Teachers who are taking one of the courses I teach at Queens College, read Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II and were delighted to learn that Dot Chastney whose memories I use throughout Rosie appears (under her married name Dot Emer) in my forthcoming book Thanksgiving: The True Story. “After reading Rosie, I feel that I know Dot,” enthused Patricia, a kindergarten teacher. “Please say ‘hello’ to her from me.”
When I said that Dot had recently emailed a picture, they asked me to post it (a picture of Dot in third grade is in Rosie, p. 1.) With Dot’s permission, here is a picture of her with the Lama Tenzin along with excerpts from her email. But first a brief update: Having retired as the children’s librarian in Englewood, NJ, Dot and her husband Ralph (who also appears in Thanksgiving: The True Story) moved to Boca Raton, Florida where Dot is a middle school librarian at Saint Andrew’s.
“We’re having an interesting week at school,” she wrote. “The Friends of the Arts have brought a Buddhist monk, Lama Tenzin, on campus to create a mandala. Have you ever seen one? It’s a beautiful design all made of colored sand . . . . He’s working on the mandala in the foyer to the dining hall and so all the kids get to watch him as they go back and forth to meals . . . . On Thursday after lunch they will sweep all the sand into jars and carry them to the pond for a ceremony, returning sand to the earth and spreading it throughout the world . . . . The Lama has a very good sense of humor and seems to enjoy talking to everyone.”
p.s. Update from Dot in response to a request from my students that she send them a message: “I’ll think about something relevant to write to your students. Right now we’re on spring break until April 1. I brought home a stack of books to read from my new book shipment of about 400 books! Perhaps I could make some comment about doing that and my reactions to what I’m reading, AND my frustrations with some of the books. I can also make a few comments about non-fiction books I buy.”