In this personal essay at Salvation South, a new magazine edited by the founding editor-in-chief of The Bitter Southerner, Shelley Johansson retells her family’s story against the background of World War II.

I know my great-grandmother felt that she was helping the war effort when she sewed bandages – her pride radiates off the page when she notes the exact number she made at a sitting. I’ve learned the history of women making bandages in wartime goes all the way back to the U.S. Sanitary Commission, a Civil War forerunner to the Red Cross.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.