Second World War: Right Down to Enlist

Illinois native recalls her veteran father going to enlist despite his injuries and instead working at a defense plant.

| Good Old Days

The Selective Service was busy calling up draftees, and many more were enlisting. Of course my dad went right down to enlist. Unfortunately, he was 55 years old and had been gassed and shell-shocked in World War I. Never one to stand aside, he began to apply for jobs at defense plants and was hired on right away. 

Other changes occurred on the home front. We were urged to conserve everything for the war effort. We saved grease. Every kid on the block had a tin-foil ball. Mine eventually got huge, because I begged every piece of tin foil from everyone I knew.

About this time our car was put up on blocks out in the yard, and my dad began riding with a neighbor to work. Tires were not for sale at any price. Enterprising individuals took advantage of the situation, and the black market was born. For enough money you could get anything you wanted. But, daddy said we didn't need anything that bad, so we managed on our ration books and little red and blue points.

We raised chickens, rabbits, ducks, geese and sometimes a hog. Daddy knew a beekeeper, and we traded chickens, eggs or what-ever he needed for some honey to help stretch our sugar. As far as I know, the bees were exempt from rationing.

Because we couldn't use our car and Daddy wasn't home much, the radio became my focus. I couldn't get enough of Jack

Armstrong, "Terry and the Pirates" and all the rest of the programs. Each had a War theme and fought spies and fascists tooth-and-nail. "Captain Midnight" became my favorite program. One bright spot emerged each week as we tuned into" Amos & Andy" and tried to forget the horror that was going on all over the world. Even the plot lines on the soap operas were about the War. "One Man's Family" had at least two of the sons in the service and mentioned some of the things we were all doing to help win the War.

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