Second World War: 1A Husband Kept Home to Farm

After December 7, 1941, the US entered the Second World War and drafted many. 1A farmers were kept home, however.

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I recall December 7, 1941, as if it happened last week. With our two children, we had gone home with friends from church. They were local merchants on U.s. Highway 60 east of Springfield, Missouri. 

While we women did Sunday dinner dishes, the men listened to the Atwater Kent radio. The startling news blared out, "Pearl Harbor had been attacked by the Japanese."

It seemed by next morning the whole United States was shifted into high gear, having entered into the Second World War. Draft boards were in full operation; my young husband was classified as 1A. Farming at full capacity, he was deferred each time he appeared for a hearing and kept in 1A. I was soon thrown into the role of a full-fledged milkmaid.

Also, I was thrust into the job of "go-go girl": Go haul tractor gas, take a broken piece of equipment to the welding shop, go for fertilizer and seeds. I'd pile the dirty dishes into the dish pan to wait until I could find time for my duty of housewife.

Of course the war casualties were uppermost in our minds, but rationing was quite a handicap. I learned the art of making pies with syrup, fell back on the "Depression cake "recipe to save sugar, and tried to substitute saccharin.

A few took up farming to dodge the draft, but mostly the war effort was one of unity. We were no longer known as Democrats or Republicans; we were Americans first.

Annabelle Scott Whobrey
Rogersville, Missouri

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.