first of the "Where were you when..." questions I can answer concerns
attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
I had just begun the educational process at Averell Elementary School
That big Philco radio that focused the living room prior to the advent
of television told us that war had found us. I remember my grandmother
crying softly and the strained countenances of my mother and aunt,
though I really did not understand why.
The next four years provided more memories of WWII.
Lets see, now. Do you remember:
ration books issued by the OPA to every member of the household necessary
to purchase such commodities as shoes and sugar. No ration stamp,
no purchase, at least legally, but of course some unscrupulous individuals
participated in a "black market." The purchase of meat required "red
points," dime-sized red plastic disks that equated to so many points
per pound allowed;
"A" or "T" stickers in auto or truck windshields, indicating the amount
of gasoline allowable for that vehicle. And it cost about 20 cents
War Bonds, Series "E," the $18.75 deducted from Daddy's paycheck that
purchased a document worth $25 in ten years, and the little books
we school kids filled with a stamp every week, at ten cents a stamp,
until we, too, had helped pay for the war and put a little nest egg
aside. We didn't care that this was the government's way to finance
the war and slow inflation, but we did anticipate the agonizingly
slow compounding of the interest;
V-Mail, or victory mail, letters received from servicemen overseas
that had been photographically diminished to lessen the load of hauling
so many letters from America's millions of men in far-flung duty stations.
And marvel of marvels, they traveled all that way without a postage
Scrap drives of everything from rubber the first to all
metals, newspapers, even animal fat saved from cooking. I remember
pulling my wagon door to door collecting newspapers to be turned in
for reprocessing, but I don't remember ever hearing the word "recycling."
I also remember searching for discarded cigarette packages so we could
separate what we called "tin foil"probably aluminumused
to seal the pack for freshness, rolled it into balls, and turned it
in. I also remember lines outside stores on the one or two days per
week that cigarettes were available for purchase;
Blackoutswhen the siren sounded, lights were "cut off" and if
any had to be illuminated, blankets covered all windows lest the air-raid
warden, usually a neighbor empowered to patrol the area, knocked to
issue the warning that we were aiding feared but never appeared German
What I donšt remember is much complaining about these inconveniences.
America had a different vision, then.
Things Historical December
Published with permission
A syndicated column in over 40 East Texas newspapers
More World War
by Archie P. McDonald - Order Here