Mar 232005
Authors: Kate Dzintars

Countless books, novels and movies have told the tales of the men and soldiers of World War II, overshadowing the stories of civilians and especially women. A Fort Collins writer is attempting to fill that void.

Teresa Funke read her short story "Enemy You Know" at CSU's Women at Noon Program Wednesday in Lory Student Center room 230 as part of Women's History Month. The story is part of "Dancing in Combat Boots," a collection of short stories of 13 women's experiences during World War II. She said while there are historical accounts of the military happenings, there was no detailed account of the civilians' experience and virtually no account of the women's experience.

Funke picked that particular story because it takes place at a prisoner of war camp in Greeley. Two stone pillars are all that remain of the camp, and stand in a cornfield next to Highway 34.

"I definitely honor what men went through in World War II," Funke said, "But I wanted to know about the women."

Funke was inspired to write these stories while doing research for a Public Broadcasting Service series about Wake Island, a U.S. air and naval base captured by the Japanese during World War II.

Through her research for the novel "Remember Wake," Funke found the 13 women she interviewed for the background of her stories. She said the stories are 90 percent fact, but she supplemented that with fiction to better tell the story and interest the readers.

The women she interviewed were surprised that she wanted only their stories. Their husbands who fought in the war were also surprised.

"Men would linger in the doorway and not believe that I didn't want to hear their story, too," Funke said.

Funke said she thought the book itself would honor the women she interviewed and hurried to finish. However, when she contacted some of the women again several years after her initial research, they remembered her, but had forgotten she was even writing a book.

"What stuck was that I listened to their stories," Funke said.

The audience of about 50 women with several men peppered throughout asked questions after hearing Funke talk about women in the war and read her story. A Women at Noon regular, Jean Yule, talked about her own experience as a child of the war and the challenges it presented on the home front.

The presentation made one audience member a Teresa Funke fan.

"I just bought her book," said Brook Straughan, a senior consumer and family studies major. "I definitely will read her other stuff."

As well as writing, Funke also puts on workshops for novice and experienced writers with topics such as getting started, writing fiction and nonfiction and marketing yourself. Funke regularly updates her Web site,, which features excerpts of her writing, her biography and contact information.

Karen Wedge, the former director of Women's Studies programming at CSU, started the Women at Noon program 26 years ago. Jody Jessup Anger said the goal of the program is to provide a place for women, as well as men, to come together to learn about women and the issues they face.

The office of Women's Studies meets annually to collect ideas to present a variety of educational and informative programming.

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