentennial of Illinois and I am a Road Scholar again we also told the story of many women who served in Illinois.

Many people shared stories of growing up during WWII even if they were children.   Some people talked about the food rationing and growing up on farms.  One man talked about how his father was not allowed to serve in the military because he had to continue growing the food on his farm.

There were so many interesting and remarkable stories.  One woman talked about a WAC she knew who was in a WAC recruiting movie–probably the same one as my mother (It’s Your War, Too)–and how her mother would go to the movie theater just to see her daughter in the movie.    We met a 93-year old woman who worked in Washington DC doing coding and translation of Japanese.   One woman talked about being a nurse in the Navy during WWII…..she signed up with a friend but the friend didn’t pass the physical and so she continued on in the service without her friend.   One man talked about his father who was a B-17 pilot but because he ranked second in his graduating class he became the instructor and never left the USA.    There was one woman whose father was stationed in Europe the same time as my mother and she wondered if her father may have been one of my mother’s boyfriends in Paris…wouldn’t that have been a coincidence?!!!!!  But I did not see her father’s name in any of my mother’s letters.

One woman talked about her father who served in WWII and how she never heard any of his stories until she started taking him to reunions with his war buddies–and then the stories just flowed.    And that is the story of The Greatest Generation!!!!

Happy New Year from Mollie’s War

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!

Mollie’s War included in the Illinois Humanities Bicentennial Road Scholars Speakers Bureau

I heard today that my presentation, “The Journey to Mollie’s War: WACs and WWII” has been selected to be included on the Illinois Humanities Bicentennial edition of its Road Scholars Speakers Bureau roster. In addition to sharing my mother’s story about her service in WWII, I will also talk about how my mother embraced Chicago (she was from Detroit, MI) and made it her home town! This is a picture of Grandma Mollie with her grandson (our son Jordan Schwartz) in the late 1980’s. What could be more Chicago?????

Audio Version of Mollie’s War is now on the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

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.”

Printers Row June 2017

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/

Mollie’s War is part of One Book, One Harper

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.


Women’s History Month 2017

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.”