Second World War: Pearl Harbor Changed Everything

Nebraskan talks about the changes that came after America's entry into the Second World War.

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When the news of Pearl Harbor came over the radio that Sunday afternoon in December, my husband, Leonard Bird, was teaching vocational agriculture in Norton (Kansas) High School. 

In a couple of weeks, they took all the young faculty men off to service in the Second World War. The only men left were a music teacher who had only one hand, school principal Mr. Travis and my husband. My husband coached football and wrestling, plus his regular duties, and they filled in with all women teachers.

The faculty wives changed the card parties to sewing for the Red Cross, helping some of the wives whose husbands were gone.

I can remember meat rationing. I raised a big flock of chickens and sold them; three-pound chicken for $1.25, more if I dressed them. I couldn't fill all my orders that came in.

Sugar was also rationed, but that wasn't so hard. We made our good old homemade ice cream with white syrup and extra vanilla.

Emilie Bird
Beatrice, Nebraska


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.