Great site for specifics on what women in Virginia were doing on the Homefront:
"Hooverizing:" World War I on the Home Front
Women's lives changed a lot during World War I.
Women were working to gain the right to vote and run for public office.
Women were working to help the war effort, and working to stop the war.
35,000 women even journeyed
across the Atlantic ocean
to serve on the front lines.
helped plant gardens and tried to use less bread, meat, and cheese so that
the food could be sent to
feed the soldiers
fighting in the war. When so many men went to war, there was a lot of work to be done at home in America. Women began working in factories, post offices, on farms, and as traffic cops for the first time.
I wanted to find out more about what life was like
for women in America during WW I, so I decided to ask my favorite
my amazing grandmother!
I call her Baubie,
the yiddish name for grandmother, and she's 95 years old. I asked her to
remember all the way back to the time of the War, when she was an 11 year
old girl. Eager to help, Baubie spun a story for me, with
, and with details and feelings.
Here are her stories:
was a parade on Halsted Street everytime our boys went off to the war.
With all of the music, all of the fanfare. We would walk the boys all the
way down to the train station, where they would leave for whatever
training camp was their first destination. It was very patriotic and sad.
you always thought that they would come back
expected them to. Two of my brothers served in the war, and happily, they
both came home in one piece.
neighborhood had their community gardens, where a family would have its
own plot. We would grow all sorts of vegetables there because
was so scarce
- everything that was normally available was now
used for the war effort.
We even wore special dresses which used less
fabric. It was a sort of apron that had two front flaps. And you could
switch the flaps, so it really became
two dresses in one!
This way, after the first flap became soiled, you would wear the
other flap out front the next day. There was also a lot of knitting.
Even in school
. We would knit little squares and socks
for the soldiers, while women at home would knit sweaters for the
soldiers, and get together to make bandages.
then we would write to soldiers from school. Everyone would be given the
name of a soldier, and
we would write back and forth
them - to keep the men happy. I used to write to an Italian man from
Chicago. It helped keep their spirits up.
We didn't have radios in those days, so one of
the things that boys and girls would do when they got together was
gather around the piano and sing
. One of the most popular
songs "Keep the Home Fires Burning" which reminded people to keep their
hopes high and their pride strong in their boys at war (while your hearts
are yearning... turn the dark clouds inside out...)
If you could only hear the verses that Baubie
sang to me! Her voice and stories brought to life a time period I had only
read about. She
sparked my imagination
to picture a
United States different from one I have ever known.
so I give these stories to you. We Trekkers are
Our goal is to share stories, people and events which
have been often ignored in our textbooks. With a little luck, we find the
perfect source to learn from. Tonight I realized was that the perfect
source was right in my family tree.
Welcome Surfer Bob!
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Links to Other Dispatches
Daphne - Women voters: You've come a long way, baby!
Daphne - An "untouchable" tour of a former gangster's paradise