Guest Pinner: If Nancy Wake Pinned

nancy wakenancy wake repins via | via | Nancy Wake image and bio via

In 2013 America, it’s hard to imagine that there are and were spys. That people endangered their lives, lived in fear, and started everyday not completely certain they would end it still in this world.

Nancy Wake was one of the most decorated members of the French Resistance during WWII, earning the French government’s highest military medal, and England and America’s second highest. Leaving home at 16, she worked as a nurse and then a freelance journalist until she fell in love with the city of Paris and her future Parisian husband. Her subsequent social standing and wealth acquired from her marriage, made her a less than suspicious French citizen and when the war broke out, she became an escort and courier to the Allies, helping hundreds of injured airmen escape to safety into Spain. Her years as a journalist in Vienna showed her first-hand how brutal the Nazi regime was, and her hatred for them overcame any fear she might have felt as a member of the French Resistance. Besides, she wanted to do her part for the war effort, for she never understood “why we women should just wave our men a proud goodbye and then knit them balaclavas.” In 1943 when the Nazis finally discovered her activities, her husband was executed and she barely escaped to England where she joined the S.O.E. intelligence group. Wake parachuted back into France along with other S.O.E. members to set up communication lines, and gather and hide ammunition before D-Day for the incoming American and British forces.

Wake used her femininity as an advantage, knowing, as a woman in the 1940’s, she wouldn’t have been suspected  as the elusive “white mouse” that the Germans eventually knew her as. Her success and courage during the war years has made her a subject of documentaries, films, and dramas about her life. In a 2011 article published after her death in The New York Times, she said she enjoyed the re-made versions of her life except for the ones that portrayed her as having affairs during the war years. Though by her own admission she loved nothing more than “a good drink” and handsome men, she never had an affair because, she said, “if I had accommodated one man, the word would have spread around, and I would have had to accommodate the whole damn lot!” If Nancy Wake pinned, I think her boards would have a poignancy, a drama, and a sense of courage from a woman who knew exactly how far her femininity could get her and when to draw the line against an evil world.

Happy Veterans Day to all the veterans and currently serving men and women who will be someday!

**Check out this article too about another WWII female spy and the upcoming movie about her tragic and powerful life.** 

– <3 A. 


young julia child

I began the month of January with resolve: resolving to reexamine my dreams, to not give up too soon, to seek to be more independent, and to learn to be content. I’m ending the month with patience; something I think is actually much harder than resolving. To resolve is simply to put into motion, to determine something, to begin, and to strive for. Patience is enduring, tolerating disappointment, waiting on conclusions, and accepting the right-now.

Julia Child is a study in patience. Though seemingly confident, carefree, and good-natured in both her own television appearances and the Hollywood interpretations of her, she endured much disappointment and latent success throughout her life.  Graduating from Smith College in 1934 with a degree in History, Child emerged from her college years without “the Mrs. that had been the ultimate four year goal”  (Jacobs, Vanity Fair, “Our Lady of the Kitchen“). While modern women would be horrified to think that the sole reason for higher education was to better the chances of landing a man, in the 1930’s, this was not only a common practice, but an expected goal for women. Though Julia was a slim, beautiful woman described as having “penetrating blue eyes,” at 6 feet 2 inches, she towered over most men who weren’t willing to stand up beside her. Without the certain path of marriage that most of her female peers were choosing, Child instead jumped from job to job, concluding with a typist and researcher position with the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. It was there that she met her husband and was married to him in 1946 when she was 34 years old, a common age for many modern women to tie the knot, but an age considered in the 1940’s to be well-entrenched into the “old maid” years.

julia child Julia’s career path endured even more halting steps than her path to marriage. She didn’t publish her first book until 1961 at the age of 49 years old after many publishing house refusals, re-writes, and years of work on her manuscript. For a woman as well-known as Julia, the first fifty years of her life were seemingly status-quo. Patience was definitely something Julia was a pro at. Plodding along, her life-path begun as an awkward girl without a date concluded as one of the most well-known and most treasured chefs, television personalities, and women of the 21st century. So, patience it is and “soldier on!” I think Julia would say, who knows what grand things the future holds.

– <3 A. 

Sources: “Our lady of the kitchen,” Jacobs, Vanity Fair for quotes and images

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