There is one front and one battle where everyone in the United States—every man, woman, and child—is in action and will be privileged to remain in action throughout this war. That front is right here at home, in our daily lives and in our daily tasks. Here at home everyone will have the privilege of making whatever self-denial is necessary, not only to supply our fighting men, but to keep the economic structure of our country fortified and secure during the war and after the war.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s radio broadcast to the nation, April 28, 1942

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Clean Plate Club



In the Great War, Mom was a member
of the Clean Plate Club. She says we
have to be members, too. "It isn't
voluntary--it's mandatory!" She tells us
over and over. And over, again!

I never had a problem being a member
of the Clean Plate Club, I love to eat—
even vegetables. My little brother, though,
is always being scolded and called,
"Hitler’s Helper." That’s what happens

when you’re fussy. I cannot understand
what cleaning your plate has to do with
winning the war. As a matter of fact,
I think Stevie’s lima beans should be
saved and sent to the troops as ammo.

When you let them sit on a plate long
enough, they become deadly. Stevie
and me have a plan. From now on,
he’s going to sneak his vegetables
under the table to me. That way we’ll

both be members of the Clean Plate Club,
Mom can stop nagging, and Hitler will
have to find another new helper.

© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved. Lima bean can label from author's personal collection. Posters at the top and bottom courtesy Northwestern University Library.

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