This blog space is where we will reflect on this project of collecting our grandmothers' stories, my own process and yours. While I am the blog's nominal author, if you are working out some idea of how to approach telling your grandmothers' stories, micro-history, ethics of non-fiction and fiction, interviewing relatives, the vagaries of memory, genealogical data, or any other ideas that relate to researching and telling tales about your older female ancestry, please get in touch and we can arrange for you to post a guest blog. Check out the Forum 'Rewriting the Archive' for conversations about ideas that you can join or read or begin, as you wish. Members of the Forum can post comments and post their own threads.) Shorter stories of grandmothers may also feature on the blog.
The photos above are of my two grandmothers in the 1940s, when their lives began to diverge quite a bit. Jani, on the left, is in the papers with a custody dispute with her first husband while her current husband is in Europe at end of WWII. On right is Dick with her husband George and her son (my father) Jim in a visit to West Point in 1941. They had recently changed their last names from Bukoski to Barclay because George's boss had told him his name sounded "too Red" (i.e., Communist - for those of you too young to know that and who may associate 'red' with Conservative Republicans). This was during the period of the infamous House UnAmerican Activities Commission investigating supposed Communist infiltration into American life. George would go on to be a secretary for the Manhattan Project during the WWII as he was considered too small to fight. His living relatives, however, insisted the reason he didn't fight was because his boss thought he was too valuable and was needed on the home-front. My grandmother did not act as a secretary during WWII because at the time women were considered too loose-lipped and only men were entrusted with those jobs. Jani struggled while following her then-husband, Robert Graham, around to training camps and during his deployment (wherein he was part of the troops that liberated Dachau) to work as a journalist, raise various children and give birth to her youngest Robin (my mother).
Aside from the famous battles of WWII there are many such lesser-known stories and unseen casualties of the War. On the other hand, they clearly had the best hats.