The author, Muriel Phillips Engelman, is a native of Meriden, Connecticut where she attended local schools and graduated from Meriden High School. She received her R.N. degree from Cambridge Hospital School of Nursing, Cambridge, Massachusetts, now known as Mt. Auburn Hospital School of Nursing.
Shortly after becoming a registered nurse, she was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps during World War II. Her first army post was Ft. Adams, Rhode Island, and then she was assigned to the 16th General Hospital that was preparing for overseas duty at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts .The 16th General Hospital was part of an army experiment to establish a 1000 bed tent hospital as close to the front lines as possible, rather than 100 miles behind the lines where general hospitals had always been located.
After completion of basic training, she sailed with her hospital unit in late l943 for England where the next six months were spent establishing a hospital in preparation for the coming D-Day invasion of Normandy, France. A few weeks after D-Day on June 6, her unit arrived in Normandy and then followed the advancing army to Liege, Belgium where the 1000 bed tent hospital became a reality.
After two years of overseas duty, Muriel returned home as a 1st Lieutenant, having earned three battle stars on her European Theatre medal and a fourragere from the Belgian government. She was employed in the office of a New York orthopedist before her marriage to Mel Engelman, and they settled in Wappingers Falls, New York, where Mel’s dental office was located.
It was in this small Mid-Hudson Valley town where their two children, Curtis and Suzanne were born and raised, and where Muriel became active in community affairs. She was a volunteer and sometime board member for local branches of The American Cancer Society, The American Heart Association, Temple Beth-El Board of Directors, Dutchess County Waste Disposal Board, one of the founders and board member of the Wappingers Conservation Association, and a volunteer for Congressmen John Dow and Joseph Resnick. Muriel founded The Wappingers Playgroup, Inc., a non-profit nursery school, still in operation fifty-six years later.
Upon retirement, Muriel and Mel relocated to Bradenton, Florida and then made the permanent move to Laguna Woods, California where they live in close proximity to their daughter Suzy, son-in-law, Dennis O’Reilly and grandsons, Morgan and Aaron.
Since the death of his wife, Anita, their son Curtis of Binghamton, New York, visits bi-annually.