Second World War: Victory Garden

Victory gardens were a common sight during the Second World War. One woman's victory garden was attacked by Japanese beetles.

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Housing was difficult to find around Army camps. During the Second World War. My husband was stationed at Edgewood arsenal. We were staying in a rooming house, sharing the bath with many other people, and cooking our meals after the homeowner was through with her kitchen. 

I accompanied a friend to see the apartment she was going to move in to. A beautiful three-story home had been converted into five apartments. The owner stored all his furniture on the third floor. I loved the big maples in the yard and the bay windows in the house. I asked the woman in charge if I might put my name on the waiting list. She said I'd be about number 20.

Seeing my friend's dog the woman exclaimed, "You didn't tell me you had a dog. I can't have a dog in here." Turning to me, she asked if we had a dog. I assured her we didn't. "Then you can have the apartment," she said.

Although we didn't have any furniture, I paid the rent right then. We moved in a day or two later. It was here that we had our first victory garden. Each tenant was given several rows in the garden to plant and work vegetables of his choice. I grew up in the country, and the gardening was fun for me. The couple next to us was from New York City, and they had a lot to learn.

About the time the snap beans were ready to pick, Japanese beetles moved into the garden. Overnight they ate all the leaves off the okra stalks. Bare stems were thick with beetles the next day.

My husband got orders to be transferred immediately to another camp and our garden was forgotten.

Gypsy Damaris Boston
Shreveport, Louisiana

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.