WeWriWa—Mean Girls at Woolworth’s

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Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. I’m still sharing from my recent release Little Ragdoll, a Bildungsroman (growing-up story) spanning 1959-74.

Five of the six Troy sisters have gone uptown to Woolworth’s with their surrogate mother for back to school shopping, but they’ve run into a number of the snooty girls from school. These girls live in the gentrified northern area of the Lower East Side, which was less than ten years away from breaking away into the East Village. The Troys themselves live just inside the future East Village’s borders, but they’re definitely not gentrified or financially successful.

Not only do the girls have to deal with taunts about how poor they are, but they also have to endure the shame of having a father who didn’t serve in World War II.

This has been slightly edited to fit eight lines.

***

“Does that Kraut think she’s fooling anyone?” Linda Jones asks. “Just call her what she is, a slave who works for peanuts.  Maid and nanny, my eye.  I bet your dad the Kraut-lover hired her.  He shoulda been thrown in prison for sitting out the war, while all the rest of our dads served our country and did the right thing.”

“My father’s not some draft-dodger,” Lucine snaps. “He showed up when he was drafted, but he failed his medical tests. It’s not our fault he was 4-F.”

***

4-F was considered the most shameful, embarrassing draft deferment during World War II. Many 4-Fs tried to appeal it and be reconsidered, or applied to other branches in the hopes they’d be accepted there instead. Mr. Troy didn’t attempt to fight it and just went back to the box-making factory.

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5 comments on “WeWriWa—Mean Girls at Woolworth’s

  1. My father wasn’t a fighter in WWII, even though he was in the Naval Reserve. (Annapolis graduate.) But he was an aircraft designer, and I suspect he did his share in helping design the Corsair.

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  2. You certainly capture the feelings of the era very well. I feel so sorry for your little girls in the snippet!

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  3. burnsmillie says:

    Poor little girls. I just want to slap the mean girls.

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  4. Sarah W says:

    Oh, PLEASE let those nasty, little snobs get theirs during the course of this story!

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  5. You’ve captured the emotions and the era so well!

    this strikes a chord with me. My dad enlisted in the army during WWII. My grandmother hired someone with a car to drive her to the enlistment office the day after he told her, so she could get him “un”enlisted. She told the enlistment officer that he was the last of her sons living at home on the family farm, and she was a widow and needed his help. The army complied with her request. It was all true. And grandma was still farming the 80 acre family farm with her draft horses.

    He was ashamed all of his life that he never did his part on the front lines.

    Good 8!

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