Author Archives: Allie OConnor

Covering a Service Member’s Back: Military Family Appreciation Month

Each United States active duty individual has a network of civilians that make it possible for the service member to concentrate on the job at hand. If they are single, family members or friends keep up a verbal, visual, or written correspondence to keep spirits up and encourage them during bad times. If they are married  and able to come home to the family most nights, spouses provide a sounding board to discuss the foibles of troublesome subordinates or superiors, and domestic concerns that the service member needs to know. When the active duty individual is deployed to a location where the spouse and families are not allowed (an unaccompanied tour in military jargon), the term “military family” adds another layer.

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Scenic Overload – International Postcard Week

For 50 years, I have collected postcards. It is an inexpensive hobby; they are easy to transport, most of them have vibrant colors, and a single glance years later can transport you to a time and place that you found to be breathtaking.

In 1974, most of Dad’s extended family met for a reunion in Grand Lake, Colorado for a memorable week. My cousin Kelly was in Grand Lake all that July doing summer stock with the repertory company that has been there for decades. We didn’t see much of her outside the theater, but just looking at the Grand Lake postcard reminds me that I saw her portray Eliza in “My Fair Lady” and be one of the stage managers (as well as part of the chorus) of “West Side Story”.

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Tribute to my Grandmas on Ancestor Appreciation Day

Since I have been researching my family heritage for 50+ years, I was surprised to learn this summer that September 27 is designated as Ancestor Appreciation Day. In honor of this annual event, I’ll focus on the families of my grandmothers. I encourage readers to also take a moment to recall family members who made you who you are.

Both were western Iowa farming families who arrived to begin their lives in that state between 1874 and 1909. Both my grandmothers and their several siblings were encouraged to hold fast to their faith, value education, and rely on and support each other.

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The Ending Acts of World War II

74 years ago this summer, the world was still at war. Victory in Europe took place in early May, but the war in the Pacific threatened to continue for some time. With the capture of Okinawa in June 1945, the Allied forces were within striking distance of the home islands of Japan. Tremendous losses of Allied service personnel and citizens of Japan were anticipated when Japan itself was invaded. An alternative to physical invasion of the home islands presented itself in mid-July, when the scientists involved in the top-secret Manhattan Project successfully detonated the first atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert.

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Celebrate Paperback Book Day

On this date in 1935 Sir Allen Lane published Andre Maurois’s Ariel, a biography of Percy Shelley. What made this publication date memorable was that it was the first paperback edition by an established British publishing house (Penguin). The book trade, as one can understand, was against Penguin beginning to make paperbacks available because of the competition to the hardbound format. But SO many readers have benefitted from being able to own books that we otherwise would not have been able to afford.

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Homage to Captain Kangaroo

Once the television set entered American homes in the 1950s, a small group of dedicated TV pioneers devised regular programs that sought to educate and entertain preschoolers on weekdays after older siblings left for school. Most of you readers remember with fondness watching Electric Company, Sesame Street, or Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood . The Bellevue University Library recently received information on Fred Rogers in two different formats, the DVD Won’t You Be my Neighbor? (DVD PN1992.4.R56 W66), and the audio book The Good Neighbor, (Audio Book PN1992.4.R644 K56). Both are available for checkout. My personal memories are from an earlier show, Captain Kangaroo. Since Bob Keeshan, who portrayed the Captain, was born on this date in 1927, the rest of this blog will emphasize Captain Kangaroo.

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79th Anniversary of the “Miracle of Dunkirk”

79 years ago, the Allied forces were hanging on in Europe by their fingernails on a stretch of beach near the border of France and Belgium. The blitzkrieg (Lightning War) that devastated Poland the previous September was staging a repeat performance in northern Europe all that May. During the years since the end of World War I, the military and political leaders of France pinned their defensive plans on huge, extended series of tunnels on their eastern border known as the Maginot Line. The Germans built a parallel fortress on the German side of the border that they called the Siegfried Line. The French were so convinced that the Germans would only attack on this border in this place that the heavy artillery was mounted in the cement facing Germany.

May of 1940 put an end to the French thoughts of security. On the 12th, Hitler ordered Germany’s military to commence Case Yellow, the invasion of the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. Panzer tanks, fighter aircraft, and motorcycle squads flanked the Maginot Line and raced through flat, neutral Belgium headed for the coast.

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2019 Library on the Go Experiments

The Library on the Go initiative was established during the summer of 2014 to enable Bellevue University staff and faculty members to check out library materials without visiting the library. One Friday a month, a library team takes 60 – 80 items and two iPads to the upper lobby of the ESB over the lunch hour. Staff and faculty members are invited to check out any of these items in that location. They are introduced to different genres (mysteries, fantasy, adventure, banned books, romances, etc.) in different formats (audio books, DVDs, books, kindles). New arrivals, best sellers, and award winners are offered each month.

During the summer of 2018, a Library on the Go committee was formed to reconsider and possibly update the procedures for LOTG. The committee decided to experiment with offering the monthly session at different locations and trying a different time.

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