Second World War: Office of Price Administration

During the Second World War, the Office of Price Administration's guidelines were unpopular with landlords.

| Good Old Days

When I met my wife, she was employed at a defense plant. I went to work making ship masts and pontoons for defense. I earned 60 cents an hour, time-and-a-half over 40 hours. I worked 10 hours a day, six days a week and some Sundays. I finally saved enough money to buy a 1929 Studebaker, which 

I pushed almost as far as I drove. Apartments were scarce and hard to get. The Office of Price Administration set the rent, but many landlords didn't follow guidelines. They also charged 50 cents a week each if you used over a 40-watt bulb, had a fan, had a radio or used their iron and board.

A lot of old houses were made into apartments. Usually the bath was shared by several apartments. Toilet paper was scarce, so you carried it to the bathroom and back to your apartment.

My wife and I were looking for an apartment once, walking the streets. The landlord had only to put out a for-rent sign, and it was taken that day. I was carrying our suitcase, which had our skillet, two pans, dishes, silver, a blanket and all our clothes, with room to spare.

After walking half a day with no luck, I left the suitcase in the bus station. My wife feared it would be stolen. I said, "let somebody steal it and get surprised." After walking another three hours, we saw a sign and rented two rooms, bath down the hall. Our suitcase was waiting for us.

You stood in line to get many things, including cigarettes. The lines would reach around the block.

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