1204 Spring 2019 “Buddy” Poppies and “Hello” Girls, Odd WWI Bedfellows
Thursday, 1:00–3:00, May 23
Note date and time
Instructor: Bob Coffin
The class tells two disparate tales of the “war to end all wars”—and, in some minor part, the women behind them. You’ve all seen the VFW and American Legion veterans passing out the red paper poppies on Memorial and Veterans Day in remembrance of those who fought for our country. Maybe you’ve stopped to donate to support the injured and their families. An estimable cause—but, where did it come from? Why the common field poppy as a remembrance? What was the connection to “In Flanders Fields?” When did this become a national symbol? How were an American and a French woman deeply entwined in this story? As to the “Hello Girls,” perhaps you saw the Veterans Day film on these forgotten American?heroines. This course tells their tale as well, but from a more singular viewpoint—of one Hello Girl who kept an incredibly detailed scrapbook of her experience. There are descriptions from “work rules” to calamities to billets-doux, and a personal commendation from Black Jack Pershing. The scrapbook will be on display, and hang in there for the Paul Harvey-ish “rest of the story.”
LTC USA (RET) Bob Coffin is a frequent contributor to OLLI. His eclectic presentations include cheese, olive oil, tomato, and heirloom apple tastings; the Legato School (a one room schoolhouse); a Tom Lehrer retrospective; and a review of 1947. He is a retired intelligence analyst and Fairfax County history and special education teacher who believed in providing an honors curriculum education to learning disabled students.