The weekend was busy, but also so much fun. The show for which I am assistant director opened last Thursday and ran Friday and Saturday, with a matinee on Sunday. It is a funny, but somewhat naughty show – “The Underpants” by Steve Martin. The script is an adaptation of the 1910 German farce “Die Hose” by the playwright Carl Sternheim.
WHAT I’M READING – Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey for review – a wonderful story told from the perspective of two women who love one child. Very well done. The book is available for pre-order, and will release early in May.
CELEBRATING STRONG WOMEN – Today’s special lady is Hattie Brantley, who was an Army officer and a nurse in WWII. I read about her in a local newspaper, The County Line, and was so impressed I wanted to share a bit of her story.
As a lieutenant, Brantley was stationed in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. She was evacuated to the fortified island of Corregidor and escaped the horrors of the Bataan Death March, but was taken to the prison camp at the University of Santo Tomas. She served there from 1942 until she was liberated in 1945. While at the prison camp, she cared for fellow prisoners, including survivors of the death march and Japanese abuses.
She was one of 75 nurses held at the camp and they were known as the “Angels of Bataan.”
Conditions were horrible at the camp and many people died, but Brantley and the other nurses were ordered not to talk about conditions there. In a 2002 interview with Dallas Morning News Columnist Jacquielynn Floyd Brantley said, “We never had enough to eat.” On a diet of little more than cornmeal gruel, watery coconut milk and unflagging hope, they endured. Once a week, one of the nurses would climb the tallest tree in the compound, scanning the ocean for the American warships they were certain would eventually come to liberate them.
In 1969, Brantley retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel after nearly 30 years of service. At that time, she was the last Army prisoner of war nurse from World War II still in uniform.
Hattie Brantley was born in Jefferson, Texas, where she returned after retirement. She initially left home because she wanted more in her life than to marry and settle on a farm and have a passel of babies. She went to Dallas and studied nursing at Baylor University, serving on staff at the hospital before joining the Army.
It must have taken a lot of strength and courage to survive the prison camp and work so hard to help others to survive. For that, I salute Hattie Brantley.