Saturday, October 1, 2016

What a Day at the National Archives!

GranFran and I had a wonderful time at the
National Archives in D. C., including a
book signing!
     GranFran and I had a fabulous trip to Washington, D. C., where we, along with my brother, Wayne, not only spoke during a historical seminar focusing on Operation Dragoon (the 1944 invasion of southern France that my dad was in), but also visited the DAR Headquarters building (a great year to be there, since GranFran was one of their Women in American History Award recipients in May, nominated by the Lily of the Cahaba Chapter).

     Then we had a book signing at the National Archives--my favorite place in Washington! The National Archives gift shop carries both R is for Rosie the Riveter and Free-Falling for Freedom, so it was wonderful--and surreal, to be honest--to have an autograph table there. We stayed nearly twice as long as scheduled, because people just kept coming--Rosie Mania once again! Unfortunately, no photos were allowed, but I can assure you it was fabulous to greet people from all over the country and the world.

My favorite place in Washington, D. C.--the National 
Archives--carries two of our books in their gift shop--
it doesn't get any better than this!
     As an added bonus, it was on Constitution Day. When I was a school librarian and was tasked with providing our school's Constitution Day emphasis, more than once I set up in the library a mock Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, which is at the National Archives building, where the original Declaration of Independence, U. S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights are on display.

     If you have never visited this fabulous place, start planning a trip now--it's awesome! Many thanks to the bookstore staff for being such fabulous hosts!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Rosies Gathered in Atlanta, and Did They Make a Splash!

     Each year, the American Rosie the Riveter Association has a Convention/Reunion somewhere in the U. S., and this summer it was in Atlanta, GA. Twenty original Rosies gathered (aren't they beautiful?), along with three times that many Rosebuds (female descendants), Rivets (male descendants), friends, and guests to represent 21 states. 
     What a treasure these ladies are!

     Besides hearing some great stories shared by the Rosies--and Rosebuds whose Rosies couldn't be present--we toured the Atlanta History Center, who gave a reception so Rosies could mingle with their members.
We loved how many children
were there, even dressed as Rosie
and ready to roll, like this cutie who posed with GranFran.

Five of the Rosies, including GranFran,
rocked a packed auditorium with their panel
discussion at the Atlanta History Center.
Rosies are really very funny ladies!

Back at the Convention, professional storyteller Carol Cain (right), pictured here with my daughter, Sarah Branum Law, gave us a fabulous one-woman Rosie show! It was the SAME performance that Carol presented at Roosevelt's Little White House in Warm Springs, GA in 1997 (and every year since then, BTW) -- the one that helped inspire GranFran to found the American Rosie the Riveter Association in 1998. And P. S. Sarah was a little girl when she saw that performance for the first time - she's been a Rosie enthusiast ever since!
Several presenters told us about historical happenings,
including Sgt. Major (Ret.) Scarlett Williams,

who gave us an update on the USO,
a subject dear to every Rosie's heart.

We heard some great '40's music
by the Freedom Belles trio
as well as our own members.

    OK, friends, next year's convention will be in June, 2017 in Kansas City, MO. Why don't YOU make plans to join us there and hang out with some Rosies? Watch the American Rosie the Riveter Association website for details as they unfold, or get in touch with me, Nell Branum, for more info!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Rosies and Speaking and TV, Oh May!. . . er . . .Oh My!

May was a really busy month for GranFran and me -- here's what we were up to!

First, we were on the Talk of Alabama show
on our local ABC 33/40 station
to publicize the upcoming Rosie Rally
at the Southern Museum of Flight.
Here is the link if you want to see the segment
with Nicole Allshouse.

Then we had a ball with students at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School
in Birmingham as part of their Ultimate Authors Day.
What awesome students we met! Many thanks to
Cindy Westbrook, the teacher who coordinated the day,
and all the others who made us feel so welcome!

There was an interview of GranFran and two other Birmingham Rosies
to be included in a video for the Southern Museum of Flight's
Mary Alice Beatty Scholarship for women in aviation technology.

And then came the day of the actual Rosie Rally at the Southern Museum of Flight!
What an extraordinary day!!! Six Rosies from our Birmingham Chapter
of the American Rosie the Riveter Association,
plus another Rosie from Georgia, sat on a panel and answered questions.
And were they a hit!

Here's our whole group of Rosies, Rosebuds, and Rivets
from the Birmingham Chapter who were on hand
for the Rosie Rally. We were only a part of more than 650 people--including lots
of children and teens, how about that!--who were there for the many activities of this fun day.
A major highlight was seeing the "Fifi," one of only twoB-29 bombers still flying.
B-29's were made in Birmingham during WW II.

And when Elizabeth Grady, the museum's coordinator for the event, found out
that GranFran's 94th birthday was on the Rosie Rally day --well, next thing you know,
there was a ginormous birthday cake and cupcakes and party hats and horns!
What a special birthday! Many thanks, Liz!
Click here to see our local ABC 33/40 station's coverage of the event.

Isn't this a fun picture from the day --
GranFran and I are with the very talented Louise Barbour (left),
our favorite illustrator who drew the wonderful illustrations
for R is for Rosie the Riveter.
Note that she is holding her "left-handed wrench!"
(If you don't know what that is, see the "L" page in R is for Rosie!)

But May wasn't over yet! We so enjoyed speaking to the Senior Adult group
at Shades Crest Baptist Church in Birmingham.
Many thanks to Senior Adult Pastor Mark Johnson for inviting us.
We reconnected with many old friends, including Dr. Sigurd Bryan,
long-time Professor of Religion at Samford University,
and his lovely wife, Sara.
We topped off May with a tremendous honor for GranFran -
She was selected to receive a national "Women in American History" Award
from the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Here she is pictured with Susan Moore (left), Chapter Regent for
Birmingham's Lily of the Cahaba DAR Chapter,
who nominated GranFran for the award, and LeeAnn Metzger, who coordinated
the celebration at Brookdale Village, where GranFran lives.
The celebration was a part of Brookdale's gala Memorial Day event
for all their residents.
What a perfect way to end the month of May!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Three Great Samford University Moments for GranFran

     Recently, GranFran had the opportunity to spend three special days with her beloved School of Education at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. This is the school where she taught Elementary and Early Childhood Education for 28 years, and where my dad, Dr. John Carter, taught Secondary Education for 31 years, retiring as Dean of the School.
GranFran with students from Samford University and Miles College,
teaming up to host the John and Frances Carter
Young Authors Day for third-grade students

Book activities for Esperanza Rising
So it's not surprising that several years ago Mother and Dad set up the John and Frances Carter Young Authors Day -- a day in which SU Education majors in their Junior year team up with students from Miles College, also in Birmingham, to host third-graders from Trace Crossings Elementary School for a day of book-related activities, reading, and authors.
     What fun!
GranFran with three recipients of the
John and Frances Carter
Award Scholarship
     Then it was time for the School of Education Awards Night, and GranFran got to be present for the awarding of the John and Frances Carter Award Scholarships. These honor the top student in each of the Education majors. And what an impressive bunch of teachers is headed to the field!

The John and Fran Endowed Scholarship
for Teacher Education is now
a reality!
    And this year, another special day: GranFran was able to complete and sign into effect the John and Fran Carter Endowed Scholarship for Teacher Education. This brand new scholarship was started with generous gifts that friends gave in memory of my dad, and now Mother has completed the endowment to provide scholarships for years to come. My brother, Wayne, was in town for the signing, and it was a precious day.
     We're so proud of you, GranFran!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Power UP! for Girls Interested in Construction Careers

Power UP! It's a Mother-Daughter Thing!
     Oh my goodness! When GranFran and I arrived at the Alabama Workforce Training Center in Birmingham on Tuesday evening, we weren't exactly sure what we would find. After all, the Power UP: It's a Mother Daughter Thing event we were attending was the first of its kind for central Alabama.
Note the hands-on bricklaying
being prepared for the girls
in the 
background -
they loved it!
     But what we found was teams of moms and middle-school/high-school daughters from three counties -- LOTS of them! -- pumped about exploring careers in construction.
A special treat for the girls
was hearing from
 Kayleen McCabe,
host of the popular
"Rescue Renovation"
show on the
DIY Network.
(Note her "Rosie"
lunchbox/purse - how
fun is that!)
Fox 6 anchors Ronda Robinson
and Janice Rogers were
on hand to cheer on
the girls!
    And when I say exploring, I mean having hands-on experiences with bricklaying, virtual welding, driving nails, and more. I mean hearing from and talking with successful executive women in construction from around the country who flew in to share their expertise. I mean interacting with 20 contractors about possibilities, as well as representatives from construction-related businesses and organizations. I mean chatting with reps from several universities about training in construction careers.
     All in a girly-girl atmosphere, complete with hot pink, lime green,and purple balloons, not to mention the pink swirly-top raspberry-filled cupcakes. It was awesome!
     Click here to see CBS Channel 42's coverage of the event.
Girls got to meet successful women in 
construction, like Lucy Thompson Marsh 
from Thompson Tractor and Caterpillar.
     GranFran had a table in the hands-on room, where she explained informally the historical Rosie the Riveter perspective, and encouraged the girls and moms to look for a WW II Rosie in their family tree and (of course!) join the American Rosie the Riveter Assocation. Over and often, we find how women's construction groups have embraced the Rosie legacy, since Rosies opened the door for women to fill roles in the work force that were traditionally filled by men. And judging by the number of girls and moms --  and men! -- who lined up to have their picture made with GranFran, the new generation is catching the point of Rosie's part in the process.
    The event was organized by Mittie Cannon of Robins & Morton construction and engineering company, Antiqua Cleggett of the Central Six Development Council, and the folks at Girl's Inc. of Central Albama.
     GREAT JOB!!! to all who put together this extraordinary event. Thanks for letting us be a part of it!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Rock On, Birmingham Rosies!

      Our Birmingham Chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association had a great time (as always!) this past Saturday when we met at the historic Irondale Cafe for our quarterly meeting. The gentleman speaking in this picture is Mark Akerman, Director of Education for Vulcan Park and Museum. If you've ever driven through Birmingham, you have probably seen the colossal Vulcan statue high atop Red Mountain, and Mark knew all the great history and fun tidbits to share with us -- we love all kinds of history!
Some of our Birmingham Rosies
    Our Birmngham Chapter has such a great group of Rosies, Rosebuds (female descendants), and Rivets (male descendants) -- they regularly collect toiletry items for Three Hots and a Cot, a local shelter for homeless veterans, and they are preparing to gather and share with visitors on May 21 when the Southern Museum of Flight hosts the "Fifi," the last B-29 airplane still flying, and several other vintage aircraft from the Air Power History Tour.
     And we are gearing up to welcome to the Southeast Rosies from across the country, along with their family members and guests, when the American Rosie the Riveter Association has their national convention in Atlanta, June 10-12, 2016.
     And by the way, you are welcome to join us at any of these gatherings! See convention registration information on the ARRA website here, and join us for our next Birmingham Chapter meeting at Irondale Cafe on June 4, 2016!
     Rock on, Rosies!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Reading Across America with Dr. Seuss!

     Would you like to read a book?
     Would you help kids take a look?  

     Would you like to read at school?
     Would you think that it is cool?

    Apologies to Dr. Seuss, who was the celebrity of the day on his birthday, March 2, but we had a great time on  Read Across America Day! GranFran celebrated by reading Green Eggs and Ham to Mrs. Bethnee Durham's first grade class at Gardendale Elementary - how much fun was THAT! It was especially fun because GranFran's great-grandson, Parker (who is also my grandson, I must say, BTW!) is in the class. And what a great group of listeners they all were!  ( Click here to find a lot more Dr. Seuss fun at Seussville.)
     GranFran also read her Manners For Me book, which she wrote it in 1957 while teaching a Child Development class at Samford University. One of her students, Marie Smith Hogg, illustrated it, then it sat in a drawer for 55 years until it was published in 2013. But the retro feel still connected with Mrs. Durham's class!
     Thanks for a great day, you guys!