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Women's Memorial Needs $1 Million

May 16, 1986|BEVERLY BEYETTE | Beverly Beyette.

"If we don't see women in our monuments, do we think of women who served?" The question is posed by Diane Carlson Evans, a former Army nurse in Vietnam who is heading up the Vietnam Women's Memorial Project, a national campaign to have a statue of a woman veteran placed near Washington's Vietnam Memorial and the adjacent sculpture of three fighting men.

A 33-inch bronze replica of the statue will be on display at the Vietnam Women's Memorial Project booth June 13-19 when the American Nurses' Assn. meets at the Anaheim Convention Center. The association, as well as the VFW and the American Legion, has endorsed the memorial.

Evans, now a doctor's wife and mother of four living in River Falls, Wis., explained in a telephone interview: "It's important we have visible reminders that women, too, served their country." Eight women died in Vietnam and their names are carved in the slash of black granite commonly called "the Wall," but there is no recognition, she said, that 10,000 women--7,000 of them nurses--served in Vietnam.

Organizers need $1 million, all in private donations, and have set a target date of Veterans Day, 1987 for dedication of the 7-foot bronze statue of a woman in military fatigues and boots, helmet in hand. It is the creation of Minnesota sculptor Rodger Brodin, who served as a Marine in Vietnam. To date, Carlson said, the campaign has raised $63,000.

Approval Needed

The project will hinge on approval of the Department of the Interior, the Fine Arts Commission and the National Capital Planning Commission. "If they don't approve," Carlson said, "then we will have to go the congressional route."

Carlson, 39, reflects on her Vietnam service as "a very powerful year in my life," one that both haunts her and gives her strength, and she is determined the project will succeed. She says of the statue, "She needs to stand beside the brothers she served with."

Skeptics have asked why women Vietnam veterans should be so honored when women who have served in other wars have not been. "A good question," she said. "We've raised the awareness." Rep. Mary Rose Oakar (D-Ohio), recently proposed a memorial honoring all women who have served in war or peace.

The Vietnam Women's Memorial Project is headquartered at 511 11th Ave. South, Box 45, Minneapolis 55415.

Mr. and Mrs. Pasadena

When Mr. and Mrs. Pasadena are chosen Monday afternoon at City Hall as part of Pasadena's centennial celebration, Oliver Prickett, 81, will be among the speakers. He also has a shot at the Mr. Pasadena title, which will go to the man who has lived the longest in Pasadena: Prickett arrived in 1906, at the age of 6 months.

"I'm crazy about it," he said of Pasadena, even while admitting, "You see an awful lot of growing up that I suppose is P for Progress. I liked it better in the old days but there's nothing I can do about it anyway. And it's coming along."

When Prickett was 12, he first trod the boards at the old Pasadena Playhouse, playing Billy Wiggs in a production of "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch." He was hooked. As a professional actor, he would be in more than 100 playhouse productions over a 40-year period, play the New York stage and make about 100 films, including "Casablanca."

"I've kind of slowed to a walk now," said Prickett, who retired from films in 1976. "You have to be in condition for that," he said. "You're good for one take, but they may want 35."

Spokeswoman Christle Balvin said this week that the Mr. and Mrs. Pasadena competition "is heating up" with 35 official entrants and others expected to just show up at the reception and ceremony, open to all seniors, at 3 p.m. Monday.

"We've heard there are two in their 100s," Balvin said, "but we don't know if they've lived here that long." The competition, she said, will be "very much on the honor system."

High-Climbing Women

Kathleen Giel, a 32-year-old Pacific Gas & Electric resource analyst from Albany, Calif., who's been climbing mountains for 16 years, is coordinating the 1986 Women's Expedition to Mt. Kongur, which hopes to make mountain-climbing history as the first Americans--and the first all-women's team--to scale the 25,325-foot summit in China's northwestern Himalayas.

"We'll be nine women, a Chinese interpreter, a Chinese liaison officer and probably 15 camels and two camel drivers," Giel said. "We'll be on the mountain for 40 days."

The plan is for the climbers, who include Joan Provencher, 39, a San Francisco painting contractor, to board a plane June 5 bound for Peking by way of Shanghai, where they will deliver greetings from Mayor Dianne Feinstein of San Francisco, Shanghai's sister city.

The women, all experienced climbers, do not want to climb Mt. Kongur solely because it's there. Among the nine are a photographer who plans to make a video focusing on women's achievement and teamwork, and a psychologist conducting research on the psychological and physiological effects of altitude on cognitive functioning.

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