But Marjorie Hart’s memoir, Summer at Tiffany, is about more than just expensive jewelry and timeless heirlooms. It’s about war and loss. It’s about growing up. It’s about friends. About taking risks. And probably my favorite theme, it’s about women forging their way into the work world.
During World War Two, the United States began recruiting women to fill what were traditionally men’s roles as much of the male population had enlisted. One such role was a page at Tiffany, responsible for relaying packages within the Tiffany building to repair shops or the shipping department. Marjorie Hart and her friend Marty were the first women to work as pages at Tiffany let alone work on the show floor. The friends saw actors, actresses and many other famous people which totally tripped their triggers.
Another reason I enjoyed this read was because Marjorie and Marty are from my home state and attended my University. It was fun to see how New Yorkers responded to these small-town Iowan girls. Many still have the same responses today – we must be quaint, naïve and very cute in our small-town ways. And maybe we are, but no more than most young women I dare say. Here’s another reaction Marjorie encountered when helping a well-to-do shopper:
‘I’m from Iowa.’ I said, flustered by the attention.Ha! That’s actually happened to me and when I try to tell people it’s IOWA they don’t get it! There were lots of moments like this that had me laughing.
‘Oh, dear!’ She shook her head, her feather bobbing. ‘Here on the East Coast – we pronounce it O-hi-o!”
I bit my lip… (Hart 185)
The text is written in a present tense style akin to journal writing. I think it helps the book feel immersed in the 1940s as Marjorie worries about sugar rationing, painting pretend stocking lines on the backs of her legs and getting her hair pinned up for the perfect curls. I remember my grandma talking about painting that line on her legs because pantyhose production was cut for the war effort. Until this past year she always put her hair up in pin curls, too! Marjorie shares many humorous stories that had me chuckling. I enjoyed Summer at Tiffany and recommend it for someone looking for a fun read or for those who like memoirs.
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2007 Pages: 266
Rating: 4 Stars Source: Purchased at a library sale for 10₵! Can you say bargain!?!