Local Women Talk Back about War Time Realities

April 9, 2019

As the second semester winds to a close, Mount Marty students, faculty, and staff, as well as guests from the Yankton community and beyond, gathered in Marian Auditorium for an MMC tradition — the spring play. This year’s spring production was John Murrell's “Waiting for the Parade.” The play, which is set in Calgary during World War II, chronicles the lives of five very different women as they work to support the war effort at home.

After the Friday night show, the crowd was invited to take part in a short “talk-back” event which featured present-day military wives Steph Reinhardt and Joan Schild. Reinhardt, wife of Jim, and Schild, wife of Brooks, have lived through multiple deployments and shared their first-hand experiences of family-readiness programs with the audience. Dr. Rich Lofthus, professor of history at Mount Marty, was also on the panel. Dr. Lofthus shed light on the unique aspects of WWII and shared some fascinating local history. Together, the group transformed a night at the theater into an evening of lessons about the realities of war and military life.  

For Schild and Reinhardt, the play resonated on many levels. True to the title of the play, the women explained that waiting for their husbands to come home was often incredibly frustrating. Schild zeroed in on one of the play’s recurring themes, “They say no news is good news, but that’s not always true. Sometimes you don’t hear anything, and it doesn’t mean good news. So that was hard.”

Reinhardt added that during a deployment military wives never know when their husbands will actually return because even the date the military provides could change several times before the troops come back. “They always say, ‘they’re not coming home until you see the whites of their eyeballs,’ and that’s exactly true.”

Schild could empathize and added that sometimes the wait is for a conclusion that never really happens. “At the end, when they were all standing there waving and smiling, I couldn’t help but think, oh yeah, here it goes — because you think it’s the end, but it’s not. It’s the start of something new.”

Each academic year Mount Marty College Performing Arts produces a fall musical and two non-musical theater productions along with a host of choral and instrumental offerings. For more information about the fine arts at Mount Marty College visit www.mtmc.edu