Saturday, May 25, 2019

Helen Korngold Diary: May 19-25, 1919

In 1919, Helen Korngold, a senior at Washington University kept a diary which I found in a thrift shop in 2001. Over many years I researched Helen and the people, places, and events in the diary and created a family tree on

This year I am sharing weekly excerpts from Helen's diary.

May 19
School – May Day Final rehearsals. No studying.

Tuesday 20
May Day Dress Rehearsals. Summer came home! I was thrilled. No studying all day!

Wednesday 21
 School – May Day called OFF! Time wasted again.

Thursday 22
School – May Day called off! Satellites. No chance to study.

Friday 23
School – May Day called off! Can’t find time to do my work.

Saturday 24
School – Greek Games- Lou & Til took part. Cuqots – my new dress is beautiful!

Sunday 25
Rehearsal with Corrine. Wrote Ads – Millstone Dinner. To diner with Winkler. Swell time. Home. Dress. Y.M.H.A. Home 1 AM – almost dead.


May 24

Perhaps Helen went out with Emil Winkler, whom she went out with on June 7.
YMHA is the Young Men’s Hebrew Association

The Greek Games were held at Forest Park, presented by Central High School. An article appeared in the Sunday, May 25 St. Louis Post-Dispatch


0525_2000SeeGirlsofCentralHighinGreekGames -

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Playing With Purpose: A Quilt Retrospective by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

I Am Not Perfect And That is OK is the title of a quilt by Victoria Findlay Wolfe. In her new book Playing With Purpose one of her first messages is that creativity and improvisation in art entails making mistakes. It is part of the process and one should not be dejected when things go awry. 

Give yourself permission, she advises, to let your work evolve and change. Allowing your work to evolve organically means letting go of set expectations. 

It is OK to set aside a project until you have a clear vision or new skill set to complete it. But don't expect to reach some fantasy of perfection. Worrying about perfection brings negativity and failure.  

Your work should bring joy. Creating a quilt should be playful. Don't overthink it.
We worry too much about color matching and using a limited fabric palette. Wolfe's work breaks out of such self-imposed limitations. Forget the 'rules'. There are no rules. There is what works, what tells your story.
 Few quilt artists are as creative with preprinted fabrics as Wolfe.
Learn new skills, Wolfe encourages. Break out of your comfort zone. As an artist, Wolfe is always evolving.

Tell the quilt police (in your head and outside) where to go. It's your fabric, your time, your memories, your joy. Just make!~from Playing with Purpose by Victoria Findlay Wolfe
 It is wonderful to study Wolfe's quilts presented in the book.

Learn more about Wolfe on her website

I was given access to a free ebook by the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s Playing with Purpose: A Quilt Retrospective
Victoria Findlay Wolfe 
Stash Books
 Book ( $39.95  )
 eBook ( $31.99 )  
ISBN: 978-1-61745-828-6
UPC: 734817-113478
(eISBN: 978-1-61745-829-3)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A Forgotten Hero: Folke Bernadotte, the Swedish Humanitarian who Rescued 30,000 People from the Nazis

Folke Bernadotte. The name wasn't at all familiar. Who was this Swedish humanitarian? Why have we forgotten him?

Readers of the popular historical fiction novel The Lilac Girls  by Martha Hall Kelly know about the Polish women interred in Ravensbruck who were used for medical experiments, called 'rabbits' because they were merely lab 'animals.'''
In Kelly's novel, the women are told to board white trucks from the Red Cross, but some doubt their legitimacy. Another noted that "Himmler himself authorized Count Bernadotte of Sweden to take us."

A Forgotten Hero is the story of that Count Bernadotte of Sweden!

Shelly Emling begins the book with the German invasion of Poland and the removal of Poles to concentration camps through the personal story of Manya Moszkowicz. In the last days of the war, the Germans wanted to cover up the atrocities of the concentration camps, evacuating prisoners or killing them. Manya was taken on a forced march to Ravensbruck. And one morning she was in a group taken to the gate and told to board a white truck with red crosses. It didn't seem real. The women were given CARE packages, and that night they slept in real beds, clean and warmly clothed. Manya learned she had been rescued because of Count Folke Bernadotte.

Folke was related to Swedish royalty and made a career in the army. He became a volunteer for the Boy Scouts. He took on the leadership of the International Red Cross. Sweden was neutral during WWII, a choice made to preserve their freedom while Norway fell to the Germans and Finland to the Russians. Folke used this neutrality to gain access to Himmler. He wanted to rescue all the prisoners, but played his hand carefully, first asking to repatriate Swedish nationalists. The Gestapo head Himmler had vowed to remain loyal to Hitler but knew his country was losing the war; over time he allowed Folke access to more prisoners.

Folke's courage and faith were limitless as he bused the women out of the camp, coming under fire by Allied planes. He was able to secret out several thousand Jews, but his rapport with the Nazis and unwillingness to overplay his hand made him suspect by some Jewish groups. After the war, Folke was asked to mediate between the emerging country of Isreal and the dispossessed Palestinians. A radical Jewish group marked him for assassination.

For decades, Folke's legacy was forgotten by a chagrined Israel who buried the incident of his death.

Sixty years after his death Folke has reemerged from the shadows.

I received a free ebook from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased
about the author:Shelley Emling is a senior editor at and editor-in-chief of The Girlfriend from AARP. Previously she was a senior editor at the Huffington Post for five years. She has worked as a foreign correspondent for the Cox Media Group both in Europe and in Latin America for more than twelve years, based in London for eight years. Shelley lives in New Jersey and works in Washington, D.C. Shelley is the author of several other books including Marie Curie and Her Daughters, Setting the World on Fire, Your Guide to Retiring in Mexico, and The Fossil Hunter.

A Forgotten Hero: Folke Bernadotte, the Swedish Humanitarian Who Rescued 30,000 People from the Nazis
Emling, Shelley
ECW Press
Published: May 2019
ISBN: 9781770414495
$26.95 US/$32.95 CAD/#17.99 Kindle

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Helen Korngold Diary May 12-18, 1919

This year I am sharing the 1919 diary of Helen Korngold of St. Louis, MO. Helen was a senior at Washington University, preparing for a career as a teacher.
Helen Korngold, December 1919, New York City

Monday 12
School – Carol Party at Elks. Clara Marx, hostess. Had a dandy time – carnations for favors – delicious luncheon. Learned a little about 500. Home – practiced – wrote Satellites up & went to “Y” orchestra.

Tuesday 13
School – Rehearsal for Bado. Home at 9 o’clock Study. Maizie Rothman gets quite confidential.

Wednesday 14
School – nothing exciting

Thursday 15
School – rehearsal for Bado – home. Downtown – fitting at Cuqots – blue silk. Pretty. Rehearse with Miss Holmes.

Friday 16
School. After buying a suit dark blue serge. Good looking. Home – fitting at Cuqots – rehearse with kids at Aunt Beryl’s. Home – dress. Saw Thyrsus present “Admirable” Crichton, Pauline & Arthur Sarason, Karol. Dandy time. Play was wonderful.

Saturday 17
School – home – played at neighborhood entertainment. Our initial appearance. J Orchestra. All went fine.

Sunday 18
Expect to study all day!


May 12

Clara Marx may be related E. Marx, 1300 Washington, who appears on the Elks membership in the 1913 Gould’s Blue Book.

“Y” orchestra a youth orchestra

May 13

Bado rehearsal; Helen played in the junior orchestra's initial concert on June 17.

May 15

Cuqouts appears to be a dressmaker, although I cannot find this name in the City Directory of businesses.

May 16

Thyrsus was the dramatic society at Washington University.

May 4, 1919 article from St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Admirable Crichton was a stage play written by James Barrie that addressed class issues, first produced in 1902.

From the February 29, 1907, Washington University Student Life:
“What's in a name? This was one of the chief topics discussed at the regular meeting of the Dramatic Club last Wednesday. After mature deliberation, the club selected for its official name, "Thyrsus," suggested by Prof. Holmes Smith and proposed to the club by Mr. Starbird. The name signifies a pine cone, which was the symbol of Dionysus, the Greek god of the drama. In selecting such a name, the club is doing wisely, as the former name was entirely too long and too ordinary, while "Thyrsus" is terse, sounds well, and has some significance." 
I wonder which navy serge suit Helen chose? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch paper Sunday, May 11, 1919, was full of advertisements for clearance and sales!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Book Club Read: Perfect Little World by Kevin WIlson

After I finished Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson I admit I was not quite sure what to make of it. Early on I enjoyed the humor. Midway the book dragged and the ending was predictable. But our book club found a lot to discuss and overall enjoyed this book.

The characters are quirky and damaged and although readers get to know quite a bit about them they never really felt 'real' to me and the idea of a community of parents and babies gathered for a ten-year study on childraising was bizarre.

The main character Izzy has pluck and has forged a way to survive in the midst of neglect and tragedy. Izzy's mentally ill mother's death caused her father to withdraw into an alcoholic depression. She finds a mentor in an older man at the BBQ joint who teachers her how to roast and pull apart whole hogs.

Izzy is bright but uninterested in education. Her mother had pressured for a college track in compensation for her own derailed career. Instead, Izzy pressures her art teacher to fail her! They become involved, their affair complicated when Izzy become pregnant--"the elephant in the womb," as Izzy puts it, overwhelms him.

The art teacher is depressive and can't deal with a baby although he loves Izzy. Izzy won't get an abortion. When the teacher commits suicide his mother comes to Izzy with a proposition: she will fund the prenatal care and birth of her son's baby if Izzy joins an experimental community.

Dr. Grind is the product of parents who developed a childraising technique which has left him with lasting problems. He dreams of a community where children are raised by a 'village' and are not dependant on one set of flawed parents. His system will support the children with the intention of allowing them to flourish to their full potential.

Izzy joins as the only single mother. Over seven years the families struggle to change their natural instincts while developing as a community. Healthy relationships are built but also unhealthy relationships evolve which threatened to dissolve the experiment.

Wilson implies that loving parents can inflict lasting damage on their children and that the children of distant parents can rise above and thrive. Dr. Grind's dream of a Utopian community that protects children only fails because adults are predictably imperfect. In the end, a perfect little world is whatever family we can cobble together.

The book club had a long conversation about the changing nature of families over their lifetimes. Specifically, how once families lived near each other and were a support group before suburban living reinforced the nuclear family as the norm.  A woman who ran a daycare said that she had observed all the problems encountered by the extended family in the book.

A Perfect Little World was a book club read. I thank the public library for a copy of the book.

But that's the problem, isn't it? We're mysteries to each other no matter how hard we try to prove otherwise. from Perfect Little World

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Spring has come to Michigan! We have nesting birds in the yard, wildflowers have sprouted up, and the herb garden is green and flourishing.
Wild Violets

It has been a busy spring. After my two cataract surgeries, my husband underwent his second knee replacement surgery! I am super busy handling his chores along with my own.

But I am still keeping up with my quilt projects and reading!

I am hand quilting the Little Red Ridinghood quilt.

I am deciding on the borders on the Winter Houses quilt.

And I played making a quilt with some wool birds from the quilter's group free table and am nearly done with the applique. I will do more embellishment after they are sewn down.

I am now reading:

  • LibraryThing win ARC  Make Me A City by Jonathan Carr about the history of Chicago.
  • The Ministry of Truth by Dorian Lynskey about George Orwell and the writing of 1984.
  • Why We Quilt by Thomas Knauer shares snippets on the quilting life.
  • Jared Diamond's Upheaval. I have read about Finland, Japan, and Chile so far. What is so cool is that when I was a senior in high school my family hosted an exchange student from Finland. I became close to the exchange students from Japan, Chile, and Germany during that year. 
  • Cesare by Jerome Charyn a love story and thriller set during WWII
On my TBR galley shelves:
  • The Violent Century by Lavie Tidhar
  • Women from the Copper Country by  Mary Doria Russell
  • We Are All Good People by Susan Rebecca White
  • Out of Darkness Shining Light by Petina Gappah
  • This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
  • The Book of Science and Antiquities by Thomas Kenalley
  • The Vexations by Caitlin Horrocks
On Kindle:

After reading her new book Gold Digger I purchased Rebecca Rosenberg's novel Mrs. Jack London. My review on Gold Digger will appear on my blog soon.

I have Amy Stewart's Miss Kopps Midnight Confessions and Miss Kopp Just Won't Quit on my Kindle which I hope to read soon as the next volume Miss Kopp on the March is being mailed to me via the Kopp Sister's Literary Society.

Another book to come is Archaeology from Space by Sarah Parcak which I won on LibraryThing this month.

Upcoming Book Clubs:
Next month the library book club is reading Wiley Cash's novel The Last Ballad, which I read as an ARC. Wiley will be Skyping with our club!

The Barnes and Nobel book club is reading The Guest Book, which I also read as an ARC.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A Good American Family:The Red Scare and My Father by David Maraniss

Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father's heart? Look Homeward, Angel, Thomas Wolfe
In the years between my father's retirement and his recovery of grief over the early loss of my mother, he bought an electric typewriter and wrote his memoirs.  Dad took his pages to the office supply store and printed and bound them to distribute among his family and friends. Dad was very proud to know people enjoyed reading about his childhood growing up during the Depression in a changing world, his father's time as a volunteer fireman and building a gas station, his adventures in scouting and camping along the Niagara River, meeting my mother, and running the family business after his father's death until our move to Detroit where he hoped to secure a job in the auto industry.

I shared these memories on my blog and on Facebook, attracting lots of readers from our hometown. But there was much missing between these stories. He wrote little about his marriage and us kids. And stories that he told me that were more personal, or that Mom had shared, were left out.

We show the world who we hope we are, hiding the deepest pain and loss and hurt. The conflicted feelings of guilt and embarrassment of bad choices, the pain we wrecked on others, we leave buried in our own hearts. We carry these things alone. Which of us has truly known our father, or mother, or sibling, or spouse?
"The more I read the letters, the more I thought to myself: Why did he write them like a journal...if not for me to find them and give him a voice again, to show the determination, romanticism, and patriotism of a man who once was called un-American?" from A Good American Family by David Maraniss

David Maraniss had written about other people's stories, from Vince Lombardi and Clemente to Bill Clinton and Al Gore. He decided it was time to look into his own father's life. He had "desensitized" himself to what his father Elliott Maraniss had endured "during those years when he was in the crucible, living through what must have been the most tyring and transformative experience of his life."

In 1952, Elliot Maraniss was brought in front of the House Committee on Un-American Activities in Detroit, Michigan.

He was a newspaperman, a graduate of the University of Michigan where he had worked on the Daily newspaper and found kindred spirits dedicated to progressive values. Elliott married into a family committed to the perceived virtues of communism. He enlisted to serve in WWII right after Pearl Harbor. But the government was tracking communists, and although an exemplary officer, he was deemed untrustworthy. Instead of seeing action, Elliot was relegated to the Quartermaster Corps, and because of his passion for racial justice and equality, put in charge of a segregated African American unit. He put all his energy into growing the men into a stellar unit. He held an American optimism that people can overcome the obstacles of "race and class, education and geography and bias."

In the 1930s, communism seemed to be society's best hope for equality and justice, attracting people of progressive ideas. The attraction waned as Stalin took over Russia. Maraniss shares the stories of men whose high ideals brought them to the Communist Party. Some of his U of M friends went to fight in the Spanish Civil War, which was against American law.
"There are aspects of his thinking during that period that I can't reconcile, and will never reconcile, as hard as I try to figure them out and as much of a trail as he left for me through his writings." from A Good American Family by David Maraniss

A Good American Family is the story of his father and his generation of progressive idealists during the Red Scare. Maraniss plumbed the records to understand his father and reconcile the man he knew with the man who stood in front of the House Un-American Committee--was he a revolutionary or on "the liberal side of the popular front?"

Maraniss draws on his father's letters and newspaper articles and obtained access to government files. He tells the stories of the men behind the hearings and the grandmother who was paid to infiltrated the Michigan Communist Party and gather names. The overarching narrative is the story of how the Red scare was born and grew in power. The House Committee hearings were not legal court procedures and those on the stand did not have the protections offered in court hearings.

What is a 'good American family'? Can we hold and voice personal convictions that some deem threatening and still be considered good citizens? The book is a personal history and a record of the abuse of unbridled power unleashed by fear.

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

A Good American Family
by David Maraniss
Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 2019
$28 hardcover
ISBN13: 9781501178375

Read about Maraniss's previous book Once in a Great City at