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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Dearest Dimples: letters from a saucy sailor

Dearest Dimples: letters from a saucy sailor

This is from Norah’s diary–the diary of the English girl writing the same time as Joan is in the USA. This entry has some romantic intrigue!

Socks for the Boys!

‘Dearest Norah’: as March runs into April, Jim takes the lead in stepping up the level of intimacy with his sixteen year-old correspondent. He teases her with his suggestion that her favourite (unnamed) radio star is chosen purely on account of his good looks, unlike his own choice, Bruce Belfrage, famous for his masculine stiff upper lip, calmly carrying on as the bombs fell on Broadcasting House.

He imagines (wrongly) her hair colour in his cheeky signing off:

1941 3 24 Mar0001 (2)

Jim to Norah, 23rd March 1941 Jim to Norah, 23rd March 1941

‘I try to picture you, Blonde about 5’6”. Please forgive such a short letter but I have been travelling all night but I like to answer your’s so I can receive one from you. I also wish you free from raid’s, and will now close and sleep with you in my thoughts. I remain, yours friendly, Cheerio Blondie? Jim. “Smilin Thro”’.

Norah must put him right…

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The Morrison Writing Factory

Last fall I gave a talk at my favorite library in the world: my hometown  Morristown and Morris Township Public Library in Morristown, New Jersey.

Morristown and Morris Township Public Library in Morristown, New Jersey

Morristown and Morris Township Public Library in Morristown, New Jersey

So many high school friends of mine came, and fans of my mom, Joan, author of Home Front Girl, arrived in droves–even in wheelchairs.  It was really amazing.

Tony Boyadjis and I reading "Frazier" and "Joan"

My high school pal and fellow thespian, Tony Boyadjis, and I reading “Frazier” and “Joan”

The reporter, Lorraine Ash, did a beautiful job summing up the event.  You can read her article here.  What really touched me was how she also wrote about my mom’s other books, as well as my dad’s “seminal textbook,” Organic Chemistry.  Since everyone in our family has published books, my mom called us “The Morrison Writing Factory.”

Hubbub after the talk

Hubbub after the talk

Those words still ring true. After the physical copies of Home Front Girl:  A Diary of Love, Literature, and Growing Up in Wartime America, written by my mother Joan and edited by me, arrived in fall 2012, the kids eagerly each grabbed a book.  Chatter and delight.

“My name appears twice,” crows Sarah, who is not only mentioned in the Acknowledgements but also credited with the book jacket photo of my mom and me.  While Jim had taken the photo, Sarah touched it up and focused it in that magical way only experts on Photoshop can (more on her expertise in other posts).

The Authors of Home Front Girl outside of Joan's house and Susan's girlhood home in Morristown, New Jersey.

Meanwhile, John gloats about how I describe him in the Acknowledgements.  “She says I’m ‘tender-hearted!'” he triumphs in a distinctly untender-hearted manner.

John, Sarah, and Susie reading Home Front Girl around the dining room table.

Then we all settle in to read while Jim prepares dinner.  All are intent on the book.  Occasional banter bubbles up about some word or line of Grandma’s.

At one point, Sarah says, “I say ‘purdy good’ just like Grandma does here.”   She seems pleased to find this link between herself and her grandmother.  Little does she know how many more there will be that she will discover!  Beyond how everyone thinks she looks like Joan.

The quiet grace while reading Home Front Girl

At dinner Sarah tells about how, when she couldn’t fall asleep the night before, she created a television series in her head about a post-apocalyptic world.  John pipes up suggestions and soon–they’re off to the races. Creating, describing, fashioning dialogue.

A new generation of what my mother dubbed our family, all of whom write:  The Morrison Writing Factory.

Propaganda Posters for WWII

The National World War II Museum is an amazing place.  So warm and welcoming.  Veterans of the war greet you as you enter.  And the exhibits, films, and artifacts are unique.  I had a wonderful time doing book signings of Home Front Girl there twice.  Currently they have a fascination exhibit on propaganda posters of World War IIl.  Look at the amazing ones they feature here.

Dancing with Frank: January 1941

Dancing with Frank: January 1941

Nora is like Joan’s English twin. Nora’s great niece is writing about this wartime diary. This entry: wartime dances!

Socks for the Boys!


 1st January 1941: Went to Hemington with Ma.

 2nd: Snowed

 9th: Bombs dropped at Diseworth and Wilson.

10th: Helen, Ma and I went to Long Eaton to buy coat for M.

13th: Washing. Good day.

15th: Started school. Kath form captain. Raids.

18th: Ma went to Dr about her hand.

19th: Very deep snow.

22nd: New Tec boy from Diseworth Robert Lee Warner

24th: Frank & I went to dance.

25th: May Twells married.

Norah is more tweet-like than ever at the start of 1941. The weather is bitter, so cold  that Marsie needs a warmer winter coat. The latest local bombs have dropped on the starfish sites located at the edges of the villages of Diseworth and Wilson.  A New Tec boy is her latest crush and…

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