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  • Marjorie Her War Years | Dundurn Press
  • Marjorie Her War Years eBook by Patricia Skidmore.



Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was born on 8 August 1896 in Washington, DC. Her father was principal examiner in the U.S. Patent Office, but according to Rawlings, "he lived the true life of his mind and heart on his Maryland farm" ("Marjorie Rawlings" 343). Rawlings claimed that she "learned her love of nature" from her father. Her mother's family was from southern Michigan, and she spent her summers on their farm. Living close to the land as she was growing up "planted deep in [her] a love of the soil, the crops, the seasons and a sense of kinship with men and women everywhere who live close to the soil" (343).

Rawlings began writing at an early age and started publishing letters and award-winning short stories in the Washington Post when she was fourteen years old. Her father died in 1913, and the family moved to Wisconsin, where Rawlings attended the University of Wisconsin. She thrived in college and pursued drama and writing, often publishing her works in the Wisconsin Literary Magazine . She starred in a play titled Lima Beans during her junior year. She met and fell in love with Charles Rawlings, and they became engaged during her senior year.

Rawlings seemed fascinated with the wildness of the country and its people as she exclaimed to Perkins, "The scrub, as a matter of fact, has defeated civilization" (44). The "scanty population" that remained and was almost a dying breed of people is what captured her imagination. She explains the hold that people such as the Fiddias had on her: "I knew they were gentle; honest. I knew that living was precarious, but just how hand-to-mouth it is, surprised me. I was also astonished by the utter lack of bleakness or despair , in a group living momentarily on the very edge of starvation and danger" (44).

From the hockey field to the classroom, Marjorie Godfrey is recognised as a pioneer for women in Queensland. Contact looks back on the achievements of one of UQ’s oldest living alumni as she celebrates her 100th birthday.

UQ alumna Marjorie Godfrey has lived a remarkable life on the path to her recent centenary, witnessing milestones in history that have shaped Brisbane, Queensland and the world.

Although Mrs Godfrey (Bachelor of Arts ’39) graduated from UQ almost 80 years ago, she still holds memories of her time at university dearly.

Marjorie Guthrie is remembered for her several careers. She was first a dancer and then a teacher. She founded the Woody Guthrie Children’s Fund and Archive (in 1956) to preserve her husband’s works for future audiences. Finally, during the last fifteen years of her life, she became a national advocate for basic biomedical research on the diseases of the chronically ill.

She grew up in an intellectual atmosphere, influenced by her parents’ commitment to Zionism, socialism, and Jewish welfare. Her mother, Aliza Waitzman Greenblatt , was a Russian-born Yiddish poet, later known to the Guthrie family and their friends as “Bubie.” Aliza Waitzman had been an adventurous young woman. In 1900, she “stole the border” (fled illegally) from the shtetl Ozarinetz, Bessarabia, and made her way to Philadelphia, where she met her future husband. Aliza Waitzman and Isidor Greenblatt courted at the Radical Library, attending lectures on atheism, anarchism and philosophy.

Marjorie Mazia met Woody Guthrie at the Almanac House in Greenwich Village, where hootenannies (folk music sing-alongs) were held. In their small physical size, they resembled each other. They married in 1945 and combined their musical talents and political idealism, calling themselves “World Shakers and World Changers.” Woody was Marjorie’s second husband; she was his second wife and the main support of the family. In between dancing and teaching, she had four children with Woody Guthrie: Cathy (b. 1943), Arlo (b. 1947), Joady (b. 1948), and Nora (b. 1950). Cathy died in an accident at age four on February 9, 1947.

Her family broken apart and her identity taken away, she had to forget her past in order to face her future. But forgetting isn’t forever.

Taken from their mother’s care and deported from England to the colonies, Marjorie Arnison and her nine-year-old brother, Kenny, were sent to the Prince of Wales Fairbridge Farm School on Vancouver Island in September 1937. Their eight-year-old sister, Audrey, followed the next August.

Marjorie's new home was an isolated farm, in a cottage with at least ten other girls, with a “cottage mother” at the head. Cottage mothers had complete control over their “children” like Marjorie.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was born on 8 August 1896 in Washington, DC. Her father was principal examiner in the U.S. Patent Office, but according to Rawlings, "he lived the true life of his mind and heart on his Maryland farm" ("Marjorie Rawlings" 343). Rawlings claimed that she "learned her love of nature" from her father. Her mother's family was from southern Michigan, and she spent her summers on their farm. Living close to the land as she was growing up "planted deep in [her] a love of the soil, the crops, the seasons and a sense of kinship with men and women everywhere who live close to the soil" (343).

Rawlings began writing at an early age and started publishing letters and award-winning short stories in the Washington Post when she was fourteen years old. Her father died in 1913, and the family moved to Wisconsin, where Rawlings attended the University of Wisconsin. She thrived in college and pursued drama and writing, often publishing her works in the Wisconsin Literary Magazine . She starred in a play titled Lima Beans during her junior year. She met and fell in love with Charles Rawlings, and they became engaged during her senior year.

Rawlings seemed fascinated with the wildness of the country and its people as she exclaimed to Perkins, "The scrub, as a matter of fact, has defeated civilization" (44). The "scanty population" that remained and was almost a dying breed of people is what captured her imagination. She explains the hold that people such as the Fiddias had on her: "I knew they were gentle; honest. I knew that living was precarious, but just how hand-to-mouth it is, surprised me. I was also astonished by the utter lack of bleakness or despair , in a group living momentarily on the very edge of starvation and danger" (44).

From the hockey field to the classroom, Marjorie Godfrey is recognised as a pioneer for women in Queensland. Contact looks back on the achievements of one of UQ’s oldest living alumni as she celebrates her 100th birthday.

UQ alumna Marjorie Godfrey has lived a remarkable life on the path to her recent centenary, witnessing milestones in history that have shaped Brisbane, Queensland and the world.

Although Mrs Godfrey (Bachelor of Arts ’39) graduated from UQ almost 80 years ago, she still holds memories of her time at university dearly.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was born on 8 August 1896 in Washington, DC. Her father was principal examiner in the U.S. Patent Office, but according to Rawlings, "he lived the true life of his mind and heart on his Maryland farm" ("Marjorie Rawlings" 343). Rawlings claimed that she "learned her love of nature" from her father. Her mother's family was from southern Michigan, and she spent her summers on their farm. Living close to the land as she was growing up "planted deep in [her] a love of the soil, the crops, the seasons and a sense of kinship with men and women everywhere who live close to the soil" (343).

Rawlings began writing at an early age and started publishing letters and award-winning short stories in the Washington Post when she was fourteen years old. Her father died in 1913, and the family moved to Wisconsin, where Rawlings attended the University of Wisconsin. She thrived in college and pursued drama and writing, often publishing her works in the Wisconsin Literary Magazine . She starred in a play titled Lima Beans during her junior year. She met and fell in love with Charles Rawlings, and they became engaged during her senior year.

Rawlings seemed fascinated with the wildness of the country and its people as she exclaimed to Perkins, "The scrub, as a matter of fact, has defeated civilization" (44). The "scanty population" that remained and was almost a dying breed of people is what captured her imagination. She explains the hold that people such as the Fiddias had on her: "I knew they were gentle; honest. I knew that living was precarious, but just how hand-to-mouth it is, surprised me. I was also astonished by the utter lack of bleakness or despair , in a group living momentarily on the very edge of starvation and danger" (44).

From the hockey field to the classroom, Marjorie Godfrey is recognised as a pioneer for women in Queensland. Contact looks back on the achievements of one of UQ’s oldest living alumni as she celebrates her 100th birthday.

UQ alumna Marjorie Godfrey has lived a remarkable life on the path to her recent centenary, witnessing milestones in history that have shaped Brisbane, Queensland and the world.

Although Mrs Godfrey (Bachelor of Arts ’39) graduated from UQ almost 80 years ago, she still holds memories of her time at university dearly.

Marjorie Guthrie is remembered for her several careers. She was first a dancer and then a teacher. She founded the Woody Guthrie Children’s Fund and Archive (in 1956) to preserve her husband’s works for future audiences. Finally, during the last fifteen years of her life, she became a national advocate for basic biomedical research on the diseases of the chronically ill.

She grew up in an intellectual atmosphere, influenced by her parents’ commitment to Zionism, socialism, and Jewish welfare. Her mother, Aliza Waitzman Greenblatt , was a Russian-born Yiddish poet, later known to the Guthrie family and their friends as “Bubie.” Aliza Waitzman had been an adventurous young woman. In 1900, she “stole the border” (fled illegally) from the shtetl Ozarinetz, Bessarabia, and made her way to Philadelphia, where she met her future husband. Aliza Waitzman and Isidor Greenblatt courted at the Radical Library, attending lectures on atheism, anarchism and philosophy.

Marjorie Mazia met Woody Guthrie at the Almanac House in Greenwich Village, where hootenannies (folk music sing-alongs) were held. In their small physical size, they resembled each other. They married in 1945 and combined their musical talents and political idealism, calling themselves “World Shakers and World Changers.” Woody was Marjorie’s second husband; she was his second wife and the main support of the family. In between dancing and teaching, she had four children with Woody Guthrie: Cathy (b. 1943), Arlo (b. 1947), Joady (b. 1948), and Nora (b. 1950). Cathy died in an accident at age four on February 9, 1947.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was born on 8 August 1896 in Washington, DC. Her father was principal examiner in the U.S. Patent Office, but according to Rawlings, "he lived the true life of his mind and heart on his Maryland farm" ("Marjorie Rawlings" 343). Rawlings claimed that she "learned her love of nature" from her father. Her mother's family was from southern Michigan, and she spent her summers on their farm. Living close to the land as she was growing up "planted deep in [her] a love of the soil, the crops, the seasons and a sense of kinship with men and women everywhere who live close to the soil" (343).

Rawlings began writing at an early age and started publishing letters and award-winning short stories in the Washington Post when she was fourteen years old. Her father died in 1913, and the family moved to Wisconsin, where Rawlings attended the University of Wisconsin. She thrived in college and pursued drama and writing, often publishing her works in the Wisconsin Literary Magazine . She starred in a play titled Lima Beans during her junior year. She met and fell in love with Charles Rawlings, and they became engaged during her senior year.

Rawlings seemed fascinated with the wildness of the country and its people as she exclaimed to Perkins, "The scrub, as a matter of fact, has defeated civilization" (44). The "scanty population" that remained and was almost a dying breed of people is what captured her imagination. She explains the hold that people such as the Fiddias had on her: "I knew they were gentle; honest. I knew that living was precarious, but just how hand-to-mouth it is, surprised me. I was also astonished by the utter lack of bleakness or despair , in a group living momentarily on the very edge of starvation and danger" (44).



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