“They Also Served”… The Donut Dollies and Donut Day
Yesterday Mama told me that we were going to Krispy Kreme to go to something called “Donut Day” where everyone could get a free donut. I didn’t know what a donut was, but she explained that it was like a shiny and soft cake that was in the shape of a big ring, so I was definitely in.
We had to wait for a long, long time because a lot of people knew about Donut Day, but I got to watch this big belt bringing all of these rings down a line to get shiny (mama called that glaze), so it was okay because there was a lot to watch. We got my donut, which was still warm, but Mama didn’t have one because she doesn’t eat them (she said that she would tell me all about why later). I can’t understand why she would just give me one and not her, but Mamas and Daddies seem to do a lot of things that are not for them and for their little people instead.
The donut was so good that I just squished it in my fingers and then put my hand in my mouth. Everything melted and it was warm and gooey. Mama fed me little pieces, but she didn’t give me all of it because she said that it would make my tummy hurt. I think that it might just be worth a tummy ache, but little people have to listen to their big people.
Even though I thought that Donut Day was just a day to eat yummy, soft, messy cake, Mama told me today that Donut Day is really not a day for free donuts even though most people think that it is. Mama said that it is really a tribute to the “donut girls” or “Donut Dollies” that served in the big wars, WWI and WWII.
She said that these “wars” were like giant fights where a lot of people came and hurt each other to the point that they were gone from the Earth forever. She said that a lot of people went and fought and served, and that each and every one of them was to be honored and remembered whether they went away from the Earth or if they were able to stay.
Mama told me that a lot of people forget that there were also many people who helped the people who were in the fight instead of fighting. I think that I would like all of those people best. She told me that they were her favorite too and that the Donut Dollies and all women veterans were to be just as cherished and honored for their work and that they were just as much heroes as those who fought for our country. I remembered war from the Rosie the Riveter Memorial on our trip, so I already knew that people could take other people from our world and that women helped to keep everything running and that they had to be really, really strong. I didn’t know, though, that they also went to where the fighting was.
Mama let me know that Donut Dollies not only went to the “big world wars” but that they went to another war too called Vietnam that came later. She told me that the Vietnam War was not too long before she was born, and she said that the Donut Dollies did a lot to help the “soldiers” who were fighting to stay as happy as they could in a very hard and sad time. She said that all wars bring sadness, and she said that the Vietnam War changed our country and changed a lot of the people still living here forever. There sure have been a lot of wars, and I really can’t understand why people would want to fight so much, but I understand why people would want to help the people fighting.The Donut Dollies make the most sense to me.
Mama said that she had even gotten the honor of speaking to some of the women who served in Vietnam as Donut Dollies and women who did other jobs too, and that she would never, ever forget what all of those women did to serve our country and that she didn’t want other people to forget either. She said that they too were hurt and changed forever on the inside because they had to see and be a part of all of the bad fights. Those women, she said, were some of the strongest women that she had ever met. She showed me a picture of her standing next to one of those women whose name is Emily Strange, and she said that knowing her and the other women who served in Vietnam was one of the things that she is most proud to have in her life. I already know that it is good to know heroes.
Mama told me to never, ever forget the strong women who came before me, and she told me that “respecting your elders” often meant “walking in their shoes in your imagination” so that you could know what they had been through. From what Mama told me, walking in the Donut Dollies’ shoes would be really hard to do. Maybe one day I will grow up to be as big and as strong as those women who came before me, all the women who served.
“it was my calling
to take away fear and replace it with hope
to return sanity to a world gone insane.”
— Emily Strange, “Donut Dollie”