Ann Kelsey was born June 20, 1946 in Indiana, though she grew up in southern California. Her father was a World War Two navy veteran, who continued to work with the navy as a civilian contractor in the postwar period. Because of that Ann grew up in Riverside, California, not too far from Branch AFB, where she experienced a “Cold War” childhood, doing duck and cover drills as B-52s flew out of the nearby airfield. Ann was studying library science at UCLA, and it was there that she was recruited by the army; they were looking for librarians for US army bases around the world. Ann, incensed by the negative treatment accorded returning Vietnam veterans, volunteered to go to Vietnam. She was a librarian there for one year, keeping soldiers informed and distracted – and studying – during her time in country. She describes the system very well here, as she does the situation of American women in Vietnam, some of whom were confronted by the violence and desperate circumstances brought on by the war. Ann returned home to the US after her year in Vietnam, and struggled to find herself. She ended up moving to the east coast, where she married and managed to find her way back into civilian life. Crestwood students were lucky to hear Ann’s story over zoom in May 2021.
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