BettyConnI am honored to have become friends with marine Betty Conn, who proudly served in World War II (pictured with me). She set me straight on a few ’40s facts while I was writing Return To Me, and shared an early draft with her 20-member book club at The Woodlands of St. Barnabas. Their input was generous and invaluable.

During my author talk and book signing at St. Barnabas yesterday, attendees shared stories from their past and talked about family heirlooms — beaded bags from the ’20s that had belonged to their relatives and pictures from World War II era.

StBarnabasTalk“An old boyfriend gave me a compact mirror in the forties,” said one of the attendees. The compact on display that I described in my novel stirred up memories. “The coin slot was for the ladies room. You had to pay to use it.”

Betty Conn remembered her summer uniform: “It was green and white striped.”

Conn’s best friend was a woman by the last name of Sneed. “We called her Sneedy. She came back from furlough once with two turkeys,” Conn shared. “She named them Thanksgiving and Christmas. They went around like pets though. She loved animals like nobody else. It was sad when they had to go.” Conn and her marine friends would walk into the feed store in town and buy food for the turkeys. Many years later, Conn flew to visit Sneedy in Texas, and took a taxi to her home. “I knew which house was hers before I saw the house number,” she said with a broad grin. “She’d hung her marine jacket on the door for me.”


Another highlight was reconnecting with one of my former students (pictured in the back row) who finished her memoir during our writing workshop and has gifted it to her family members.

Thank you to everyone who ventured out on a rainy Tuesday to spend a little time with me. All of you – mothers, grandmothers, librarians, teachers, veterans! Thank you to St. Barnabas for hosting me.

In honor of Veteran’s Day today, I want to thank veterans everywhere! You put your life on the line for us. You’re separated from your own family to protect our country. I wish I had half of your courage and generosity! #Remembering #ThankyouVets !