Emily, 19 Canada.
I really like fiction. I like a lot of fiction, I like quality fiction, and I like a wide variety of fiction all the time. Basically, I refuse to live in reality.
I rant about shit in my life sometimes, which isn't fiction, but sometimes it feels that way.
In Britain, make-up might have been hard to find, but it was worn with pride and became a symbol of the will to win. ‘Put your best face forward,’ encouraged a 1942 Yadley advertisement in Churchillian tones. ‘War, Woman and Lipstick' ran a celebrated Tangee campaign. Bright red was the favourite wartime colur for lips and nails and lipstick names were often patriotic: Louis Phillippe's Patriotic Red; Fighting Red by Tussy and Grenadier - The new Military red created by Tattoo, effective with air force blue and khaki.
During wartime, a subtle change had taken place in the marketing and the perception of make-up. It was no longer about making a woman seem ‘dainty’, but making her look and feel strong. Rosie the Riveter became a wartime icon in the USA, representing the six million women working in factories for the war effort. [Rockwell] portrayed Rosie as a vast figure in work dungarees, her short sleeves revealing arms the size of prize-winning hams. Behind her hangs the stars and stripes, squashed carelessly under her feet is a copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and on her mighty lap rests a lunch box and a huge riveting machine like an enormous gun. [Her] henna red curls, lipsticked mouth and painted finger nails stress her femininity, emphasising the fact that make-up too was a weapon of war [Madeleine Marsh, Compact and Cosmetics: Beauty from the Victorian Times to the Present Day]
“it’s Gale who throws himself over me to provide one more layer of protection from the bombing”
My fingers wrap around Gale’s wrist. “Do not leave my side,” I say under my breath.“I’m right here,” he answers quietly.
“No, that we can hunt.” That gets his attention. “We’d have to give everything to the kitchen. But still, we could…” I don’t have to finish because he knows.We could be aboveground. Out in the woods. We could be ourselves again.
We hunt, like in the old days. Silent, needing no words to communicate, because here in the woods we move as two parts of one being. Anticipating each other’s movements, watching each other’s backs. How long has it been? Eight months? Nine? Since we had this freedom? It’s not exactly the same, given all that’s happened and the trackers on our ankles and the fact that I have to rest so often. But it’s about as close to happiness as I think I can currently get.
I sit on the rock where Cressida filmed us, but it’s too wide without his body beside me. Several times I close my eyes and count to ten, thinking that when I open them, he will have materialized without a sound as he so often did.
Nancy Wake, who has died in London just before her 99th birthday, was a New Zealander brought up in Australia. She became a nurse, a journalist who interviewed Adolf Hitler, a wealthy French socialite, a British agent and a French resistance leader. She led 7,000 guerrilla fighters in battles against the Nazis in the northern Auvergne, just before the D-Day landings in 1944. On one occasion, she strangled an SS sentry with her bare hands. On another, she cycled 500 miles to replace lost codes. In June 1944, she led her fighters in an attack on the Gestapo headquarters at Montlucon in central France.
Ms Wake was furious the TV series [later made about her life] suggested she had had a love affair with one of her fellow fighters. She was too busy killing Nazis for amorous entanglements, she said.
Nancy recalled later in life that her parachute had snagged in a tree. The French resistance fighter who freed her said he wished all trees bore “such beautiful fruit.” Nancy retorted: “Don’t give me that French shit.”