Today is Veterans Day and generally I honor the servicemen who fought in any war. But this posting is about a woman, actually a girl, who stayed in the U.S. and took care of home and hearth while the men in her life went off to war. (And let’s not forget the women who were in the armed forces or worked as nurses. They also did their part.)
Teresa Funk, whose book Dancing with Combat Boots I reviewed in June under with the Rosie the Riveter Day posting (Here’s the link to that posting: (https://www.menupause.info/archives/19201) interviews real people and uses them as the focus of her stories in her books. While they are written for a younger audience, ages 9 and older, I find all her stories, like this one, delightful and informative. In this book, our home-front hero, Helen Marshall, only 14, works in the Westclox factory with other women who do not like that she outshines them. For someone so young, she eventually faces these women and finds her own voice. As she says on the last page of the story,
“Now that I know how much I can accomplish when I set my mind to it, I have no intention of slowing down. I’m no longer scared of the war. Now I just want to do my part.”
For one so young, this seems quite profound. But war does make one grow up quickly, I think.
At the end of this 140-page story is a page about the real Helen Marshall, whose name is actually Shirley Brand, an only child from DePue, Illinois. She did work in the Westclox factory, and it is also true, as Funke writes in the fictitious version, the first thing she purchased with her paycheck was a Mixmaster for her grandmother.
Doing My Part is published by Victory House Press and costs $7.95. Theresa’s website is www.teresafunke.com. You can go there and submit your own family’s stories to invite the author to speak at your school. This book makes a great gift for a youngster who will learn a lot about WWII and people on the home front.
P.S. I also posted a review of a fiction book by Kristin Hannah about a female pilot is a more recent war and her story of pain and healing. It is called Home Front, a popular term during wartime.