Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rationing and Quilts, Part 2

Hey, Y'all,
I hope I can get the blogger site to upload pictures of some of the baby quilts I have made. Apparently the site is very busy and has been all day on Tuesday, even at 11 p.m. when I tried. Anyway, I thought I would tell about what I remember of rationing of goods in World War II.

I remember when the United States declared war. I was eight years old at the time. I remember hearing it announced on the radio, right after Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese planes. It was not long after that when my two oldest brothers were called up in the draft and had to go to the army. They both served overseas in the Pacific Theater of Operations. My oldest brother, Bill, was married and had a little girl, who is now seventy years old. My next oldest brother, Ralph, was still single, and didn't get married until after the war was over.

On the home front, rationing of goods became a way of life beginning in January of 1942. To get a classification and a book of ration stamps, a person had to appear before a local rationing board. Each person in the family received a ration book, even the babies. If you bought gasoline you had to show a gas card, and a ration book.

The ration books were good only for a certain period of time and had to be used during that time if they were going to be. This was to keep people from hoarding them up. There was also a black market for goods and I think they probably did a brisk business.

Some of the things that were rationed were: automobiles, and their tires, sugar, gasoline, shoes and footwear, coffee, fuel oil (like kerosene and motor oil), meat, lard, dairy products, processed foods, dried fruits, canned milk. All kinds of things. We had scrap drives where we collected tin and metal, and rubber for the war effort. We also had a 'victory garden' and raised a lot of our own vegetables.

One of the stories in our family was how our alarm clock quit working and my mom went to town (we lived in Knoxville at the time) and went into a jewelry store and asked about buying an alarm clock so she could be sure and wake up in time to go to work at 7 a.m. The store owner told her he didn't have any to sell because he couldn't get any of them. All the metal was going into the goods for the military. He asked her "Why don't you get a rooster?" That made her so mad she could have spit! She never got tired of telling that story. Ha.

Each person only was allowed one pair of shoes a year, and if you outgrew your shoes before the year was up, either someone went without a pair so you could have one, or you went barefoot. We did a lot of barefoot going in the summertime, anyway.

During the war, some of the coffee we got was not too good. The coffee companies began adding chicory to the coffee to stretch it out. One story I remember about coffee was soon after the war was over: My dad sent me to the neighborhood store that was up the hill just a couple of blocks from the house. I thought when he sent me that he told me to get a pound of Jubilator coffee. Well, when I got to the store, I asked for the Jubilator coffee, and the storekeeper said, "I don't believe I ever heard of that brand". So he called the house and asked if that was what dad wanted. Dad said, "No, I wanted a pound of Percolator coffee."
Well, now, I was really embarrassed about that and dad teased me about it for years. Ha ha.

It was a funny thing about the war. Before the war, there was not enough money to buy what we needed. After the war began, the economy picked up, but even when you were earning money, stuff was rationed, so you couldn't get as much as you wanted. I remember, too, that when we bought sugar or flour or meal, it was packed in paper like it is now, and so as not to waste any of it, and to get every grain of it, mom or Margaret would empty the bags and then tear them apart to get whatever was in between the seams. None of it was allowed to escape. That, my dears, is thrift.

Well, I am writing this up on Tuesday evening, and it is almost midnight. I am just about ready to go to bed, and will try again in the morning to upload the pictures I want to post. Then I will publish this post.

Hey, Y'all,
It is now early morning and I was able to get up early and download some pics of a few of the baby quilts I have made. All of them are reversible and I have only put one side of each on here. They are colorful on both sides. You can see how big they are because one of them has my husband holding it up in front of him (see hands at top of pic and mantel behind him, ha). I also posted a pic of my oldest brother, Bill, holding his son, Fred, and Norma, his daughter, is standing beside him.

Well, I still have a day ahead of me to do stuff, and it is very early in the a.m., so I am headed back to bed for a few hours. Still got a little sleeping to do yet, and yes, I can go back to sleep. I am quite used to waking up and making a trip to our indoor privy (no outside one these days) and then going back to bed. Sometimes, when I can't sleep, I play at my computer, until I get sleepy and then go back.

This is Blabbin' Grammy signing off for today (until later) and going back to bed. I have a baby quilt to finish today. More later. Much love to each of you, my friends out there in Blogland. (Is there such a word? I reckon there is if we say it is. ha ha). Bye for now.



Wonderful quilts Ruby you are so clever, I can just about remember the end of rationing over here,
But was only very young.I wonder what our children would think of rationing in today's world.

Take care.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks for sharing a bit of history with us today.

Jan said...

Your baby quilts are sweet. I love doing baby quilts because they are small and work up quickly.
I had a ration card when I was a baby and my mother saved it for me to have when I got older.

Wanda said...

Always love reading your post. Nice quilts.

Shannon said...

Sure Blogland can be your word Ruby...I use Blog-o-sphere...your quilts are beautiful and remind me of my Granny Ann's so much! You two would have made great friends I'm sure...she is in Alabama now though...Hope your day is a wonderful one and Gramps too!

Raquel Byrnes said...

My grandmother showed me her ration book that she'd kept. She often told me about trying to cook on a sugar ration...doesn't sound fun.

Great quilts, they look cozy.

WhisperingWriter said...

Love those quilts.

My husband loves anything that has to do with WW2 and loves to talk to people about it.

Beth said...

History is fascinating to hear from people who lived it rather than stale history books! And your quilts are BEAUTIFUL!

Grammy said...

Thanks you all, for all the kind support you give me. Thank you for the compliments on my quilting. They are all stitched with love in each one. I don't have pictures of all of them, though. I have made five large quilts for grandchildren, and 4 quilts for Allie's grandchildren, and working on the seventh one for my great grands. I will post the pic of it when I am finished.

Cheri Chesley said...

Your quilts are beautiful. I seriously think that's a dying art. And thank you for the history lesson. I knew many things were rationed during the war, but you made it real.

Marjorie said...

It's very interesting hearing about the rationing. I don't think people would handle that very well these days.

Lovely quilts!

Lisa said...

Wonderful quilts and wonderful stories about the rationing!

arlee bird said...

More lovely quilts -- you have quite a talent.

When I was in Maryville this past Christmas I was going through some of my mother's old stuff and ran across a ration book or something like that. The thing that really surprised me was the it showed her name and the middle name was not the name I had thought was hers. Here birth middle name was Katherine, but I had always thought it was Kaye. She was kind of upset that I found out the truth and told me she hated that name. I think its a very nice name--I don't know why it bothered her so.

A to Z Challenge Reflections Mega Post

Clara....in TN said...

Hello Quilting lady. They are beautiful. I have only made two quilt tops in my lifetime. And they are still just quilt tops. I love to do it, but don't seem to get into it very often. You have a "knack" for it, I think. (Did I spell that word right?) Keep up the good work.