cover image Don't Forget to Write: The True Story of an Evacuee and Her Family

Don't Forget to Write: The True Story of an Evacuee and Her Family

Pam Hobbs, Ibury (Trafalgar Sq., dist.), $12.95 paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-09-193250-3

War is impossible to understand for most adults, let alone a 10-year-old child, as Hobbs demonstrates in this warmhearted memoir. In June 1940, when Hobbs and her 11-year-old sister, each carrying a gas mask and clothes bag and wearing a name tag, were evacuated from their home in Essex, England, she knew war had taken over her life. To prepare for a potential invasion by Germany, the British government had organized several evacuations of children during WWII to safer locations outside of metropolitan areas. Hobbs, along with 20,000 other children, pregnant women and mothers with preschoolers, were sent to live with families in Central England. Ultimately, Hobbs lived in four households over a two-year period, but the effects of the evacuation lasted much longer. One stay was particularly troublesome: "For me, the really sad aspect of this billet was that for the first time in my life I knew what it was like to be unwanted. It founded fears of being unloved and created a lack of self-confidence that stayed with me for years." Hobbs vividly describes the rigors of a child's life during the war and the grim years following victory, including hunger, shortage of daily items including pots and pans, and making mascara from chimney soot. But she also discovered the delights of the English countryside and two loving caretakers. Hobbs's story is both enlightening and endearing. (July)