Second World War: Rationing Affected Farmers

Kansan remembers rationing during the Second World War.

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Since my husband was a farmer, he was exempt from serving in the Armed Forces in the Second World War, but we were affected by the War in many ways. There was a scarcity of many products and rationing of many necessities. 

My brother-in-law who was in the Armed Forces was sent to Australia. His wife moved into an apartment in the city and stored their furniture. Since it was considered necessary that a refrigerator be used constantly, theirs was sent to us to use. That was a big help. We had no refrigerator, and had been hanging perishable food down in a well or keeping it in the cellar. The government packed and shipped the refrigerator to us. Because of the scarcity of such items, we carefully saved the lumber used in the shipping crate, and we also saved all the nails.

Tires were rationed and in very short supply. The government ordered that we drive at a slow speed to keep from having "blow-outs," which could cause serious accidents. I remember driving to town with my small son. He was watching the speedometer and said, "Mommy, slow down! You are going 40 miles an hour!"

Metal was almost nonexistent. For Christmas, my son received a toy wagon made completely of wood. He also got a sled that was all wood, no metal - even on the runners. At a later time, my husband fastened strips of iron on the runners, to make them more efficient. Almost 50 years later, that wooden sled is still hanging in a storage shed on our farm.

When the War was over, our brother-in-law came home. He took his refrigerator, but we were able to buy one of our own.

Hazel Millenbruch
Home, Kansas

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.