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PBS World War I Series

Did anyone see the first part of the series on PBS last night April 10, 2017 on The Great War? The series mentioned the song/poem that is in my book, “I Didn’t Raise My Son to Be a Soldier” on page 45. It was an anti-war song written by Lyricist Alfred Byron in 1915 which helped solidify the anti-war movement on the national stage. The irony of war was between different mothers’ sons killing each other and that victory was not enough to console any mother for the loss of her son.
My great grandmother lost two sons in infancy and the thought of losing another son in the Great War was unfathomable.
Do you see yourself as part of the anti-war movement for World War I? President Wilson ran for a second term “To Keep us Out of War.”
Also in the first part of the series was the poem by the soldier Alan Seeger on page 48 of my book “I Have a Rendezvous with Death.” Seeger volunteered with the French Foreign Legion in 1914 before America entered the war. Alan Seeger was the uncle of the American folk singer Pete Seeger. Would Seeger survive? You will have to read my book to find out more!

Introducing the 100 year old memoirs of an English teacher and an ambulance drive who broke the stereotypes of their era.

My grandmother, Marian, had a dream. She wanted to go to college and have a career. Women of this era didn’t usually work after they got married. But, Marian thought she could do it all. She felt often misunderstood and unsure of her dreams if they would be possible. Money was tight in her family. She chose to write in her diaries to express her deepest thoughts and wrote about her hopes for her future.

Marian wanted to go to a college that several very important women in her life attended known as Mount Holyoke College. Several very special people in her life attended Mount Holyoke in 1863 and 1835: her grandmother for one year, Myra Smith, and her grandmother’s aunt, Mary Smith. Marian held the college in such high regard.

How could Marian fulfill her dream? If she could get accepted how could her family afford the tuition?

Welcome to the “Uncommon English Teacher and the Forgotten Doughboy” blog

One hundred years ago on April 2, 1917, President Wilson addressed Congress with his speech, “America’s Purpose in the War.”

For all of you history buffs out there, did you wonder as I did what it was like for an ordinary American to live in this era?

Luckily, many years after my father died, I found boxes and boxes in my basement with diaries, letters, pictures, and memorabilia from my grandparents, Marian and Howard Rainey. I never knew my grandparents well growing up since they lived in Hudson, New York and we lived in St. Louis, MO but I craved to know more about my very small family. I never had any cousins or aunts or uncles to reminisce about the “old days” with.

After reading my grandmother’s diaries I was inspired to carefully transcribe them onto my computer to see if I would want to share them with others like me who are curious about their past.

The result, is my book which chronicles the very different lives of my grandparents inserted in chronological order. The contrast is stark.

I hope to enrich your lives through the positive spirit in my family and sense of hope for the future.

More to follow soon.


Thanks, Kathy