Last Updated on October 26, 2018, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 514
Walter has brought a new fan to Iris’s home, where he assembles it. Walter often brings his tools and fixes things while he is there. As Iris watches, she wishes he could also fix her. After Walter is gone, Iris returns to her writing. She is recording her thoughts concerning her family’s history.
In 1914, Iris writes, her mother married her father. When Iris was a young girl and needed information about her past, she often turned to Reenie, the woman who worked as a nanny and housekeeper for her family. Reenie provided various versions of her stories, depending on Iris’s age at the time. Over the years, Iris was able to gather many interesting details that neither her mother nor her father was willing to convey.
Iris’s father proposed to her mother at a skating party. Had Iris’s grandmother had her way, she would have chosen a debutante. Later in life, Iris surmised that her mother did not have the social status that would have suited her grandmother’s taste. Her mother was eighteen when she married. World War I began shortly afterward, and Iris’s father enlisted, along with his two younger brothers.
While her father was in France fighting, her mother visited wounded soldiers who had returned home. According to Reenie, Iris’s mother was exhausted after each visit. She was also pregnant. Iris was born in June of 1916. That same year, her father’s younger brothers were both killed in the war. Also in that year, Iris’s grandfather suffered a debilitating stroke that affected his ability to speak and his memory. For this reason, Iris’s mother took over management of the button factory.
Iris’s father was wounded three times before the war ended. By the time he returned home, both he and Iris’s mother had changed dramatically. He had terrible nightmares and was bitter. His belief in God had disappeared. He had...
(The entire section contains 514 words.)
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