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Glimpse of history

Wind Crest blogger shares story of service as a Red Cross nurse

Created date

April 24th, 2012

These days, anyone can self-publish by creating a blog an online journal that includes comments and reflections from readers. That s how Jeannette Albersheim, who lives at Wind Crest, an Erickson Living community in Highlands Ranch, Colo., published her book. And she encourages others to do the same.

A vision for publication

As a nurse for the Red Cross during World War II, Jeannette saw a lot and had a story to share. Jeannette had a clear vision for her book: she wanted to make it accessible to family, friends, and historians but didn t want to invest a lot of time and money into copyediting, marketing, and promotion. She also wasn t interested in making money from it. All she wanted to do was tell her story. Though Jeannette began writing her book before she moved to Wind Crest, she didn t get serious about finishing until after the move. She joined Wisdom Writers, a writers group at Wind Crest that shares work on a weekly basis. There, she was able to focus and gain feedback from her peers. Additionally, Jeannette can literally write anywhere at Wind Crest in her spacious, two-bedroom apartment home or around campus like the cafe or the fireside lounge. When she was finished, Jeannette considered self-publishing. Around that time, she saw an advertisement for a service from Douglas County Libraries that piqued her interest: So You Want to Be an Author. She contacted the library to see what it was all about. You talk to libraries, publishers, authors and everyone is freaked out about not only the current state of publishing but the future as well, says Jaime LaRue, director of Douglas County Libraries, who offers the service. Are books, in fact, dead? Not according to LaRue. There has been an explosion of writing, he says, and the challenge now is to sift through what s good and what s not. In fact, LaRue coins this time as the most exciting period in publishing history. A blog is the cheapest and most effective way to get your message out into the world these days, he adds. That was news to Jeannette. It never even occurred to me to put my story up as a blog, she says. LaRue assisted Jeannette in creating her blog and uploading her material: 40 chapters, including photographs. All in all, the library offered Jeannette 30 hours of support to post her blog, which launched in December 2011. Jeannette s story is a fascinating glimpse of history, LaRue says. Since its launch, has received more than 900 visits. Jeannette continues to write even more material for her blog. The only thing truly accessible is the written word, she says.

Excerpt from Red Cross at War

by Jeannette Albersheim ( Chapter 1: Off to War Lady Be Good!suddenly streamed down from a band from up above our gangplank s single line of olive drab female drudges the 110 nurses and 5 Red Cross workers assigned to the 95th General Hospital embarking on the Aquitania in early January 1944. To reach the port from Camp Kilmer, N.J., on an old railroad track we had to march several blocks loaded with every item we possessed (excluding the footlocker that would be shipped). We toted unbelievable weight: we had to wear our warmest wool clothes, plus the GI wool-lined full-length raincoat, heavy wool scarf and gloves, 4-buckle rubber galoshes over field boots, our heads topped off with steel helmets and liners, carrying the ditty bags loaded with our travel clothes and personal items on one shoulder and on the other our gas masks in their bags. Is this trip necessary? I wondered for the first time on the adventure (but not the last). Never, though, did I question my decision to join the war effort except for times of fatigue or extreme physical discomfort. My Red Cross experience was the most fulfilling work experience of my life.