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From the Homefront Diaries of Lorraine Shatterbuck (entry #1)

(Note: From the Homefront Diaries of Lorraine Shatterbuck is a fictional diary and a WIP by Frances O’Roark Dowell.)

October 17, 1942

Jim left this morning at 5:00. Only Bobby was up to say goodbye (other than me and the baby, of course). He is taking his new job as Man of the House as seriously as only a nine-year-old boy can. He was brave when he told his father goodbye and then burst into tears as soon as Jim was out of view. I made pancakes, and then woke up Ann and Janet. The girls were distraught that they hadn’t seen Jim off, even though they’d agreed last night it was best to make their farewells at bedtime.

The baby (when will we ever call him by his name and not just “the baby”?) is in his playpen as I write. He likes to examine his stuffed animals from all angles and sing them songs in a language no one but he understands. He keeps himself content this way for twenty minutes at a time before he needs a new infusion of excitement. Of all my children, he has proven to be the most self-sufficient at an early age. I’m not sure how I got anything done when Janet was a baby–she wanted to be held all the day long. Mother fussed at me for indulging her, but I couldn’t help myself. Janet was just so happy when I held her. Besides, I thought she was going to be our last one, so I wasn’t only indulging her, I was indulging myself. And then along came little Will. You see, he does have a name!

Speaking of Mother, she and Dad came to dinner last night. Much to my surprise, Mother brought me a bag of neatly trimmed fabric scraps. I haven’t made a quilt in years (haven’t had the time!) but Mother felt I might like to take up quilting again with Jim away, and I dare say she’s right. The children are all in bed by 7:30 (though Bobby is angling for an 8:00 bedtime these days, now that he’s all grown-up and in charge), and I’ve never been able to get myself to bed before 10:00.

Nancy Gorman used to snip out quilting patterns from the newspapers. Maybe I’ll pop over to see her when I take Will out for a stroll this afternoon and ask if she has any to lend. Mother never relies on patterns, but I’m not as crafty as she is. If I’m going to make a quilt, I’ll need all the help I can get.

I hear Will fussing–must run!


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