Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Home Fires


They were five in number. A quintet of housewives desiring companionship apart from the esteem of their husbands and children. Five women trading favorite cookie recipes, honing bread making skills, seeking friendship. Sisters in arms.  In the beginning, they met on the third Wednesday of every month, gathering in each other’s cozy linoleum floored kitchens. But that was before the war.  Inevitably, after Pearl Harbor-when mailboxes began to serve up family fracturing draft notices-solidarity, empathy, and comfort baking became a means of survival, and more often than not, the group was assembled.

Rather quickly, though, it was apparent that stores of flour and butter, sugar and eggs-and waist measurements-and available ice box space could not withstand the blizzard of baked goods for long.  In light of the need to find a substitute for the conjuring of pies and cakes and cobblers, the five were faced with the inevitable question.  If not baking, what then?

Scattered suggestions here and there. 

Sewing or knitting. Victory gardening. Canning and preserving.


Stamp collecting.  Bird watching. Going to the pictures.

Desperation, palpable. 

I say we find some sailors and then get tattooed!

Clapping and cheering and whistling.  And laughter.  Bawdy,  raucous unladylike snorts of laughter!


Making rum balls seemed like the perfect compromise.


writing prompt

This piece is my interpretation of A snow fall and a secret revealed. 


  1. Ha! Snorts of laughter indeed. Though I still vote for sailors and tattoos over run balls! Or better yet both. You have such a wonderful way of not only bringing the past to life, but you made me see the picture in an entirely different light.

  2. This was fun, an excellent take on the prompt.

  3. Very fun! My mom has a few women in her family that probably would have whole-heartedly join in lovely group of strong and brave women. What a wonderful picture you have share with us of the strength and resiliency of women!

  4. The way you image the past, making it the present. Masterful!

  5. Haha so funny! I say go for the tattoos! I can just hear the unladylike snorts of laughter :)

  6. Oh I truly love the way your mind works. Great job. B

  7. Too funny! You definitely made me smile with this one...and I had a great grandmother who would have fit right in! Not only did she divorce an abusive husband in the 1920's, no easy feat at the time, she helped support her children by................playing poker!

  8. I loved "sisters in arms." You captured the companionship of these women so well.

    I liked how your wrote the ending and the way "sighs" movedto "Desperation, palpable" and ended with "Bawdy, raucous unladylike snorts of laughter!" I could just see them! Rum balls were a good compromise, especially if you have enough of them.

    Well done, as usual.

  9. Fun piece, and great take on the prompt!

  10. That's hilarious. I love the sense of community you've built here.

  11. Love! I like that they were able to keep their senses of humor, even amongst trying circumstances and the ennui and sense of gravity that falls during a war.

  12. Ha, rum balls are indeed the perfect compromise!

  13. Oh nice Valerie! My parents lived in that era. If there would have been one more draft my dear Daddy would have be called up to serve at age 31. But the war ended and he got to stay home and father my older brother and sister then me. We have tons and tons of b&w pics like those you share. Thanks sweetie.

    Thank you for your words here and on my post comments. We need to meet soon, someday, huh?

  14. Wonderful! I can totally see myself being a part of a group like this :-)

  15. I love that you speak of times that in some cases are only one generation removed from me. Now that many of my aunts and uncles (3 since the year began) are passing on, I find your posts particularly poignant. This post is no different, and reminds me of my late Aunt Ponnie, who Rosie the Riveted on ships in Long Beach as part of the swing crew. If she weren't already struggling to feed six kids, I think she'd've been one of the gals who got the stocking seams tattooed up the back of her legs.

    Thanks for helping me keep my memories alive.

    And Rum Balls are the perfect compromise. As a matter of fact, I think I'll join them. They'll be delightful with a mug of hot chocolate tonight!

  16. Sailors and tattoos!

    Though my brother-in-law's rum balls would be an acceptable alternative.