Future Homemakers started with a photograph. It was part of an avalanche of old yearbooks that fell out of my mother-in-law’s closet in the Bronx. I love old photos. These girls smiling out at us, the Future Homemakers of 1954, were expected to marry Future Farmers, raise a family and live happily ever after. But the world changed. Marriages became more fragile and fewer women could afford simply be homemakers.
I knew immediately that I wanted to write about a group of girls like that, to follow them through their life changes. And the air force theme enabled me to set part of the story in a region of England that was my home for many years.
I grew to love these girls during the year it took me to write the book. And the most wonderful thing happened after it was published. I met a woman at a party and she said, “You wrote my story. I was an air force wife and then a widow, and it was just like you said.” You can do an awful lot of writing before you get a compliment like that.