Wednesday, May 19, 2010

History and how it is reported

I have received a number of responses to my writing about Bainbridge Island and the impact of WWII. Several have suggested that what I write must be a sort of healing process for the hurts of my childhood. I suppose that could be true although that has not felt to be my impetus. It started with the death of a very close person in my life. He also happened to be one of my grade school through high school classmates. My becoming re-acquainted with him inspired my interest in the history of the Island. When I graduated from Bainbridge High School, I could not wait to move away from "the Rock" and never gave it much thought after I left. But my connection remained through family and friends and of course, as the location of my youth.

My keen interest in fashion and life-long sewing experience lead me to doll making and costuming. Several of my original patterns and articles were published in doll magazines. As the fifty year anniversary of the end of World War II approached, I came across the story of "Theatre De La Mode." That venue was the showing of Paris couture in 1945. All the new fashions; clothing, hats, gloves, shoes, jewelry; were displayed on doll-size wire mannequins. The small size was chosen because of war-caused shortages of all materials. Paris' economic recovery was on the shoulders of the French designers as the fashion industry was crucial to the economic recovery of all of France. I was intrigued. I did extensive research and eventually published an article not only about "Theatre De La Mode," but about the way clothing has evolved along with our life styles. So - this is how my interest in the vast, profound changes wrought by WWII began. Technology changed our lives and civil rights made us aware as we never were, en masse, previously. And when my friend died, during my grieving and healing, I plunged into research about the overall impact of WWII. The primary change in my family, was that we moved from St. Paul, Minnesota to Bainbridge Island, Washington. We were among the hordes of war-time transients who moved in search of work. My mother was one of the "Rosie the Riveters." To me, the Island represents a microcosm of the changes that pervaded the lives of every American.

And that is why I chose to write about the Island's history - in a personal kind of way. I hope that others as they read this, will be inspired to add their own stories. The compilation of the many voices will help round out history and paint a picture of life as it was for us - we who were born and raised between the Depression Generation and the Baby Boomers.

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