Dear Daddy,

(Adapted from a letter I originally wrote in January, 1945) Mommy isn't home and I'm sitting in your chair listening to the song you recorded before you shipped out:

"If I had my way, dear, forever there'd be
A garden of roses for you and for me,
A million and one things dear I would do
Just for you, just for you, just for you.
If I had my way, dear, you'd never grow old
And sunshine I'd bring every day.
You would reign all alone, like a queen on a throne
If I had my way."
I made up an addition to this song:

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If I had my way, Dad, forever there'd be
A garden of roses for our family.
A million and one things, Dad, we could do:
Family dinners and trips to the zoo.
If I had my way, Dad, we'd never get cold
And sunshine we'd have every day.
We'd not whine or bemoan,
As a dog with a bone.
If I had my way.
Mimi wants me to pay attention to the Girl Scout pledge that I recite at Brownie meetings, which she reminded me does not include whining: "On my honor I will try to serve God and my country, to help people at all times and to live by the Girl Scout Law, which is: I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place and be a sister to every Girl Scout."  I can't be a real Girl Scout with a green uniform until I'm 10, but we Brownies follow the same rules and help collect old newspapers, tin cans and bacon fat for the war effort. I'm glad to be helping in this way when the weather isn't freezing outside.


Mimi wants my sister and me to stop fighting before you come home. She says we have our own war right here. I can't help it if my sister, who's almost 12, doesn't want to share a room with her 7-year-old little sister. She tells the kids in the neighborhood not to play with me, but they still pick me for baseball because I’m a good left-handed batter.  I stay out of her way when I can but I still need to sleep in my own bed in the bedroom that we share. I promised Mimi I will try harder to be a good sister at home.

I am hiding this letter with the other 7 that I wrote but didn't mail since you've Missing in Action. My hiding place, the Grimm's Fairy Tale book, is bulging and I will put more letters in your living room books. No one here reads Plutarch's Lives, Don Quixote or The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, so that will be a good start.

We learned about Benjamin Franklin in school. My teacher put his quotes on the blackboard, like "You can do anything you set your mind to." He also said, "Question Authority," and I question my first grade teacher who put a dunce cap on my head because I write with my left hand. I tried changing to my right hand, but it came out backwards and she had to hold my work up to a mirror to read it.

Now I write with my left hand and no dunce cap in second grade. I also question Bepa's authority when he says, "What good are girls?" I'm plenty good in Brownies and have earned merit badges for collecting salvage and participating in sewing projects. I have also helped the Girl Scouts sell cookies. I've cooperated and treated my sister Brownies as I wish my sister treated me.

I'm sewing my badges on my uniform and thinking of you in your Army uniform the last time I saw you. We had lots of letters back and forth until one came back stamped Return to Sender - Missing in Action. I hope they find you before your birthday.

Love,
Maxine


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