Please Don't Eat the Daisies

How I am saving my sanity!

Since I can't stand watching the news lately.
Too much Trump -
so I soothe my brain with TCM movies instead - -

Love the films now
even if I hated them before
and I really appreciate the memories that float along with the film.

This week TCM showed "Please Don't Eat The Daisies"
 in a day-long salute to Doris Day.
I remembered the book and the film - - -
along with the 1960s humor - - - - -

Loved it all -
reminded me of better days.


Special thanks - for a lifetime

Writing about Harry Catchpole brought back my memory of another soldier who was on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

When I met this other elderly Maryland gentleman he told me he had just returned from a trip to France and a visit to an American Military Cemetery in Normandy.

"I have been there before. I go as often as I can because I have so many friends who are buried there and 
whenever our Army group gathers in Normandy- I go.

I will never forget the morning of June 6, 1944. We came across the water in the dark and as it got lighter we came closer to France - to the shore. The front of the landing boat dropped down and we ran into the cold waves hoping to reach the beach. 
So many of us never touched land again."

He drew in a deep breath - his eyes filled with tears.

"They stayed behind - but I came home.

I have had a family, a good job and a fine life.

They missed all of that."

He was quiet. Then he wiped tears off his cheeks.

"I have never forgotten any of those boys - 
I come back to thank them."


Harry, D-Day and memories.

Ellouise - circa 1944

D-Day - June 6  this year is remembering and honoring the 75th anniversary of that battle.

In 1944 I was 8 years old. I am grateful for my vivid memories of that day.

My daddy was in the Army Air Corps and he was stationed in India. When was sent the air base so far away Mama moved with her three daughters into a 12 family apartment house on Hawthorn Lane in Charlotte, NC.

 Each family living in the 'Virginia Apartments" had a member somewhere overseas and all were hoping this meant that the war in Europe was coming to a close. And then  hoping the end of the war in the Pacific would soon follow. There was excitement in the adult voices as
they talked about the D-Day invasion while they studied the newspapers. Radios blared out the news story from every apartment. People were nervous but it was a hopeful day.

In 2013 when I was in Georgia visiting my  sister Kathy introduced me to  a very special friend of hers ---- Harry Catchpole.

She told me - "I want you to meet him, Ellouise. Harry is a WWII veteran. He was stationed in England and served as a clerk on General Eisenhower's staff. He tells me and  Johnny incredible stories about the preparations in the office to get ready for D-Day.  He had to wait for the 2nd day to be sent over to Omaha Beach."

Harry remembered it all and he shared so many personal stories. Listening to him was a rare opportunity to meet history outside of a book-page. Meeting Harry was a very important  - - a privilege to know someone who was an eyewitness to history.

Harry enjoyed sharing the experience. And he remembered it all.

Harry is no longer "among us"and we cannot reach out to him to bring D-Day alive for us as we honor this important day.

Meeting Harry was an inspiring connection for me because talking with him furthered my belief in asking questions and discovering history from eyewitnesses ---- when that is not possible for me I pursue letters and other personal documents to capture an unknown first hand story.

I  do what I do with bits of women's history - remembering unknown women whose lives  have been forgotten and lost in the shadows of history. For some reason I have wrapped myself in the purpose to find and tell their stories for as long as I can.


Catching Up -

For some days I have passed right by this blog without adding a word. So here are a few.

1. Yesterday was a lucky day for me. On short notice I attended an outstanding talk by Steve Roberts - well known journalist and GW Prof. on Journalism
A large audience was quiet and intently captured by his presentation which was richly informative and eye-opening to the changes in journalism today— as well as his being quite entertaining. 

At one point he walked us through the time line of changes in journalism since the trustful years of WWII when correspondents wore uniforms with the troops. 
So......that’s what has happened...
He explained that today things change so fast it makes it difficult for journalists to thoroughly research and check stories before they hit the “post it” button to publish onto the internet.
Afterwards he completed the program I joined a long line and waited to thank him.
Thanks too to for organizing this public event. 

2. I met a lovely woman recently who really surprised me.
We were standing next to each other waiting in a long line. We chatted about a bunch to things and I really enjoyed the conversation. After a while I began to leaning on my cane. She   was sitting close-by. Unexpectedly she interrupted her comments, looked up at me and said, "Honey, sorry I cannot offer you this chair but I am 100 years old and I think that is a reasonable excuse."
Startled I looked down at her, "what? Did you just tell me you are 100 years old?"

Yes, she assured me that is what she said "its true." This lovely woman had come alone, driving herself to join in the group, and when she walked out of the building ahead of me I saw that she was walking slowly but well and she was headed toward her car which was parked across the width of the parking lot. I am glad she told me her age - she is keeping on and with a great spirit - what an example.


Keep Dreaming,

In 2010 I told my new story, Pushing Boundaries for the first time at the Capitol Fringe in Washington, DC.  I have told it often since then and I always appreciate an opportunity to relive those days as I tell my story. Afterwards  women stop to tell me bits of their story during those days and what they did.  Often there were tears – always there were hugs and laughter. It’s our history

November 2, 1983
Today I stood at the back of the crowd pressing into the room listening to Gloria Steinem and I felt a pull to the past – the past when I was excited about the women’s movement.

She’s tall, very thin and lovely. Dressed in a black long sleeved sweater over long black wool gaucho pants , also wearing boots. An elegant silver Navaho belt is draped casually around her hips and a heavy silver Indian bracelet at her wrist reminded me of  a Wonder Woman bracelet. A large hammered silver ring accentuated her long slender fingers and her beautifully shaped nails. Along with her trademark straight hair and aviator glasses. Elegant, understated – she shows a careful image.

Fascinated, I watched the way she gestured with her hands. Gloria Steinem exudes style.
But more she looks at everyone in the guest line individually with a gaze  that makes you feel special.
I had not seen Gloria in about three years. As I watched her I thought she must be a bit like fine wine – she gets better with time.

I was moved by her talk about her book tour for her new book,Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions –how people tell her their stories. She says,  “ I feel like an heiress and I have to figure out how to share the stories back with everyone.”

She graciously acknowledged all the women in the audience , “You who do the work here and in Washington – how much we all owe you.”
It is so rare, in my experience that I heard anyone acknowledge those working in the fields.

I felt memories stirring – of the excitement in Houston for the national  IWY meeting – of having the feeling it could all be done – of having heroines like Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem and so many others – that was all before things turned negative – when I still felt energy and enthusiasm for the ERA Campaign.

When I felt all the idealism – saw only possibilities not difficulties – was too naieve to realize the obstacles ahead for women trying to pass the ERA.

Where did that feeling go? What happened?

Jim said later when I told him about it the loss of feeling and the disappointments.

“Burn out.”
My idealism was kicked out of me – squashed by the failure of ERA – in 1982. 

Women across the country poured every ounce of their energy into the campaign for 10 years  of trying to pass the Equal Rights Amendment were squashed by the failure to pass it.
All that and we came up empty.

August 15, 2016
Today, 33 years later, I found a small journal with this reflection on Gloria Steinem in it.  A rush of memories. I wrote the essay when I got home from NYC where I attended the book signing for Steinem’s book, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions.  The large open lobby of the Equitable Life Assurance Building was packed – feminists standing in line for Gloria’s signature and chatting with old friends and other ERA Campaign veterans. It was a grand reunion as well as a celebration of the book.
in 2016 - - there is a lot of hope in the air for the November 8 election outcome.  And, I am so hoping there will be large and small gatherings across the county to celebrate the first woman US President.

April 2019
Well that did not work out like we hoped. 


Pushing Boundaries - In New Jersey

Monday May 1 Ellouise Schoettler returns to Cape May, NJ to tell her one-woman personal story, Pushing Boundaries

Pushing Boundaries
Story and Afternoon Tea
Wednesday, May 1, 2019: 2:30pm
Carriage House Cafe & Tearoom
1048 Washington St.
Pushing Boundaries is a story of Schoettler's coming of age in the '50s. By 1970 she, like hundreds of other women, joined the fight to pass for the Equal Rights Amendment to secure equal rights for women. It was heartbreaking when it was lost June 30, 1982.
Ellouise is a nationally known storyteller, Maryland local cable show host and producer of a storytelling series. Her "Flesh on Old Bones" workshop helps participants turn personal history into compelling stories others want to hear. www.ellouiseschoettler.com


A Child's Memory As Things Change

Daddy Goes Overseas

The WAR started in 1942 after there was the attack on Pearl Harbor. By the time I entered the First Grade at the Elizabeth Elementary School in Sept. my Daddy was leaving for the US Army Air Corps. He would be stationed in South Carolina for his training. Everything was changing.
We now had three children in the family because Mama had had my sister Kathy. Mama moved us to a rental home that was on 7th Street - only a block from Granny's home which was also on 7th Street
I was so happy to be closer to her house. Granny arranged to have the rose bushes pulled up in her side yard. Itgave her space to plant a "victory" garden. We ate delicious vegetables in the summer and Granny canned as much as she could for us to eat during the winter.
Every evening Granny and Dad Jack listened to the news on the radio. If I was spending the night I sat next to Granny and listened with them without saying a word.
Daddy gave me an "over seas" cap before he shipped out. He was assigned to a base in India where he worked with a crew of mechanics who maintained the planes that flew the dangerous flight "over the hump" - that's what they called the mountains - to drop supplies into China.
Mama wrote to Daddy every night -
I always wore that cap as I stood at the curb and saluted the soldiers in the convoy trucks making so much noise on 7th street. All the soldiers laughed and saluted back to me as they rumbled by in front of our house.

(I am using Facebook and this blog to capture memories of my childhood and other personal stories.
If you want to keep up with it - check: Facebook and ellouisestory.com )