September Character feature

This issue's featured girl: Molly

From the American Girls Club Handbook:

Project One: Stage a Variety Show

In 1944, people on the home front supported the war effort by staging variety shows like Molly's "Hurray for the U.S.A." show. Stage your own variety show just for fun or to raise money for a worthy cause in your community.
1) Get together your cast and crew. Involve as many people as you can in your variety show--actors, singers, dancers, and baton twirlers, as well as volunteers to hand out programs and arrange props.
2) Decide what will be in the show. You can have songs, poems, skits, dances, or anything you like! After you've decided what acts you will include, think of a catchy title for the show.
3) Set a time, date, and location for your show. Make programs and tickets if you wish. If you are donating money to a cause, make sure to include that information on your programs.
4) Make props, scenery, and costumes if you like. Girls like Molly had to save and ration, so they used simple homemade costumes and props. Use what you have on hand and your imagination to make your show special.

Make a Victory Crown
You will need: a tape measure; scissors; white poster board; a stapler; a pencil; tracing paper; tape; red, blue, and silver glitter glue; white glue; sequins.
1) Measure around your head with a tape measure. Cut a strip of poster board 1 inch wide and 1 inch longer than your head measurement. Staple the ends of the poster board strip together.
2) Trace a star pattern onto tracing paper. Tape the tracing paper pattern to the poster board and cut out the star.
3) Use the poster board star as a pattern to draw 2 more stars and cut them out.
4) Decorate the stars with glitter and glue them to the crown. Decorate the band of your crown with glitter glue and sequins.

Did you know?
Children on the home front asked, "What can I do to help win the war?" During scrap drives, children collected newspapers, cans, car tires, and even tin soldiers and dolls so that the paper, metal, and rubber could be made into war equipment. Children also took on additional responsibilities. They made deliveries and did errands on foot to save gasoline. They served as school traffic patrols so that adult crossing guards could do war work. Children used their allowances to buy defense stamps instead of treats. They made games and collected magazines for soldiers' recreation areas. Girl Scouts prepared care packages to send to soldiers. Junior Red Cross members made bandages out of old sheets. And who made the 500,000 model airplanes that were used to train spotters looking for enemy aircraft? Schoolchildren!

Project two: Home-Front Fashion

Put pin curls in your hair and your doll's hair, just as Jill did for Molly.

You will need: Comb, hairbrush, and bobby pins

1) Use the comb to separate a small section of hair from the rest. The strand should fit easily between your thumb and index finger.
2) Twist the strand into a curlicue by winding it tightly around the index finger of your other hand.
3) Keep winding the curlicue. Carefully pull your finger out of the curlicue. With your other hand, flatten the curlicue against your head.
4) Secure the curlicue with two bobby pins crisscrossed at the center.
5) Separate another section of hair, make another curlicue, and secure it with crisscrossed bobby pins. Continue until all your hair is in pin curls.
6) The longer you keep the pin curls in your hair, the curlier your hair will be. Try sleeping on pin curls like Molly! In the morning, take out the bobby pins and enjoy your wavy curls.

Did you know?
In 1944, even girls' clothes were affected by the war. To save on rubber, underpants were sometimes made with ties rather than elastic waists. "We tied our parnts with a bow on the left side," remembered one home-front girl. Girls hated those underpants--if the tie came loose, the underpants fell down! During wartime, new clothing was hard to come by. Molly chose her clothes carefully to get the most use out of every item in her wardrobe. For school, Molly chose separates. Making many different outfits out of a few clothes saved material for soldiers' uniforms. For play, Molly could wear pants. Pants were fashionable now that women were wearing them to work in factories. Still, Molly would never have worn jeans to go to school or go shopping! For special occasions, Molly wore a party dress. To save fabric, the dress had short sleeves and a short skirt that stopped just below the knees.

Want to know more?

Fiction books set in Molly's time:

"Friends Forever" by Miriam Chaikin
"The Hundred Dresses" by Eleanor Estes
"Love You, Soldier" by Amy Hest

Nonfiction books about Molly's time:
"Aloha Means Come Back" by Thomas Hoobler
"The Day Pearl Harbor Was Bombed" by George Sullivan

Movies set in Molly's time:
Best Foot Forward
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Member of the Wedding

Music from Molly's time:
Oklahoma!, Carousel, and South Pacific were popular Broadway musicals.
Bands led by Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and Duke Ellington played big band and swing music for dancing.

Special places to visit:
You probably have lots of historical sites from the 1940's right in your own community! To find houses, schools, memorials, and parks that were built around Molly's time, check with the following organizations:
The public library
State or local historical societies
The state historic preservation office
Nearby military museums
The local Chamber of Commerce