Hello Olive Shaw !
A few bits to wind up the trip to Kansas City last week where I presented The Hello Girls at the National World War One Museum and Memorial.
My son Jim and I arrived at the National World War I Museum and Memorial Saturday morning at 10 sharp to meet Curator Doran Cart who showed me their new acquisiton which is beautifully installed "in the spotlight".
The new acquisition is Olive Shaw's Signal Corps uniform from the days when she was one of The Hello Girls who served in France. When I called Chief Curator Doran Cart to ask if I could see anything they had on the Hello Girls he told me they had just been given a uniform. " I have been looking for and hoping for a donation like this for 20 years." "Whose is it?" I asked. I could hardly believe hearing, "It belonged to Olive Shaw." Tears rolled down my cheeks. " I know her" I told him. She is one of the 3 characters in my performance. After two years of working with her words I was very moved to come this close to the real "her."
He called back later and said that he would be able to have it on display for the show. What a thrill!!!
For me it was another experience with the power of objects to bring history to life and a personal example of the importance of the role museums play in keeping history real and vibrant.
The museum is amazing - the exhibits take you into the experience of the world war not just by looking at maps, weapons and pictures - the curators bring the people as well as the soldiers to life. They are marvelous storytellers.
I was grateful to be presenting The Hello Girls where World War One is remembered and to give voices to the three monologues created from their words for them to tell their story. The audience gave them a standing ovation - a "thank you for your service."
While there I gathered more material to either add to the show as it is or enlarge to another show featuring more of these women who went "Over There" during WWI - - -
women who served near the battlefields where the sounds of battle roared in their ears and the earth shook beneath their feet as the big guns fired.
These are the women General John Pershing called the "switchboard soldiers."
Posted by ELLOUISESTORY