Mamie Eisenhower
Thomas E. Stephens, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Marine Corps Air Station

Kaneohe Bay, Oahu

Saturday, June 18th, 1960

At twenty-three, Marion Jennings (née Gustavson) is too old to be homesick.

Or so her mother says during their once-a-month, long-distance chat.

“There’s no time for wallowing, Marion Louise. You have a husband and a new baby to care for,” she tells her. “Instead of crying about living in paradise, you should be attending to your husband’s career.”

This is not what Marion wants to hear. These phone calls are a lifeline between the Marine Corps base and her home in Virginia, 4,800 miles, one ocean, and twelve states away. She counts the days between calls, eager for love and support from home. When the conversation becomes a lecture, like today, she feels more isolated than ever.

Marion hates being an adult. She hates Hawaii, hates the humidity, hates the bugs and critters, hates the constant sound of palm trees flapping in the trade winds, and most of all, she hates being alone while her husband, Shep, is on duty. She wishes she could be one of those perfect, disciplined Marine wives who juggles everything so easily: the women with spotless houses and babies who are clean and beautifully dressed, who make time for socializing with friends, and have the energy leftover to look beautiful while serving delicious suppers to their husbands each night. Marion fears she’ll never measure up to them, never make Shep proud of her.

She is only disciplined about one thing: going on long daily walks with the baby and the dog up and down the hills of the base. After hanging up the phone, Marion pounds out her frustration on the pavement, registering her complaints to Baby June.

“If you ever get homesick, Honey Bunny, I’ll give you all the sympathy and cuddles in the world, no matter how old you are. You’ll always be my baby girl.”

She pauses, winded from the climb, and looks out over Kaneohe Bay, or K-Bay, to the locals. With a foot on one wheel of the baby carriage to prevent it from rolling, she adjusts the kerchief covering her wet hair in pin curls. Freckles, her obnoxious Springer Spaniel puppy, yanks at the leash, straining toward home to dig another escape route under the backyard fence. Marion finds nothing pleasurable about these walks, but without the exertion, Freckles would double down on his mischief, June would be up all night, and Marion would never get rid of the extra baby weight. Walk they must.

“Tonight,” she tells the baby, “Mama is going to a party with President Eisenhower. It’s going to be so exciting.” A smile flashes across Junie’s lips. Marion is so proud of her little genius, just eight weeks old and smiling like a star.

She talks to June on their outings because she read it’s healthy for the baby’s development—and because she has no one else. She tells her about the reception honoring the president, what she might wear, and how she hopes to see the first lady up-close.

“Daddy’s been taking care of the president’s security,” she continues. “Yesterday, when he picked him up at the golf course, President Eisenhower remembered him and said, ‘Good afternoon, Lieutenant Jennings.’ Isn’t that incredible?”

She looks into the carriage, and June is asleep. She quickens her pace in order to get home to complete her chores while the baby naps.

At the house, she parks the buggy in a quiet corner of the living room. The dog drinks noisily from his water bowl. She runs through her to-do list and realizes if she wants Junie to stay asleep, washing the dishes and vacuuming are out of the question. It’s getting late, and she still has so much to do.

Thoughts of housework aside, she pulls out a pack of Viceroys from the pocket of her muumuu and steps outside to the lanai. She has no business wasting time like this, but panic over tonight’s party consumes her, and she needs a smoke. A few puffs later, her body relaxes, and she flicks a long ash into the aloe plant by her cactus garden.

This will be her first time out in society since the baby was born. More than anything, Marion wants to look pretty for her husband. While these formals are often opportunities for junior officers to impress their superiors, she sees it as her chance to be captivating for Shep, to be something other than a homesick housewife. All she wants is to remind him of the golden girl she was back home.

Home, where she was the best of the best—cheerleading captain and prom queen, with the handsome J. Shepard Jennings, Jr., crowned king by her side. Home, where she made dean’s list all four years at Sweet Briar and was named the sweetheart of Shep’s fraternity at Virginia. Home, where she effortlessly earned prize after prize. It dawns on her that adulthood offers few accolades. There is no extra credit to be earned, no more crowns to wear. There is only one goal: to be a good wife and mother.

Everyone says a military wife’s job is to make her husband look good, but no one has ever explained how. What has she done to boost Shep’s career? Nothing, that’s what. It would be all her fault if they never got transferred off this molten rock. Never got back to the East Coast, never lived in a house that didn’t smell of damp, never slept without a mosquito net, never bought the brick colonial of her dreams. She’d have no one but herself to blame if they never had a place like home.

But this is no time for agonizing over what was, or what might never be. Marion has to get cracking. She blows one last smoke ring, stubs out the cigarette, and forces herself inside to set up the ironing board. Of the many challenges of military life, the trickiest has been learning to iron Shep’s uniform with Marine Corps precision. Tonight, the pressure is on. Everything must be flawless.

In the bedroom, she searches for a dress she can squeeze herself into. Alarm grips her as she flips the hangers past maternity dresses, a pre-pregnancy gown, her engagement party and going-away dresses —none of which looks like a fit. Rivulets of sweat trickle down her back. She turns the ceiling fan to high and digs deeper into the cramped closet. Could she belt the lavender shantung maternity dress to give it a cinch? Holding it against her body, she checks the mirror. Lord, I’ll look like an Easter egg, she thinks. She feels far from captivating and very close to giving up and canceling the babysitter.

Marion takes a girdle from the dresser and yanks and pulls, swears and tucks, attempting to get her body into the strapless gown. She expels every ounce of air from her lungs, shrinking her rib cage to get the side zipper closed. This dress, with its particular shade of pale blue, compliments Marion’s coloring, highlighting her sapphire eyes framed by chestnut hair. The zipper is just about there. Those walks with the baby and the dog have not been in vain. She exhales further, and—success!

Looking down, all she can see are her breasts, still enormous from pregnancy, spilling out of the décolletage, making Marion feel overexposed. Rather than containing her, the boning of the dress pushes her bosom up and out. She has no idea if she looks glamorous like Liz Taylor or trampy (like Liz Taylor). She’ll have to model for Shep and pray he approves. This dress is her only hope. She shimmies out of the gown, tosses it on the bed, and takes in a lungful of air.

June wakes and starts to cry. Marion hurries to the carriage and picks up the sweet cherub, shushing her softly on the way to the kitchen. Bouncing, bouncing, bouncing Junie on one hip, she mixes a bottle of formula and stands it up in a pan of water to heat. The kitchen is a mess. The dog paces by his empty bowl. It is almost five o’clock. Shep will be home any minute, and she has barely accomplished a thing.

Marion kisses Junie on the forehead. “I might be the world’s worst housewife, but I’ll always be your loving Mama.”

When the formula is warm, she takes the baby into the bedroom. Freckles jumps on the bed, dangerously close to her dress, and she shoos him off. She sits June up against the pillows with the bottle of formula propped just so. It pops out of her petite mouth, and she cries in hunger and frustration, feelings Marion understands deeply. Standing before the dresser mirror, she deftly brushes out her pin curls and sprays the wavy bob in place. She swipes Dazzling Coral lipstick across her lips, then dabs a touch of Arpège behind her ears. As she clips her nylons to the garters of her girdle, the front door squeaks open, and she hears Shep’s perpetual whistle come to a halt.

He calls out, “Mar? Is something burning?”

She runs into the living room, half-dressed, with the baby in her arms, and spies the iron, flat down on the board, scorching his dress white trousers.

“Oh no, no, no,” she cries. “I was just here making Junie’s formula, and everything was fine.”

The smell of burnt cotton hangs in the air.

“Goddamn it to hell,” Shep says in the controlled whisper that signals his deepest anger. He yanks the cord from the wall, takes the iron from the board, and bangs it on the kitchen counter. Freckles slinks into the corner. Whether he is guilty or merely responding to Shep’s temper, Marion can’t tell.

“I hadn’t even started ironing yet,” she says. “I don’t know what happened. Unless, maybe, Freckles knocked into the board?” She doesn’t feel bad making the dog a scapegoat: he’s always causing trouble anyway.

The baby wails. Freckles skirts around Shep and goes to Junie. The dog can’t stand it when she cries.

“Freck, get the hell outta here,” says Shep, shoving him away. Freckles settles next to his bowl and looks from Shep to Marion and back again.

“Haven’t you fed him yet?” he asks.

Marion shakes her head, the tally of her failures multiplying exponentially. She hands June to Shep and inspects the pants, scratching her nail over the light brown, triangular scorch mark, unmistakable in its size and shape.

“Can you borrow pants from someone who’s not going tonight?” she asks.

“Seriously? It’s the event of the decade, a chance to meet the president. No one is missing that.”

“Maybe the PX has an extra pair? I could hem them quickly on the sewing machine.”

“They won’t have any. We get one set of dress whites. You know that,” says Shep, with a loud exhale. “I’ll have to order new pants from the Marine tailor in Quantico. Quantico, Marion. That’ll take weeks. It’s not like I can skip this dinner. The president knows me now. Jesus, what a nightmare.”

She holds up the trousers. “The burn mark is fairly high. Most of it’ll be covered by your jacket. Maybe no one will notice.”

“Have you met Colonel Hanrahan?” he asks. “Nothing escapes him, not a loose stitch, and certainly not an eight-inch burn. He’ll have me on night duty for weeks.”

“I’ll fix it, I’ll fix it.”

Somehow, she whispers under her breath.

In the car to the Officers’ Club, Marion attempts to boost the mood by chitchatting brightly with Shep. Afraid to put any strain on her dress, she sits immobile. She can’t afford another mishap. Earlier, Shep gave Marion a wide-eyed stare when she modeled for him, his eyes drawn like a magnet to her bosom. She faltered, thinking he would tell her to change or, worse, stay behind. But instead, he smiled, gave her a long, low whistle, and told her she looked beautiful. It’s been months since he’s said those words to her. She is happy.

The Officers’ Club has been transformed into a stately banquet room. Lush tropical flowers adorn the tabletops, and red, white, and blue bunting drapes across the dais and entryway. The smell of tangy, Polynesian food fills the air, mingling with perfume and cigarette smoke. Women in colorful gowns swirl against a backdrop of men in dress whites.

Marion has been cooped up for so long she has forgotten what it’s like to be out in company. She and Shep talk and laugh and catch up with friends while drinking fancy Mai Tais from Tiki cups. The rum drink hits Marion hard, electrifying her from the top of her head to her toes. Shep plucks an orchid from the centerpiece and puts it behind her ear.

“My little Virginia dogwood is now a full-fledged Hawaiian,” he says sweetly. Just like that, one small gesture brings them closer than they’ve been in months. Shep signals an apology with his eyes, unspoken but no less meaningful. Marion’s loneliness dissipates into the buzzy ether of the festivities.

Between courses, the speeches begin. Colonel Hanrahan, K-Bay’s commanding officer, welcomes  President and Mrs. Eisenhower and shares a few anecdotes. Next, the Governor expresses his appreciation to the president for granting Hawaii statehood the prior year while his wife places a fragrant tuberose lei around Mrs. Eisenhower’s neck. Then, the president takes the lectern and speaks to the spellbound audience about his strategic plans for Hawaii and its role in the country’s military defense. He wraps up his remarks with a bit of humor.

“It is my intention to make a nuisance of myself on your picturesque island, so expect to see us back here often,” he says with a twinkle in his eye. “My dear wife, Mamie, loves the spirit of aloha she has found among you. I have also enjoyed this visit, despite my performance on your golf course. My scores are currently classified, but if the colonel can do something about the winds blowing on the back nine, I will proudly share my scorecard next time—specifically after I beat the colonel on his home turf.”

Everyone laughs at the president’s humble folksiness. Someone in the crowd says, “That’s our duffer in chief!” a bit too loudly, and a second wave of hushed laughter ripples out from the tables in the back.

The party continues, plates are cleared, coffee is delivered, and cigars are lit. Marion, Shep, and friends relax in their chairs, cheery and loose with good food and alcohol, toasting this night, the highlight of their young lives.

With great fanfare, the band switches from background dinner music to a dreamy rendition of “In the Still of the Night.” Tables are pushed away to accommodate the throng of Marines swaying to the music with their wives.

Shep and Marion rush to join in. He holds her close, and they rock in unison, the first time they’ve danced since their wedding. He kisses her hair, and her eyes light up with love. Marion is giddy at how well the evening is turning out. She can’t wait to write to her mother about dancing near enough to Mamie Eisenhower to count the flowers on her lei.

The song ends with a shoo-doop-dooby-doo and the shimmering fade of a cymbal roll. The band segues to an animated version of “Do You Want to Dance” when Colonel Hanrahan taps Shep on the shoulder.

“Jennings, may I have the pleasure of stealing your lovely wife?”

Shep raises an eyebrow at Marion, but she knows the drill and responds accordingly.

“Colonel, I’d be delighted.”

All the wives are skittish around Hanrahan, or Hornyhands, as he’s known around base. Marion isn’t worried this time because it’s not a slow dance, and besides, the president is here. The colonel will surely be on his best behavior.

Hanrahan’s eyes rove up and down Marion’s body, starting and ending below her neckline. With a practiced move, he grabs her around the waist and spins her tightly out onto the dance floor, his body pressed against hers, practically motionless; only his feet do the dancing. He looms above her, forcing her into a backbend of sorts to keep some distance between them.

Mid-twirl, he glares at Shep, returning to the table.

“Jennings! What is on your trousers?” he calls out.

Oh no, thinks Marion. Shep swivels, stone-faced.

“Sir, my apologies. We had a small incident—” he begins.

“Colonel, if I may,” Marion interrupts. “It’s my fault. We have a newborn and a puppy, and the dog knocked the ironing board, and....”

“I don’t need a full dissertation, Mrs. Jennings,” says the colonel, massaging Marion’s bare shoulders while he speaks. “But that’s not a burn, it’s white.”

“I used white shoe polish to cover the mark. And it almost worked, didn’t it, sir?” She smiles and takes the colonel’s hand, poised for more dancing in an effort to distract him from Shep.

Hanrahan can no more resist an attractive woman than he can let a wayward Marine off without punishment. He dips Marion back, eyes cartoonishly glued to her cleavage while he snorts at Shep.

“Lieutenant, report to my office in the morning, and stay out of the president’s sight for the rest of the night.”

Hanrahan and Marion disappear into the midst of the crowd. The colonel’s lower body pulses against her hip bone, obscenely keeping time to the music. A bit of bile rises in her throat, but she maintains a neutral expression to minimize any backlash against Shep. Finally, the song ends, and Marion pulls away from Hanrahan’s embrace. True to his nickname, the colonel’s hands remain on her, putting pressure on the small of her back as he steers her to the table.

“Ingenious little woman you have there, Lieutenant,” he tells Shep. “Shoe polish, that’s a new one on me.” He guffaws, giving Marion another scan up and down. He doesn’t stop there.

“Jennings, she’s a treasure—a real treasure chest, if you catch my meaning. She’d have made a perfect model for a ship’s figurehead! Too bad those days are long gone.”

Shep’s eyes bulge, but he knows to stay quiet. Some of their friends can be heard sucking in their breath.

Hanrahan pats Marion on the bottom, his hand lingering, grabbing, feeling her through layers of fabric. Without thinking, she swats his hand away and says, “That’s enough!”

People around the table pause midconversation, middrink, midsmoke. Shep’s mouth drops open. The colonel’s face hardens, and his pupils dilate, giving the impression of deep, menacing black pools glaring at Marion.

She stammers. “That’s enough ... dancing for one night. I mean—whew—I’m exhausted from keeping up with you, sir. That was just ... marvelous.”

“Indeed,” he replies, scrutinizing her to gauge if she is telling the truth. Without taking his eyes off her, he comments to Shep.

“Jennings, I’ll see you in my office at oh-eight-hundred hours tomorrow. You’d better be damn sure your uniform is spotless.”

After a pause, Hanrahan leaves the group to return to the guests of honor.

When all is clear, Shep blurts out, “Marion, what were you thinking?”

She plucks the cocktail from his hand and downs it in one gulp.

“Oh, my,” she says, blinking, ignoring Shep. She sets the glass on the table. “I need to go to the little girls’ room. Anyone care to join me?”

Her friend, Trina, gets up from the table, and they hurry away together. Marion keeps a frozen smile in place until they reach the inner sanctum of the powder room when tears of shame spill down her cheeks. Trina pulls out the stool by the vanity and eases Marion into it.

“Sweetie, don’t think twice about what that horrible man did to you. Hornyhands is the most disgust—”

“Shhhh.” Even in her despair, Marion has the sense to be diplomatic. She whispers to Trina, “We don’t know who’s in the stalls.”

“I don’t care. He’s the king of perverts. You had every right to slap his hand away,” says Trina, nostrils flaring. “It’s bad enough we all have to endure his pelvic thrusts on the dance floor. But for him to say what he did in front of everybody, with his hand on your ... you know. Why, you’re lucky Shep didn’t slug him.”

“That’s all I’d need to have Shep in the brig tonight. I’ve never been so mortified in my life. Now Shep will have to pay the price, and it’s all my fault. Do you think I’ve damaged his career?”

Trina tries to soothe her. “Damaged his career by scorching his pants? No way. Hornyhands is the one who’s damaged if you ask me. That animal.”

“No, I meant by my reaction to the colonel. I swear, now we’ll never get home,” Marion whimpers. “I just want to go back East and live around decent people, kind people with manners.” She starts to cry.

“I want my mom.” She puts her head on the counter, tears and mascara streaking her face.

“We all do,” says Trina, rubbing her back. “We all want our moms.”

The toilet flushes, and a stall door opens. It’s the first lady, smoothing down her silk gown, a light floral pattern in her signature color, Mamie Pink. She smiles at the young women and cocks her head like a bright, intelligent bird.

“My dear, are you all right?” she asks, glimpsing Marion’s tear-stained face in the mirror.

Marion shoots up from the stool, wiping her cheeks. She and Trina drop a brief curtsey, and both start talking at once.

“Mrs. Eisenhower ... ” Marion begins.

“Oh, ma’am, Marion here is fine,” says Trina. “But we hope you didn’t pay any mind to our silly girl talk.”

“I am sorry to hear about that unfortunate business on the dance floor, you poor thing. I cannot abide such behavior from our leaders. Or any man.”

An ugly blush blooms from Marion’s chest to her cheeks, realizing Mrs. Eisenhower knows they were talking about the colonel. The first lady washes and dries her hands and leans against the counter, facing the girls, while playing with the small white flowers on her lei. She looks at Marion.

“Where’s home for you, dear?”

“McLean, Virginia, ma’am,” she replies.

“Oh, yes, that’s a lovely place with many decent people. And so close to Washington. You must have enjoyed visiting the capital when you were a girl.” Marion likes that she pronounces it Warshington, like a true Midwesterner.

“Mrs. Eisenhower, I didn’t mean the people here aren’t decent. I’ve just had an awful day....but I’m not complaining. Truly.”

“I remember my early days as an Army wife,” says the first lady. “How I hated it. I was like you, missing my parents so much. The president, he was rarely around to help. We kept moving from place to place. Do you know the White House is the thirty-fourth residence we’ve lived in? That seems a bit much to ask of a marriage, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, ma’am, it does,” the young women agree.

“I’ll let you in on a secret. We had lots of help at home when I was growing up, and I never did a lick of work around the house! When I joined Ike on base, I didn’t know the first thing about taking care of a home or a husband. Sure enough, I burned my share of uniforms, just like you. You are not alone.”

“Oh, ma’am, I think I’ve ruined my husband’s chances of ever getting promoted out of here,” says Marion, her voice thick with regret.

“Because of a scorch mark? A small transgression like that is not a career killer. Neither is putting some people in their place, even if they’re your superior. I’ve been where you are, dear, and believe me, all is not lost. Just keep an eye out for the good people. They will always help you get where you’re supposed to be.”

Mrs. Eisenhower’s kindness washes over Marion like a salve to the day’s wounds.

“You know,” she confides to Marion. “The president pointed out your husband to me when you two were dancing and told me how much he enjoyed the Lieutenant’s company this week. Lieutenant ... Jennings, is it? He has done a remarkable job assisting us on this visit.”

“Mrs. Eisenhower, it means so much to hear you say that.”

Marion sniffs, not wanting to blow her nose in front of the first lady.

“But for the life of me, dear,” says Mamie, “I can’t imagine wanting to leave this island.”

“I’d give my right arm to be stateside again, ma’am,” says Marion.

“That is the hardest part of military life, isn’t it? Always yearning to be somewhere else, somewhere familiar. You both seem like strong young women, though. I am certain you’ll get through this phase, just like we all have.”

They look at her in admiration.

Suddenly, there is a knock, and Shep’s voice comes through the door.

“Mar? Are you okay in there?”

“I’ll be right out,” she says and turns back to Mrs. Eisenhower. “That’s my husband. I’d best be going. You can’t imagine how grateful I am for your kind words, ma’am.”

Trina chimes in, “Mrs. Eisenhower, I loved hearing your story. You are my idol. ”

“Well, I don’t know about being anyone’s idol,” says Mamie with a shy smile. “But I do know that we women must stick together and support each other, especially in the military. Don’t ever forget that. Now get back out there with your heads high and enjoy the rest of the night like young people should.”

Coming out of the powder room, Marion takes Shep’s hand. If he notices her transformation, he doesn’t comment. No longer teary or angry, his wife is now bubbly and bursting with details of their encounter with Mrs. Eisenhower. At the table, she and Trina hold court among the other wives, regaling them with their inside knowledge of the first lady, her clothes, and her views on military life.

“What kind of handbag did she have? Did you see what was in it?” asks one of the women.

“It’s hard to imagine she would ever be homesick,” says another.

“It was wonderful, like spending time with a favorite aunt,” Marion says, and Trina nods.

The girls chatter away while the men head to the bar. Shep sips a soda, keeping his backside to the wall, out of view. He is crunching ice when Hanrahan’s sharp bark pierces the hum of the crowd.


“Yes, sir.” He walks toward the colonel, steeling himself.

“Haven’t you been the busy bee?” says Hanrahan with a sneer.

“Pardon, sir?”

“Don’t give me that innocent crap, Marine. I assigned you to drive the president, not lobby him for a job.”

“Colonel, I haven’t lobbied anyone. I’ve merely done my duty, sir.”

“I doubt that. But no matter, you’ll be out of my sight soon enough. The president wants you to join his team in Comms back in D.C.”

“Comms, sir?”

“Signal Department, Communications Agency, or whatever they’re calling it now. It’s no sweat off my nose to lose you, Lieutenant, particularly after your wife’s performance tonight. Although, I sure will miss seeing that nice ass of hers around base.”

Shep flinches, then straightens his shoulders.

“Sir, I don’t know what the president’s intentions are. But I appreciate having served at K-Bay with you,” he says, always tactful.

“You’ll meet with the president’s aide in the morning for more details. That is all.”

Hanrahan pivots and walks away as Shep gives a salute to his back, trying to understand what has just happened. He sees Marion across the room and waves to get her attention.

“Mar! Marion!” he yells, motioning for her to come over to the doors, away from everyone, and relays his conversation with Hanrahan to her.

“Can you believe it? President Eisenhower wants me to come work for him. I must have done something right this week,” he says, bobbing up and down on the balls of his feet like an excited schoolboy. “Washington, D.C. here we come!”

She is shocked, knees wobbly. Is this what it feels like when your deepest desire comes true? she wonders. She shakes her head as if coming out of a dream, then throws her arms around Shep, kissing him and laughing.

The band strikes up the ruffle and flourish leading into “Hail to the Chief.” President Eisenhower takes his wife’s arm and descends from the dais to head out of the club. Standing at attention, the officers salute the Commander in Chief while the wives and staff applaud the beloved couple.

Shep and Marion remain by the door as the president and first lady walk past. She reaches out to Marion, grasping both hands in her own.

“It was lovely meeting you, dearie. I wish you and the Lieutenant safe travels back home,” she says, with emphasis, giving Marion a conspiratorial wink.

“It was my pleasure, Mrs. Eisenhower,” says Marion, a jolt of realization shooting through her. “Thank you for everything, ma’am,” she says, adding her own emphasis, like a secret code between them.

Shep’s face clouds in confusion. Once the couple leaves, he whispers, “Marion, what have you done?”

She gives his arm a squeeze.

“Let’s just say I may have won the prize tonight for making connections in high places. But,” she says, waggling a finger at him, “the details are ... classified.”

They cross the gravel driveway and pause for a moment, leaning against their car. Shep puts his arm around Marion, drawing her close. The crescent moon rises over the Pacific, tracing a silvery path from the shore to the eastern horizon, pointing toward home.

“I’m going to miss this place,” Marion says, resting her head on Shep’s shoulder.

About the Author

Lori Crispo


Lori Crispo’s 38-year career as a sports insurance executive has encompassed such side roles as a blogger on sports safety, monthly columnist for Lacrosse Magazine, and guest author for sports and insurance publications. She has been published in Short Fiction Break and The Ravens Perch. She is working on a women’s fiction novel set in the 1980s New York art world, and a collection of short stories. Lori is a graduate of Smith College in French and Medieval Studies.