- Author: Valerie Tripp,
- Illustrators: C.F. Payne, Nick Backes
- Vignettes: Keith Skeen, Renée Graef
- First Published: 1986
- Setting: October - November 1943
- Molly McIntire
- Helen McIntire
- Jill McIntire
- Ricky McIntire
- Brad McIntire
- Gladys Gilford
- Linda Rinaldi
- Susan Shapiro
- Alison Hargate
Only in Meet Molly
Chapter by Chapter Summary
Chapter One: TurnipsMolly was sitting at the kitchen table, daydreaming about her Halloween costume. Molly wanted to be Cinderella for Halloween and dress up in a long, floaty skirt. All she had to do was talk her mother into buying the materials and making the costume, find some glass slippers, and convince her two best friends to be the ugly stepsisters. Molly thinks that Susan would be happy to be a ugly stepsister as long as she got to wear a dress, but Linda would be more difficult. She would want to be Snow White due to her black hair, and she would probably make Molly and Susan into Grumpy and Sleepy. Molly thinks how she felt like Grumpy tonight as she looked at the clock. Molly had been at the kitchen table for two hours and forty six minutes, eve since Mrs. Gilford called everyone down for supper.
When Molly had first sat down and saw an orange heap on her plate, she made a decision not to eat it. Molly asked what the orange stuff was and Mrs. Gilford glared at her as she said the vegetable Molly was lucky to have on her plate was mashed turnip. Ricky whispers he would like to "re-turn it" and Mrs Gilford asks sharply what he just said. Ricky says he likes to eat turnips as he ate some. Molly mentally calls Ricky a rat as she looked at Jill, who was taking ladylike bites out of her turnips. Molly sighed as she recalled how she could count on Jill to fuss about things like turnips. But since she turned 14, Molly had to fuss herself while Jill acted superior. Molly thinks that if that's how she was going to be when she turned 14, she'd rather be 9 forever. As Molly's turnips grew cold and started to ooze water, Molly mutters it was disgusting. Mrs. Gildford tells her that no such language would be used at the table and anyone who didn't eat the turnips would not get dessert and not be allowed to leave the table until they were gone. And since then, Molly had been stuck at the table.
Molly thinks how none of this would have happened if her Dad was still home. Molly opened up her locket to look at his picture. Her Dad was a doctor and when America started fighting in the war, he joined the army and was now somewhere in England taking care of wounded soldiers. He had been gone for seven months and Molly missed him every single day. Molly recalls how before her Dad left, everyone ate dinner together in the dinning room. Her Dad would have something special to say to everyone, from riddles for Brad to compliments to Jill and Mrs. Gilford. But now her Dad was gone and her Mom worked long hours at the Red Cross, often arriving long after dinner had ended. Because of this, Mrs. Gilford took control of the house more then ever. Molly recalls how before the war, Mrs. Gilford would never serve turnips for dinner. But now to do her part to help the war, Mrs. Gilford started a Victory Garden in the backyard last summer so they wouldn't have to use canned foods. Everyone helped out with the garden but due to the heat, most of the vegetables had wilted in the sun. The only vegetables that survived were radishes, Lima beans, and turnips, and now she made meals out of them.As Molly looked at her plate, she recalled how Mrs. Gilford told her that wasting food was not only childish, but unpatriotic and while her Dad may not have anything to eat tonight in England, she's turning down fresh turnips. The kitchen was getting cold, Molly was tired, and she was tired of thinking about how unpatriotic she was. Molly tried a tiny bit of her turnips before Ricky stuck his head into the kitchen and asked if she liked eating old, cold, moldy brains before dashing out. Molly quickly swallowed down her turnips, thinking how they really did taste like moldy brains and that she wasn't going to have another bite. She calls Ricky a rat as she gets out from her chair, but Ricky chants that Molly didn't finish her turnips. Molly yells at Ricky to stop, but she knew he was right. To make matters worse, Molly heard her Mother arriving back home. Molly thinks that her Mom will now get mad at Molly, refuse to make the Cinderella dress, and everyone would be mad at Molly for making Mom mad, all because of the turnips.
Mrs. McIntire walks in through the back door and as soon as she saw Molly and her plate, she knew what happened. She comments that they had Victory Garden turnips for dinner and Molly tells her Mom what happened. Mrs. McIntire asks if she could join Molly for a cup of tea and offers to warm up the turnips. Molly doubts warming them up would help, but her Mom scooped up the turnips into the frying pan. She comments they could spare a bit of their sugar and butter rations as she adds them to the turnips. Once the turnips and tea are done, Mrs. McIntire gives them back to Molly. She tries a bite and was surprised to find it was actually pretty good. Mrs. McIntire tells Molly how when she was Molly's age, her Mother made sardines on toast and she refused to eat them. She was told she couldn't leave til the fish were gone, so she warpped the fish in a napkin and hid it in her pocket. Then when she was playing checkers with her Father, her two cats smelled the sardines and started bothering her. One of the cats managed to pull the napkin out of her pocket and once the sardines were on the floor, they gobbled them up.
The two laugh at the story. Mrs. McIntire tells Molly that everyone has to do things, weather they like them or not, and there weren't always cats around to eat the sardines. She tells Molly she knows the war is hard on her and the others and that she misses Dad too. Molly says that everything was so different with Dad gone, but her Mom tells her that while the war did change things, some things were still the same. She points out that Ricky was still Ricky and Molly was still Molly. She squeezes Molly's hand and Molly smiles. Her Mom wasn't angry, the turnips were gone, and Mrs. Gilford wouldn't think she was unpatriotic. Molly thanks her Mom and hugs her. She then heads off to bed, pretending she was wearing a floaty pink skirt along the way.
Chapter Two: Hula DancersThe next day at breakfast, Mrs. Gilford didn't mention the turnips. She did make French toast, however, a sign that Molly was forgiven. That day after school, Linda and Susan were going to Molly's house to discuss their Halloween costume ideas. They made a pact not to talk about their ideas at school in case someone tried to copy their ideas. As the three walked home, Alison met up with the three and asked what they were going to be for Halloween. Molly says it was a secret, but Lind and Susan say it was going to look great. Alison looked impressed, making Molly a little worried. They haven't agreed on an idea and if they were going to hype up their costumes, they would have to think of a good idea lest they get teased.
Molly asks what Alison was going to be and she replies that she was going to be an angel. She planned on wearing her Mother's white satin dressing gown along with a wings and a golden halo her Mom made. The three girls grew quiet as Molly gets jealous of Alison's idea. An angel was a great idea and Alison would look great with a halo over her hair. Molly thinks it was hard to be Alison's friend. As an only child with rich parents who gave her everything she wanted, Alison didn't even need to brag. She could simply tell the truth and everyone would resent her and he money. Linda comments that her Mom didn't even have a dressing gown, only a brown bathrobe she would never let Linda wear. Molly says their costume idea would be much more original and Alison quickly responds that the angel was her Mother's idea. Molly says goodbye as she, Linda and Susan hurried away, feeling uncomfortable when Alison started acting so nice.The girls reach Molly's house and enter through the kitchen to get a snack. They greet Mrs. Gilford and she tells them they could have an apple as a snack as long as they ate outside, saying the weather was too nice. The girls sit on the back steps and see Ricky shooting baskets at the hoop on the side of the garage. As they eat their apples, Susan suggests they be angels like Alison. Molly quickly shoots the idea down, not wanting to steal Alison's idea. Susan says Alison wouldn't ind, but Molly says she herself would mind, and they could think of something just as good. Linda asks if Molly had an idea. Molly, saying it as though she just thought of it, suggests they be Cinderella and her stepsisters. Susan loves the idea, but Linda immediately asks who gets to be Cinderella. Molly suggests they don't decide right away and they wait to see who has the best ball dress on Halloween. The one with the best dress gets to be Cinderella and the others will be the stepsisters. Linda says it wasn't fair as no one wanted to be the ugly stepsister. Ricky jokes that they were all ugly step-sitters today and Molly tells him to cut it out. Susan says she thought it was a good idea as she got an old prom dress from her sister Gloria. As she describes the dress, Molly grows worried. Susan's dress sounded perfect and unlike Molly's dress, it actually existed.
Not wanting to be an ugly stepsister, Molly sides with Linda and suggests they all dress like the same thing. Ricky suggests the three little pigs, the three bears, the three stooges, and the three Kings of Orient. He begins to sing a mocking version of We Three Kinds of Orient Are and Molly yells at him to stop. To her surprise, he does stop. His face turns red as she started showing off some fancy basketball moves. The three turn around to see who Ricky was showing off to, and they only see Jill and her new best friend Dolores walking up the driveway. Dolores smiles as she greets Ricky and he squeaks hello back. He suddenly shoots the ball through the hoop as Dolores and ill went inside. The three girls start to giggle, well aware of Ricky's new crush on Dolores. They start teasing Ricky and don't stop even after he throws the ball at them. Ricky jumps on his bike and tells the girls they'll pay for this as he speeds off. The girls giggle some more before they sober up and returned to their discussion.
The girls think up ideas, but none of them seem to work. When the idea of being the 3 Blind Mice pops up, Mrs. McIntire overhears the idea and states she definitely didn't have the time to make such a costume, and it seemed wrong to use good materials for Halloween costumes during wartime. She suggests that she could show the girls how to make paper grass skirts so they could be hula dancers. Susan says her sister showed her how to make paper flowers and Linda adds her father had a old ukulele they could use. Thus, the girls decide to be hula dancers. By the time Susan and Linda had to go home, they made up their plans. They would meet tomorrow at Molly's house to make the costumes, go trick-or-treating afterwards, then Linda and Susan would sleep over and Molly's house By supper time, Molly completely forgot about Ricky's threat.
Chapter Three: Trick or Treat?
While the grass skirts wasn't as glamorous as her dream Cinderella skirt, Molly still liked them as making them had been fun. Mrs. McIntire left work early to help the girls and the four of them worked on the outfits as a record of Hawaiian songs played. By the time they were done, the girls were very pleased with their matching hula outfits. Jill and Dolores compliment their outfits and Mrs. McIntire comments she'll take a picture of them to send to Dad after trick-or-treating with Brad.
The girls go off trick-or-treating on their own and they run into Alison, who was out with her Mom. Even though her angel costume looked great, Alison still was envious of their hula outfits. Molly compliments Alison's costume, thinking it would be fun trick-or-treating with her if she wasn't with her Mom. Mrs. Hargate compliments the trio's costumes before she and Alison run off. Linda comments she felt sorry for Alison for having a Mother like that. Molly agrees, adding the whole point of Halloween was to go trick-or-treating with friends, not your Mom.While the girls weren't able to get much candy due to the war's sugar rations, the girls got various other treats like popcorn balls and apples. Their outfits were a hit that night, and even earned them some apple cider when they preformed a mini hula dance at one house as a 'trick'. As the trio headed back to Molly's house, they approached the back door when a hose sprayed water straight at them. The water ruined their treat bags and costumes. When the water stopped, Molly looked at what remained of her costume. She asks who could play such a mean trick when she hears Ricky chant "I see London, I see France, I can see your underpants!" Molly scowls as she yells at Ricky that he'll be sorry for this. Ricky runs off as the girls fume on the drive way for a moment. When Linda comments the was freezing, Molly tells the two to got inside while she cleaned up the drive way. She adds they would have to make up a revenge plan against Ricky now.
Chapter Four: War!
- Once the girls were done showering and they changed into their pajamas, they whispered in Molly's room until they heard Mrs. McIntire return home with Brad. She asks if they wanted hot cocoa and the girls agree. Susan says they could tell Mrs. McIntire what happened, but Molly says not to. She didn't want to be a tattle-tale, and her Mom would go too easy on him. When the girls got downstairs, they saw Ricky at the table and sit as far away from him as possible.
Mrs. McIntire asks what happened to their costumes and their bag of treats. Molly says they got wet and Mom asks her how. Susan explains it was a hose and just as she says Ricky's name, Molly interjects and says they walked into a hose by mistake. When her Mom says she felt she wasn't getting told the entire story, Molly simply stared into her cup. When Ricky pushes his chair back, Mrs. McIntire says that maybe he could tell her what happened. Ricky fiddles with his pirate costume as he nervously explains he just played a Halloween joke on them. Linda mutters it was a mean trick. Ricky says he got a little water on their costumes and Molly bursts out that he dumped pails and pails of water on them. Susan says he used on a hose on them and Linda adds he ruined their costumes and treats. When Mrs. McIntire asks if it was true, the girls exclaim yes and Ricky says yes as he looked at his feet. Mrs. McIntire was quiet before telling Ricky she was ashamed of his behavior and if his Dad was here, he would be ashamed as well. Her punishment for Ricky is that he must apologize to the girls and give them his entire teat bag while keeping only one treat for himself. After Mrs. McIntire let the kitchen to put Brad to bed Ricky mutters sorry as he shoved his treats at the girls and runs off.
As the girls trudge upstairs to bed, Linda whispers that Molly was right about her Mom going easy on him. Susan agrees, except for the part about Molly's father being ashamed. Linda says Ricky was hardly suffering at all and Molly says they'll just have to think up a plan to make him really suffer. The girls think up various ideas in Molly's room, but they all get shot down. Molly says they need to think up of a plan that would embarrass Ricky at least in front of someone who he wouldn't want to get embarrassed in front of. Linda suggests Dolores and Molly specifies their plan so they would have to embarrass Ricky in front of Dolores. The girls think up how to do it until Molly recalls the song her brother chanted at them after spraying them with a hose. Molly smiles as she says she had a plan, but they would have to cooperate to pull it off.
The next day, the table was was crowded as Dolores had also slept over with ill last night. Molly noticed that Ricky had his hair slicked back and thinks he didn't it to get Dolores' attention. Susan started off the plan by asking Mrs. McIntire for three brown bags to hold their Halloween treats. Linda's role was to keep Ricky out of his room for a while, so she asked him if she could watch him shoot hoops as she wanted to learn how. Ricky replies that girls can't play basketball, but his Mom scolds him for being rude at a guest and tells him to show Linda how to shoot baskets. Ricky and Linda leave along with Mrs. McIntire and Bad, who were going to the mailbox around the corner to mail a letter to Dad. Dolores and Jill run upstairs to listen to records and as soon as their door closed, Molly and Susan dashed to Ricky's room. They gathered up Ricky's underwear and socks in the brown bags and dashed back to Molly's room. Molly's window overlooked the driveway, where Ricky was shooting baskets and Linda was watching. Molly tells Susan to go on. Susan says she was too scared to do it and it was lying. Molly says Susan had to do it or else she and Linda wouldn't talk to Susan ever again. She adds if Susan crossed her fingers, it wouldn't be a lie. Susan finally agrees to go on as she knocks on Jill's door. Jill asks what she wanted and Susan says Russ Campbell, the senior football start at Jill's and Dolores' high school, asked her to ask the two if they wanted to go on a car ride. The teenagers shriek as they galloped downstairs and headed for the back door.
Susan runs back to Molly and tells her to get ready. When Jill and Dolores stepped outside, Susan and Molly yell as they dumped the clothes over them. Dolores asks in disgust what was going on as she pulled off Ricky's underwear from her head. Molly, Susan and Linda chant "I see London, I see France, Those are Ricky's underpants!". Jill yells at Ricky that Russ Campbell was part of the joke as Ricky wails he didn't plan this. Dolores hands Ricky his underwear and soon thee two burst out into laughter. They sit on the back steps and laughed as Ricky blushed and frantically picked up all of his clothes. Dolores tells Jill they could go over to her House, where they wouldn't get showered on by kid's underwear.The tow girls keep on laughing as Molly yells at Ricky this was his Halloween trick. Ricky starts to yell at Molly that his was war, but he suddenly stops along with Jill and Dolores' laughing. Susan and Molly look out the window to see Mrs. McIntire standing on the driveway with a cold expression on her face. Molly and Susan slide onto the floor, but she calls them down, saying she wanted everyone to hear what she had to say.When everyone gathered at the back steps, Mrs. McIntire says that until there were no more tricks, there would be no more treats. She punishes everyone, telling Ricky he had to rake up the mess caused by his hose attack on the drive way, Molly and her friends had to do Ricky's laundry, and Jill and Dolores had to look after Brad. She looks at Molly and Ricky and says that while their tricks didn't seem serious to them, they were mean, childish, and wasteful. She felt sad and disappointed with them. If they all couldn't get along together, who could? She says the fighting has to stop and their meanness, anger and revenge is the sort of thing that starts off wars. She says there's already enough fighting in the world and she didn't want any more fighting in her house. Once she made her point, she sends them to work and goes inside. Molly gets the bundle of clothes from Ricky and apologizes. She explains they didn't want to keep fighting. They were just mad and wanted to embarrass him, but they shouldn't have done it. Ricky says it was okay as he probably deserved it. Ricky smiles as he adds while the trick was mean, it was also funny. He laughs and says he was glad they weren't fighting anymore as Molly and her friends could get some pretty good ideas despite being a bunch of dips. Molly grins and thanks him and the trio go inside.
Doing Ricky's laundry was better than Molly expected. The three girls pretended to be Cinderella before the ball, so Molly felt as if she did get to be Cinderella for Halloween. Once they started to hang up the laundry outside, Ms. McIntire helped them out. After they were done, Molly's Mom comments it looked like an underwear tree. She miles at Molly and hugs here. As she hugs her Mom, Molly thinks that she was right, that it was much better not to be fighting.
Looking Back: America in 1944
Discusses life in World War Two America. Topics include:
- The shows and broadcasts people would listen to on the radio.
- The bombing of Pearl Harbor.
- Adolf Hilter and his goal to rule the world.
- How men and woman served their country.
- Why letters sent by soldiers were sometimes censored.
- How American companies "went to war."
- The jobs woman were able to get during the war.
- How people on the home front helped the war effort.
- The hardship of World War Two and how families showed their pride and love for their soldiers.
Items associated with Meet Molly
- With the redone covers, Molly is the only character not wearing her meet outfit on the cover.