Second World War: Armistice and Oleo Experience

Youngster during the second World War recalls oleo, the armistice, and new roller skates.

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I have two memories that have stayed with me of the second World War. At the time they happened I had no idea of what war was, as I was only 5 years old.

My aunt and uncle had moved in with us, and I enjoyed playing with my cousin, who was just a toddler. My aunt was so jolly and funny. I just loved being with her.

One day I heard laughter in the other room and went to investigate. My aunt was holding a little brown colored pill, looking at it closely. On the table below I saw what I thought was a bowl of lard. When I asked what it was, I was told it was a new kind of butter, called oleo. I didn't think I'd like it. My aunt could find no way to open it so she held it up as she stuck a pin in it. Everyone had a good laugh as the yellow fluid squirted all over.

Then came the day my dad bought me some new roller skates.

I was so proud of them. My dad was in front of the house showing me how to use the skates when I heard a lot of noise.

The streetcar a half-block down from our house had stopped. Windows opened, and people were laughing and crying. Dad started jumping up and down and yelling. I stood there ready to run. I was scared. "Dad, what's the matter?" I asked, starting to cry.

Dad replied, "The War's over, the Armistice has been signed!" I accepted the fact and went back to skating. I couldn't see what was so exciting.

It was a few years later before I understood what the Armistice was.

Evelyn Williams-Hall
Sioux City, Iowa

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.