because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mona Parsons

Canadian Mona Parsons wanted to be an actress back when the road to that goal was taking courses in elocution (speech), so she did. But for an in-your-face woman like Parsons, being a showgirl in the Ziegfield Follies promised a more direct route. So she did that, too. Then, trying to devise a fall-back plan (just in case), Parsons became a nurse. And finally, she decided to hedge all her bets and married a Dutch millionaire.

Fortunately -- since in-your-face women are easily bored -- that was only several years before Hitler invaded Holland. So Parsons dismissed all her servants and turned their quarters into a hiding place for downed British and American airmen. No one knows exactly how many airmen she hid and safely returned to their units during the eighteen months she ran her clandestine operation, but in September of 1941, she was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced first to be executed and then to spend her life at hard labor.

For more than three years, Parsons slaved for the Nazis in one prison camp or another, denied the "privileges" of reading, writing or even speaking. Then, on March 24, 1945, Parsons and a Dutch baroness escaped and walked 78 miles in freezing winter weather without either shoes or coats. Though she knew German, Parsons didn't want any German soldiers to pick up on her Canadian accent, so she used her old acting skills to pretend to be mentally challenged. It worked and within a few weeks, she reached safety where she enjoyed another twenty-five years of life after an ordeal only an in-your-face woman could survive. Just because a woman is beautiful doesn't mean she isn't tough.

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