'Home Front Girl': 7 stories from a real WWII-era diary

Joan Wehlen Morrison's diary capturing life in Chicago before and during World War II offers insight into the era. Here are 7 of Morrison's stories from "Home Front Girl."

6. Dec. 25, 1940

US B-1 bombers at the Royal Air Force Fairford base in Gloucestershire Ian Hodgson/Reuters

"Shopping downtown yesterday – midst all the gay holly – the faery lighted castles at [Field's department store] ... the toy windows at Mandels – all the streets lighted up... Bing Crosby singing 'Adeste fideles' on The Voice of State Street.... a phonograph in Woolworth's playing 'Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus.' Everything holiday and gay.... Then on Michigan Blvd., I passed suddenly the [British shipping company] Cunard window. An exhibit for the [British War Relief] – pictures of little children in Britain – homes bombed – helmets that could be knitted for the RAF – a noble purpose – but it's making war in our hearts. The little German children are bombed and hungry, too.... And all the sudden, in an emotional intensity, I thought, 'This may be the last Christmas we shall have.' I should be wise and know the world will never end."

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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