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World War I
Narrative - Life in London



Narrative - Life in London
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.35

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    misses, prayers, squadron, trench, unsuspecting, luckily, bundle, ditch, attack, onto, possible, someday, below, giant, longer, against
     content words:    Jerome Westridge, Western Front


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Narrative - Life in London
By Jane Runyon
  

1     Good day to you. We just turned the page on the calendar to the new year, 1915. My name is Jerome Westridge, and I live in London, England. I may only be twelve years of age, but I know that there are bad things going on in the world around me. My mum tries to talk with me about our situation. You see, my dad is off in a place they call the Western Front. He is fighting against the German soldiers who want to own my part of Europe. Most of the fighting is taking place in France, but we have to watch ourselves, too. My mum says this is the war to end all wars. Many countries have sent soldiers to fight against the Germans. I'm not sure how long it will be before the fighting ends, but I hope it is soon.
 
2     Let me tell you a little bit about what it is like to live in London these days. Our lives have changed a great deal in the last year. Since my dad has been gone, I have had to pitch in and help my mum. I'm the oldest of three children, so it is my responsibility to help where I can. My little sister, Penelope, is six years old. She cries a lot now. She misses our dad a lot. She isn't old enough to understand why he had to leave. She just knows he is gone, and she misses him dreadfully. My baby brother, Clive, is just two. He doesn't even really remember our dad. I guess maybe he is better off that way.
 
3     My dad has been able to come home on leave a couple of times. His visits have been short, too short. He is always very tired when he arrives home. Most of his time is spent sleeping. My mum lets him bundle up by the fire with his feet as close to the heat as possible. Mum says that he has to fight in a trench. She says that the trench is really nothing more than a long ditch dug into the ground. My dad has to eat, sleep, and fight from that trench. When it rains, the trench holds water. My dad has to stand with that water past his ankles for days at a time. When winter comes, the water is cold. My dad says he isn't sure he will ever be able to get warm again. The last time he came home he had a terrible cough. I thought he had caught cold from standing in the water. Mum said that that was only part of it. The Germans had shot canisters filled with a poison gas at my dad's squadron. Luckily, the wind had shifted before the gas could do too much damage to our men. Dad will have a cough for a while longer, but he will be all right. I wish my dad would come home to stay. I really miss him. I don't want my mum to know, but I am afraid that he might get badly hurt, or worse. Mum says that if we say our daily prayers, my dad will be safe. I hope so.

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