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At Grandma's House

At Grandma's House

The World War II Homefront in Havana, Illinois

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H. Byron Earhart with Illustrations by John Michael Downs


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
280 pages, 6 x 9.25, 107 illustrations

Saluki Publishing


Additional Materials

  • Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

About the Book

Illinois State Historical Society Certificate of Excellence Winner, 2021

When H. Byron Earhart’s father enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942, young Byron and his family moved into his grandparents' old-fashioned home with a coal-fired range and potbelly stove, and his mother took charge of the family business, a frozen food locker. Grandma was the undisputed head of the family. While his father served on the battleship USS Missouri, his grandparents and mother held the family and the business together. At Grandma’s House is a tribute to everyday Americans who provided the social glue for a country at war as they balanced fear and anxiety for loved ones with the challenges and pleasures of daily life. The experiences of the Earhart family and this Midwestern community, supplemented by contemporary documents, family photos, and professional illustrations, recount with vivid local color the drama that played out on the national and international stage.


H. Byron Earhart is the author of several books, including the Twin Destiny Series. You can read more about him at and


“H. Byron Earhart's luminous memoir of life on the homefront during World War II tells a story as essential and vivid as the drama of the war itself.”—Richard Lederer, author of The Joy of Names
“I can’t say enough about how enjoyable and informative this book is. As a lifelong resident of the Havana area, I can say that the history of the community is vividly brought to life in the everyday events of the real-life characters. I learned so much about the impact that World War II had on the lives of the people who did not physically go to the war, particularly the children. This book will entertain and inform people of all ages, whether you remember World War II yourself, are doing a research project, or simply want to read a good story about a fascinating time in our nation’s history.”—William R. Blessman, Mason County administrator
“Protecting the homefront was why we were willing to put our lives on the line. As a United States marine visiting various islands in the Pacific war, I knew little to nothing about life on the homefront. I appreciate learning many interesting details.”—Chuck Schunk, World War II marine
“Earhart has written an interesting and entertaining story depicting life growing up in a rural west-central Illinois community. The changing lifestyles and communities during the Great Depression and World War II are presented in a way that will attract readers of all ages.”—Marion Cornelius, Easley Pioneer Museum

"This warmhearted book brings back many memories to me. The author and I are contemporaries. We lived in opposite parts of the USA, but had so many similar experiences during the middle of World War II. Especially similar were the items of rationing tin, grease, paper, and many foods. Our Mothers knew how to do it “for the War Effort.” We missed our Fathers who were stationed overseas for a long time. My family moved within the country four or more times before that for military assignments. The author’s family portraits were clear and descriptive as was the location where they lived. This was an easy to read, and easy to relate to story, well written and a pleasure to know about. I recommend it to all adults and children."—Dorothy Stewart

"At Grandma’s House by Byron Earhart is an entertaining, often laugh out reminiscence of a boyhood spent in the Illinois of the WWII era. But it is not all humor. There are chapters devoted to the serious side of that time and place. Loaded with historical facts, photos and charming drawings of daily life, readers are introduced to the author’s family, friends and the people and circumstances that shaped his world and his future. This is a fascinating glimpse into a bygone era. Take this book to a comfortable spot, relax and dive in! You won’t be disappointed!"—Clara Auld