Second World War: Ration Books Used Sparingly

Iowan remembers ration books during the Second World War, and her generation's waste-not, want-not attitude.

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During the Second World War, we were farmers. My husband was class "C," because he was married and had a family. Many young men around us did go. 

We had ration books and ration tokens. I still have our books and some tokens. We didn't have money to spend foolishly. When we butchered a hog for our meat, we had to give them the same as if we bought it in the store.

I had to go to the hospital, about 40 miles from home. I was there three weeks. It rained a lot, and my husband had to go an out-of-the-way route to get to the hospital as rivers were out of the banks and roads were closed.

He asked for more gas and got 10 gallons extra. Then he had a bad tire, so he had to go to the Rationing Board to see if he could get a new tire. He did get sympathy from them, and they gave him a certificate for a second-grade tire.

He stayed at the hospital with me during the day, and his cousin, a registered nurse, stayed with me during the night.

Near the end of my stay at the hospital, sirens, church bells and schools bells started ringing. The nurses came down the halls on the run and said, "We have good news about the War." It was some time before the men all got to come home. Quite a few from our territory were crippled and some were killed.

Today our younger generation would not know what to do if they couldn't cruise up and down the streets or had to walk some place. We never believed in waste and still don't.

Mrs. Robert Armstrong
Early, 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.