The traditional family structure in its idealized form has the father working and earning money to support his wife and children, the wife running the home, and the children going to school and playing, blissfully innocent and carefree. In the best case scenario, the father is able to provide for his family and they benefit from his labor, but the best case scenario very rarely reflects reality. In times of war, the traditional workers and breadwinners are sent off to fight and the civilians at home must step out of their usual roles. Women take on jobs outside the home to help the war effort and to support themselves and their children. A child’s innocence is threatened by the harsh and brutal realities of war. Both have to do without the pleasures they had previously enjoyed and often suffer from outright deprivation. The experiences of civilians during the First and Second World Wars, especially in rationing and the efforts to keep them fed, illustrate how war reverses society’s roles: In peacetime, men work to support women and children while in wartime, women and children must fend for themselves.
To a child who is afraid of the dark, a familiar place can be filled with hidden terrors when night falls and the lights are turned off. The child tosses and turns and hides under the covers. When the lights are turned back on, reality seems a gaudy imitation of itself and the child has a hard time keeping his eyes open.
Catharine finished up a letter in reply to one she had received from Agnès, who had sent it from Cairo, where they had arrived last week. They had taken the long way to Egypt, traveling through Italy and Greece. Along with her previous letters and postcards, Agnès had sent her mother a Fortuny silk scarf from Venice and a medal blessed by Pope Pius XI from the Vatican. In this most recent letter, she described how she and Kit were going to take a camel ride into the desert to look at the pyramids. Catharine reminded her in her own letter that she should not go out into the sun without a hat or parasol and that she should drink plenty of water; too much sun and dehydration were the worst things possible for the complexion.
This morning when we went up to the pool deck, a net was covering the pool because there was a storm last night and today the water was choppy. It began to rain around 10:30, so we were forced back inside.
January into February 1934 had given the people who came into La Première Etoile plenty to talk about. There had been Stavinsky's supposed suicide (or assassination as many were calling it). They were all repeating Le Canard Enchaîné's quip about Stavinsky having a "long arm" if he could have shot himself from the distance that the bullet which killed him came from.