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!

Booked First Presentation of 2020

I am so excited— just booked my first presentation of 2020! I am so grateful and honored that people are still eager to hear my mother’s story ten years after we published our book. I wish that my mother were still here to be a part of this. Thank you, Mom, for all you did and for your service to our country in WWII. I miss you every day.
2020 is the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Mollie’s War is on the Illinois Humanities Road Scholar Speakers Bureau for 2018 – 2020

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 four years. If you are looking for an interesting story for your group, please contact me.

Mollie’s War and the Illinois Bicentennial

This year is Illinois’ Bicentennial celebration and we have had the privilege and honor to be a part of Illinois Humanities Road Scholar Speaker’s Bureau Bicentennial edition.    We’ve met so many interesting people– as we traveled throughout the state– who served our country whether in WWII or subsequent times.    We met some people who talked about their mothers being Rosie the Riveter, fathers and mothers serving in WWII all over the world.   One woman talked about a friend who was a WAC and was in the same WAC recruiting movie as my mother.   Her mother used to go the movie theater every day to see her daughter in the movie.
I also learned so much about the WACs stationed in Illinois.  WACs during WWII served in most states in various capacities at the army bases. They were assigned to replace soldiers for overseas duty based on the need of army camp/post.  Most were placed in clerical jobs.   However, some performed nontraditional jobs such as radio operators, electricians, and air-traffic controllers.
University of Illinois was a major military school during both WWI and WWII.   In 1943, they were the first university to establish a WATC program–Women’s Auxiliary Training Corps— which set an example for other universities to follow. The WATC prepared female students for the WAAC/WAC just as the ROTC prepared male students for the Army.
The first contingency of WACS was assigned to Camp Ellis in Fulton County in January 1944.  Camp Ellis was a United States World War II Army Service Forces Unit Training Center and prisoner-of-war camp. Since the WACs were experienced in the Army routine, they started working in their new jobs within a day of arriving.  In fact, two of the WACs because of their skills as telephone operators, were assigned as the telephone operators for the famous Roosevelt-Churchill Conference at Quebec, Canada in September 1944.
In April 1945 a unit of African American WACs who were medical technicians was assigned to Gardiner Hospital in Chicago.

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!!!!