Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Who Lives? Who Dies? Who Tells the Stories?

The forgotten tales are what got to me. How did I not know of the 500+ women who died during World War II? No college or high school history class taught this lesson. I heard no women's stories from my veteran relatives.

Why didn't I know about 25-year-old Ellen Ainsworth? Under bombing near the war front, Second Lieutenant Ellen Ainsworth , a nurse, did not leave her patients. As she moved them to a safer position, she took shrapnel to the chest but she kept on helping "her boys" as she called them. She said there was nothing the enemy could do to scare her. She died a few days later from her wounds and was awarded the silver star.

I've become a volunteer writer for a national project named Stories Behind the Stars, whose mission is to write a story for each of the 400,000+ fallen Americans. I chose to tell the women's stories like Ellen's. I've been writing most of my life and THIS is the most important work I've ever done.

All of their stories are brave. No matter if killed by enemy fire, kamikaze planes, freak accidents, sabotage, illness or carelessness, they were all brave. They left their family, homes, jobs and loves to travel across the country and across the world because they were needed. Each time I take a name and start the research, I'm astonished by their tales.

Take Evelyn McBride. She was never afraid to put herself out there. A vaudeville and silent film actress, she performed in front of cameras, danced on the stage in front of live audiences, moved across the country twice, married a pro baseball player, became a single mother and then when asked by her nation, put herself in danger for her country. A private first class in the Women's Army Corps (WACs), Evelyn and 17 other WAC women and three crew were on a plane that plummeted into the ocean off the coast of Africa. They may be largest group of MIA women from WWII. All lost and I never heard a word about a plane load of military women that just vanished.

Or gutsy Kay Lawrence. She's one of those glass ceiling breakers who paved the way for our female military and female astronauts. Kathryn B. "Kay" Lawrence was a lot of things. She was smart. She was athletic. She was gutsy. Being the only woman in the aviation class at her university didn’t stop her. It led her to join the military and sacrifice her life for the war effort. Determined to be a Woman's Airforce Service Pilot (WASP), she worked at Boeing and paid her way through flight school and air flight time then paid her way to Texas for military training. An experienced pilot, she couldn't save herself when her plane spun out, she bailed and the parachute didn't open.

There are "it's a small world" stories. An American man, drawn into a Paris cemetery by the mounds of fresh flowers around one grave, is shocked to discover it is someone from his hometown. He writes home to share the news. It's 1945 so transatlantic war time phone calls were not an option, so a letter it is. The news of Army Nurse Nancy Leo's death in a jeep accident  reaches her mother by the ye old grapevine rather than the much-delayed missive from the war department. Nancy is the only woman to lie among the 5,076 soldiers at the Luxembourg American Cemetery.

There are thousands and thousands of stories to tell. If you'd like to honor our World War II fallen, please join our effort. Get started at Stories Behind the Stars.

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Saturday, February 26, 2022

Content in the Expert's Voice: Organization, Home, Garden, Small Biz, Family & Food

A nationally recognized organizational expert and freelance writer, Lea Schneider brings both experience and expertise to her articles. With a focus on home-centric, home office and small business copy, she walks readers through how to make simple and lasting changes in their space and routines.

Lea's writing is found on numerous high-volume websites such as TwinCities, Young Upstarts, Small Biz Daily, Homes.com, Caldwell Banker, Motherhood Moment, 1-800-Got-Junk and Redfin. She has written for national clients such as The Home Depot and Groupon . 

As a professional organizer, author and speaker, Lea's expert advice and insights have reached audiences across the country through a variety of channels including top publications, broadcast and social media. Her advice has been seen in newspapers, such as The Washington Post, The Denver Post, Omaha World Herald to prominent magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens publications and Parents magazine to many websites including TwinCities.com and ThisOldHouse.com.

As a writer, she puts her organizational expertise to work writing and guest blogging on all areas of organization from clutter management to storage concepts, space and time management, family routines and productivity tips. Her writing has been featured in Rubbermaid's Adventures in Organization Blog, The Housekeeping Channel, What's Cooking America and many more.

Her journalism background includes feature writing for The Fort Myers News Press (Florida), The Commercial News (Illinois), and The Jackson Sun (Tennessee), with stories earning her recognition from both the Tennessee and Illinois Press Associations. As a copywriter for a full-service marketing agency, her experience includes website copy, newsletters, press releases, articles, brochures, radio ads and more.

Based in Nashville, TN, her writing company is Lea Schneider LLC.