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  • Joyce Carr Stedelbauer

Widows, Masks and Batteries

I was surprised to read that Americans spend more on halloween masks and decorations than any other annual holiday? Really, July 4th, Christmas or Easter?

Of course it’s fun to dress up and pretend. Many people wear masks over their emotions, presenting an I’m OK face, even when they are crying inside. Now we have put on Covid masks, and even get them in colors to match our clothes or our mood.


But what if we were required to carry gas masks every place we go? And what if we were assigned to clean our air raid shelters every morning instead of meeting friends for coffee?

I have just read Eric Larson’s masterful rear-window view of WW2 and Churchill.


I was a child hearing only whispered conversations of war ‘over there’ but over here I was a very careful six-year old entrusted with coupons for butter and sugar at the corner store. As America was drawn in I heard of Rosie the riveter but never of the British Land Girls who volunteered to work on the farms to help sustain the food supply for a hungry population since all of the working men had gone to war.


Our talented local theater mounted a wonderful story of some of their struggles and successes. And NetFlix has a similar series currently.

Could I have done as well? In my newest book I admit “A NEW WIDOW LEARNS BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED, SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED.”



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