On Veterans Day, in this “year of the woman,” it’s important to remember that World War II was a turning point in American social history. Nineteen million women joined the workforce while their men were away in military service. They made uniforms, boots and K-rations; tanks, amphibious craft, jeeps, ships, planes and munitions. Others stayed home running their households and coping to rear and support their children on their husbands’ meager allotment checks and whatever else they could earn.
In late 1944, my mother Alice Green, encumbered with a toddler and a new baby in a rented house, was caught flat-footed when Dad enlisted. He did so in an effort to exert some control of his impending draft, when even men over thirty were being called up to support our expanded forces overseas.
A press agent and publicist by profession, Alice hoped to earn extra money using her considerable writing talents, even writing scripts for daytime radio drama. She wrote some sample scripts for Irna Phillips, the “mother of the soap opera.” If her samples were successful, she could earn as much as five hundred dollars a week.
She had always dreamed of being a writer and publishing a book. While she made several good starts on a humorous autobiography, there were missing gaps in her life story. I recently discovered more of her manuscripts in a cardboard box in my sister’s overstuffed garage, which were not only well edited and concisely stated, but also laugh-out-loud funny., I knew that, taken together she had at last told her own life story. As she had dreamed all her life, she really did have a book in her, after all.
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As co-author attempting to bring her work to light, I felt it important to set the book in its historical background, during the Golden Years of Radio ( 1920-1945), which also provided my father’s livelihood. Moreover, her experience was part of women’s continuing struggle for equality ever since gaining the vote in 1920. I wanted the book to stand for all the American women also fought side-by-side with their men,. Those not in the service mostly battled for America’s survival on the home front. The new medium radio, on its ascendancy during those years, was the sole companion of many of these women. It brought them world news, often chilling, information and entertainment—as their sole companion during their lonely days and nights.
The resulting volume, Radio: One Woman’s Family in War and Pieces, is illustrated with over fifty historical photographs and sketches. You can read reviews and order the print book, e–book or audiobook version from your bookstore or online on Amazon , Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and read reviews and buy from my Goodreads page. Make it a holiday gift for a favorite Mom, grandmother or friend. She’ll be glad you did!
Until next time, Good words to you,