I love WWII history, especially as it pertains to life on the homefront. Living in a time when it's considered a sacrifice to miss American Idol or run out of coffee creamer, it's hard to imagine the voluntary (and involuntary) sacrifices made by my grandparents' generation. The courage, work ethic, and discipline of the people who won the Second World War is legendary and humbling. They are aptly called the Greatest Generation.
Shellac, which was produced in India, was used for (among other things) making phonograph records, but because of the war in Asia, trade with India was disrupted, and new records became a hot commodity. Also, due to the interruption in trade, things like shoes, rubber and gasoline became hard to get. In their part for the war effort, children at this time would go door-to-door and scour junk yards collecting things like rubber, aluminum.
Many of the things we take for granted in daily life were changed. Families didn 't go on unnecessary rides in the car, not only because they had a limited amount of gasoline to use, but because they didn't want to waste the precious rubber of their tires. Vacations were spent at home -- if there were vacations. The work force had been so depleted by the enlistment of so many American men that most everyone worked overtime. Out of necessity, women joined the workforce for the first time-- in droves. Many of those that stayed home babysat for those out working. And, if I know women -- and being one, I think I do -- those women of the forties, especially the Moms, were all using every ounce of their creative energy to make things as normal as they could at home. Working, praying, playing -- and saving their bacon grease for the war effort. Times were hard, but they were tough women.
I think, if times became so troubled again, Americans would rise to the challenge. At least I hope so.
But I hope we never have to find out.
(A song from the 1940s era)
Baby, baby, baby,
What's wrong with Uncle Sam?
He's cut down on my sugar,
Now he's messing with my ham.
I got the ration blues.
Blue as I can be.
Oh, oh, me,
I got those ration blues.
I got to live on 40 ounces
Of any kind of meat,
Those 40 little ounces
Got to last me all the week.
I got to cut down on my jelly,
It takes sugar to make it sweet,
I'm going to steal all your jelly, baby,
And rob you of your meat.
(Listen to it here.)
Make a trip through time and visiti more Sepia Saturday posts, found here!