Navy nurse Millie Edsall treated sailors from D-Day Invasion during WW II

War Tales

Lt. j.g. Millie Edsall works with a Navy doctor at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Southampton, England to save the life of a young sailor who was seriously injured when a German land mine he was handling exploded. Photo provided

Millie Edsall was a registered nurse working in a doctor’s office in Joliet, Ill. when the Second World War erupted. At 20, in 1938, she graduated from St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in Joliet.

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Amelia Earhart

So yesterday I watched “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence” on the History Channel. The show was great and presented a plausible case for what actually may have happened to Amelia based on the recently discovered photo below. CAUTION: SPOILERS BELOW!!!!

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There have been so many theories as to what happened to Amelia when she mysteriously vanished in 1937 during her flight. Last night’s show presented the theory of Amelia’s survival and eventually capture by the Japanese. In a world prior to WWII (only 4 years prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the United States entry into WWII) tensions between Japan and the U.S. were evident. Was it possible that the Japanese viewed Amelia and her navigator, Fred Noonan, as American spies? The show included several interviews with people, who recalled either treating or seeing two “white” people, a man and woman. One woman they interviewed, being a young girl at the time of the sighting in Saipan, recalls being confused by Amelia’s appearance. She appeared to look like a man, but the young girl was told that this “man” was indeed a woman. This would make sense. Amelia’s hair was cut short, her frame was lanky and would be described as boyish, and she was often wearing pants, something women during that time didn’t wear very often. (During WWII we see women wearing pants more, especially women who worked in factories and shipyards as Rosie the Riveters).

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For many who say that this photograph and eye witness accounts finally solve the mystery of Amelia Earhart, they are wrong. If this is indeed the truth, there are still so many questions left to be answered and in the case of Amelia Earhart, there has always been more questions than answers. One such question is why, if our government knew that the Japanese were holding Amelia and Fred captive, didn’t they arrange for their release? Why keep it a secret? In a world on the brink of war, it makes some sense why they would remain silent. If the government had decided to reveal the information of Amelia’s capture and possible death, would it have made us enter the war sooner? We will never know. Amelia will continue to remain an enigma and a mystery. Her story and daring-do exploits will continue to enrapture us. One wonders also, what her reaction would have been to see the creation of the WASPS (Women Air Service Pilots) during World War II, to see young women follow in her footsteps and into the wild blue yonder.  What kind of role would she have played in World War II (During WWI she served as a nurse with the Red Cross)? We can only ask ourselves what could have been and remember Amelia Earhart as we know her, a daring pioneer in women’s rights and women’s aviation instead of a prisoner. Possibly the first American casualty of World War II.  Instead she will remain the woman who was adored by millions, a celebrity you might say, even to this day.

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American aviatrix Amelia Earhart (1897 – 1937) laughs with joy during a trip to Northolt in a Moth plane, 24th June 1928. (Photo by Davis/Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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My Grandma

My grandma

Yesterday my grandma passed away. She had battled Alzheimer’s for five years but the past year was so difficult. I went to visit her last weekend and she looked so weak and frail. It was difficult to see her that way. As a historian I wished I had talked to her about her childhood. My grandma was born in 1935 in Bismarck, ND and spent most of her childhood there. When her father, Lyle Gray, received a promotion, they packed up their belongings and left for Minnesota. My grandma graduated from Moorhead High School in 1953 and five years later, in 1958, she married my Grandpa, Alvin Swanson, who was a veteran of the Korean War. I get my love of history from him.


My grandpa has been so strong through all of this. He truly has been a rock, especially for my grandma. It’s just so hard to believe that she is truly gone. I have so many wonderful memories of her when I was a child, getting to spend a week out of my summers with them. Their house in the country seemed….magical. Now that I’ve grown up, the house is still charming but seems so small and empty. I spent hours running around the house with my cousins, playing with the same toys my mom and her siblings played with.

Thank you Grandma for all the wonderful memories. I will always love you.

Katherine Stinson and the Early Age of Flight — Roger Launius’s Blog — Fly ‘n Things

Katherine Stinson (1891-1977) is not exactly a household name, but there was a time when she was the face of women in aviation in America. An early enthusiast of aviation, Katherine Stinson learned to fly from pioneering flyer Max Lillie at Cicero Field near Chicago, obtaining the fourth pilot’s license issued to a woman on […]

via Katherine Stinson and the Early Age of Flight — Roger Launius’s Blog — Fly ‘n Things

A long while

Life gets busy and things get in the way. So sorry I haven’t updated my blog yet. Exciting things have happened and family commitments pile up. Still working at the museum but have been working on a research project for the past five months, researching the involvement of Barnes County, North Dakota women in World War II. But the project has extended past that to include several other counties in North Dakota. I’ve also extended my project to include World War I women and Korean War women. Unfortunately the legion and post have no information on war women at all, so it is up to me to scour old editions of our local paper. 150 + total women so far………In military service, in factories, working government jobs, nursing, and unusual homefront jobs.

I might put some of my findings here. Of the people I’ve been able to meet, in most cases their children and how it astonishes them that someone would be so interested in their mothers military service.

I do it to honor them. To give them the recognition they deserve. Because for so long they were denied that privilege. To let their stories be told and be known….to inspire future generations, just as they inspire me.



The Finale Begins

When Clara first joined the Doctor on his adventures, I wanted to hate her because she was replacing my dearly departed Ponds, but something entirely unexpected happened. I soon adored clara for all her brave, bubbly, egomaniac, bossy control freak self. I’ve posted the new Doctor Who next time trailer for “Dark Water” below for your viewing pleasure.  If you haven’t seen it yet and are a clara fan. Beware. Also if you want to avoid spoilers you can choose to skip the below section (You can be shocked or surprised later)

The first point I want to bring up is this:

Clara 1

Totally screaming WTF inside my head….No wait, I’m actually screaming. Several questions come to mind





Secondly let’s take a moment and appreciate the Doctor saying “Clara, My Clara” What does that remind you of?

clara 3

If you guessed this, then you’re right! Eleven and Clara. Excuse me while I go cry. TOO MUCH FEELS

Lastly there’s this:

clara 2

Clara never existed!!!??? MOFFAT HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO US!!!! I HAVE BEEN LIVING A LIE! Totally a Moffat move, to make us like a character that dies *JUST ANOTHER ORDINARY DAY IN THE DOCTOR WHO FANDOM* – or sherlock fandom.

So if you think you’re going to survive the finale even after this thirty second trailer. Good luck, because most of us will be like this. (BTW: SHE’S WEARING A BOW TIE!!!)