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From the Homefront Diaries of Lorraine Shatterbuck (entry #4)

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


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October 27, 1942

I write to Jim every day, and I try to keep my letters cheerful. But in this morning’s letter, I had to break the news that Ann sprained her wrist at school yesterday–she was swinging during recess and that horrible Dillie Glover dared her to jump off. It’s not a serious sprain, but Ann is so dramatic that you’d think she’d broken both arms and a leg to boot!

Today Ann and Bobby came home from school excited to make Halloween plans. There will be a party for the children at the elementary school on Saturday night, beginning with a parade through the hallways and then festivities in the gymnasium–apple-bobbing, pin-the-tail on the witch’s cat, that sort of thing.

I remember going to school at night as a child for recitals or plays–the strange, spooky feelings it evoked. How different it was from the school I attended during daylight hours! The lights cast strange shadows everywhere, and footsteps echoed loudly down the hall. Even seeing my teachers at night struck a disorienting chord. They always dressed up for these events, and the younger teachers seemed impossibly beautiful to me. Like princesses.

Bobby wants to dress up as a tramp for Halloween, which is easy enough. He can wear Jim’s old coat that I never got around to mending and Jim’s gardening trousers belted with a piece of rope. I’ll blacken a bit of cork to give him the semblance of a beard, and bob’s your uncle, he’s good to go!

Ann, of course, has more complicated plans. She wants to be the evil queen from the movie “Snow White,” a movie I might add she’s never seen. It’s played at the Bijou downtown several times since it first came out, most recently last year, when Ann was seven. Having seen it myself, I felt like Ann would find parts of it too frightening (especially the Evil Queen!). Still, she managed to get a hold of the Walt Disney Snow White storybook, which is illustrated with stills from the movie, so she knows exactly how her costume should look.

I’ve told her she should have come up with this marvelous idea earlier. She claims that she did, but we were–quote– “all wrapped up in Daddy’s going to camp” and she didn’t think she ought to mention it.

It’s a terrible thing to have an intelligent child, especially one so young.

In any event, I’ve got three days to put an Evil Queen costume together, one that looks exactly like the one in the movie that Ann has never seen! Phyllis is going to come over tomorrow morning to help. While she can barely sew a skirt to save her life, she can draw, and she’s going to help me sketch a design for a simple black cape with purple lining. Moreover, she claims to be an expert when it comes to making crowns. How wonderful to have an artist for a friend! Maybe she’ll have an idea for the sort of sling an Evil Queen with a sprained wrist would wear.

I’m hard at work on my second “Flying Clouds” block. Mother showed me some helpful shortcuts for putting together the smaller pieces that make up the larger block. It’s very scrappy looking, but I don’t mind. Besides, it fits in with the times. Which reminds me, I must go and gather things for next week’s scrap drive. If I leave it to Bobby, he’ll load up all of my pots and pans on his wagon and I’ll never see them again!

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