Second World War: Coming out of the Great Depression

We were just coming out of the Great Depression when the Second World War started, so people weren’t wealthy, but our two-cent corn soon soared to $2. Farmers and businessmen alike prospered. One day farmers received a penny postcard in the mail stating “Rope is scarce. The farmers need it, and our boys in the service need it. It is your patriotic duty to grow hemp.” Many farmers signed contracts to grow hemp to make twine and rope. Years later, when we found hemp growing wild in the ditches, people learned it could be harvested as marijuana.

Our local hatchery hired Japanese men to sort the baby chicks, because they were faster and better at it. When the War broke out, all Japanese suddenly became our enemies and the men in town kept a 24-hour surveillance on them until they finished their work and left town.

The newspaper office sent copies of the local newspaper to subscribers in Norway. They had always gone through, but when the War started, the papers were returned with a notation on the wrapper “Not Passed By Censor.” Inside was this message: “This communication returned to sender because it is addressed to an enemy or enemy-occupied country. Personal messages may be sent through the Red Cross.”

Jeanette Larson
Story City, 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.