Updated: Feb 7, 2021
Today we honor all of the men and women who sacrificed their lives while serving our great country. Thank you for your service. We are forever grateful. As we struggle as a country to mourn all the souls we have recently lost and continue to fight this hidden enemy while precariously returning to the still unknown “new normal”, we must remember to find levity wherever and whenever it presents itself.
I want to share the story of WWII veteran Doris Moore (aka Gigi). Doris was born on 9/13/24 in Philadelphia. Her mom passed away from pneumonia when she was 7 years old, followed by her grandmother and father. She lived in an orphanage until she was 18 years old. Thankfully Doris was born with the incredible gifts of grit and humor!
On her first day of eligibility when she turned 18, she went straight to work at a defense factory soldering electric cables for aircraft. By the time she was 20, she enlisted in The Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, aka SPARS, where she served for the next four years working in several roles including the Intelligence Department. She knew it was her patriotic duty to serve her country, but she had an ulterior motive-finding a man, as she knew her odds would be quite favorable.
After serving her country, she moved to Hollywood and worked in a movie studio where she successfully stalked her celebrity crush, Frank Sinatra. Gigi came back to reality, eventually landing in San Diego where she met her husband who was serving in the Navy at the time. Although their marriage did not last, they had one daughter together, my friend Kathy Rush, and four grandchildren including my dear friend “Professor Shanny”.
What’s the secret to this incredible 95 year old’s long life? Laughter laughter and more laughter. She is always performing and never taking things too seriously! Three noteworthy events were her performance in Tony and Tina’s wedding at the age of 78, her role at 80 as a “toothless bag lady stripper”, and in 2009 she earned the 2nd place medal for her comedy in the 2009 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival in Sioux Falls, SD. 2nd place out of 3,000 people! She also wrote plays and performed stand-up comedy until she was 85 years old.
At 85, Gigi had slowed down a bit and had time to reflect on her true lifelong passion, finding a man. She set her sights on Michael Buble and subsequently traveled across the country several times to see him in concert and on her 89th birthday, Michael pulled her on stage to sing her Happy Birthday. By 90, she had left Michael behind and began pining for Channing Tatum. At 92, she traveled to Las Vegas to see his “Magic Mike Live” stripper show, where she laid on top of the piano and was serenaded during the show.
Pictured here are Gigi, her granddaughter Professor Shanny, and myself at a Memorial Day Ceremony in 2017 where Gigi was honored at Palomar College. That day, we were asked to grab a handful of toy soldiers and put them in our purse, our cars, anywhere...so that we would constantly be reminded of all the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom.
Every time I grab one of those toy soldiers, I am reminded of all of those who sacrificed their lives, but also that special Memorial Day spent with Gigi in 2017. Gigi currently lives in Sioux Falls, SD near her daughter Kathy and continues to keep us all laughing!
Happy Memorial Day 2020