Oct 17, 2009

Pritzker Military Library

I'm busy this weekend, and it's cold and rainy here in Chicago. Otherwise, I might have visited this place which I first heard about only yesterday. It's the Pritzker Military Library, just north of the Loop, in the Streeterville neighborhood. If and when Chicago ever experiences a nice, fall day, I'll go there and post a report afterwards.
In Candace Thompson's Lincoln Park condo sit hundreds of yellowed pages filled with the loopy cursive writing no longer in favor.

They are letters her mother wrote while living on an Army base in post-World War II Japan and describe life in a Quonset hut, where the refrigerator ran on kerosene, baths were taken in the kitchen sink and two young daughters grew into toddlers. Thompson says the letters are humorous, describing a Spartan life that reveals lessons still applicable today.

"There are universal themes of friendship and family and community and dealing with hardship and scarcities," Thompson, 64, said of the missives for her grandmother in Covington, Ky. "I think the letters are not just entertaining, but they are inspirational."

Thompson has studied the letters, finding clues to how her parents, Bettie and Rex George, chose to raise their three children. And she's compiling the 30 frayed and tattered letters into a memoir, illustrating through the eyes of her young parents how the postwar world developed.

But filtering someone else's experiences into a book is no easy task, so Thompson enrolled in a memoir-writing workshop at the Pritzker Military Library that is designed to help fledgling writers capture their experiences and those of others for a historical record.

Baby boomers like Thompson, as well as veterans from across the armed services and others looking for literary guidance, are involved in the workshop. Whether the dozen or so participants are writing for the public or their families, recording the experiences of the military is an important venture, said Ryan Yantis, executive director of the library at 610 N. Fairbanks Court.
Relatedly, I have some new information about the love of Dot's life (that is, aside from the man she married), Navy veteran Herb Martin which I will post here soon.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:51 PM CDT

    It's nice to keep hearing from you. It's wonderful that you'll give us some update about Herb too. Can't wait