I need to re-read this book. My grandmother was like Francie, the first person in her family to go to college. Her parents were both Katies, both children of immigrant families, and they both worked so, so hard to earn something better for their children. I was lucky enough to know my great-grandparents — my great-grandmother didn’t die until I was 12 or 13 — and they always sent me savings bonds for Christmas and my birthday. I know they’re sort of an antiquated thing now, but I got really choked up when I cashed those bonds in to buy my college textbooks.
As for parts of the book I remember best, the coffee! If there was nothing to eat in the house at least you could always have a warm cozy cup of coffee — and how Katie and Johnny talked that up and made it feel special for the kids.