The Year Was 1941

Charleston newspaper, December 8, 1941The Year was 1941 and it opened with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous Four Freedoms Speech. In this State of the Union address, the president told Congress and the country that “the future and the safety of our country and of our democracy are overwhelmingly involved in events far beyond our borders.” Following World War I, the U.S. had reverted to isolationism, with the majority of the public not favoring involvement in foreign disputes, but the tide was slowly turning as many Americans began to ponder the impact of Axis victories in Asia and Europe and wonder about the extent of their ambitions.

The Four Freedoms Speech would inspire Norman Rockwell to create four paintings depicting these freedoms, which would later be used as posters to help sell war bonds.

In March, Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act into law, which allowed the U.S. “To manufacture in arsenals, factories, and shipyards under their jurisdiction, or otherwise procure. . . any defense article for the government of any country whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States.” This made the way for the shipment of much-needed supplies to Allies like Great Britain and Russia, including food, aircraft, ships and land vehicles. In a press conference, Roosevelt compared the program to lending a neighbor whose house was on fire a garden hose to help extinguish the flames, saying that he wouldn’t want to charge that neighbor for the hose, but rather, he would just like the hose returned when the fire was out.

Also in 1941, Germany attacked and occupied Yugoslavia and Greece, and in June, invaded Russia. After the invasion, mobile units of “Einsatzgruppen“ or death squads followed and performed mass executions of primarily Jewish victims in the invaded areas of the USSR. This year also saw the establishment of death camps in Birkenau and Chelmno, as well as the massacre of 34,000 Jews at Babi Yar.

The year would end with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. declaring war on Japan and Germany. National Geographic has an interesting online exhibit of first-hand accounts, photos and footage on the Pearl Harbor attacks.

In the entertainment world, popular movies included Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon, and Sergeant York. The USO (http://www.uso.org) was born in 1941 and in May, Bob Hope performed in his first USO show. The USO continues to serve as a bridge between Americans and American servicemen and women through USO centers, clubs and shows to boost morale and as a vehicle of American support for troops. Soldiers at the USO canteens would have likely danced to the Chattanooga Choo-choo, Green Eyes, and We Three.

The year 1941 and the U.S. entrance into World War II would bring changes to all families in the U.S.  As my dad recalls, in the ensuing war years, his family would follow the progress of the war through newspapers and plot locations on maps, and his coloring books would have a military theme, depicting planes, tanks, soldiers and snipers. His family also grew a victory garden and collected tin cans for recycling.

Please post your memories or the memories passed on to you in the comments section. Also by clicking on the newspaper image above you can see the entire page from the Ancestry.com Historical Newspapers Collection (free sample).

34 thoughts on “The Year Was 1941

  1. I have recently purchased the service instruction book that was issued to all serviceman who were coming to britain in 1942. It gives instructions on how to behave, what not to say and do. I found this really interesting as I was born in 1954 and there are so many articles and films about the servicemen coming to Britain to fight in World War II
    There is one quote on the back of the book that says British people don’t know how to make a decent cup of coffee, yet the Americans don’t know how to make a decent cup of tea.
    If anyone wants more of the hints etc given to the servicemen let me know. It certainly opened my eyes.
    It was stated at times that The Yanks were over here, over paid and over sexed. To come from a country like america where situations were different, and to come to Britain where things where totally different must have been an awesome thing for the american troops to cope with. From what I know now and having been to America myself in the 1990′s I think America and its people are brilliant and would like to say thankyou

  2. I just read the article on the Japanese invasion December 8th 1941. I have been reading archived letters of my husband’s uncle who was in the Merchant Navy. He wrote a letter to his sister when he was in the Sick Bay on board ship after his ship had been blown up. He states in this letter that he had just heard Japan had attacked America. Reading these letters is like entering a Time Warp.
    Just sitting there reading the conditions that my husband’s uncle were in and the bombing of ships etc brought tears to my eyes as I read them. Sadly he died in 1949 after the war due to Peretonitis on board ship, and was put ashore and died in Port Sedan, in Alexandria.
    As previously stated in the book i purchased which was issued to American Serviceman coming to Britain in 1942. One article says that Britain waste no food as all our goods are imported. and each meal wasted is a serviceman’s life.
    Reading these letters certainly brings home the sacrifices that were made of all servicemen whether merchant navy, or in all the services.

  3. I remember listening to the radio that Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941 morning and hearing about the attach on Pearl Harbor.The next day at school all students went to the auditoriam to listen to Pres.Roosevelt’s speech about the “Day that will live in infamy” The whole country united. Everything was rationed-sugar, tires, gas, shoes. I remember getting my first pair of high heels using a shoe stamp my girlfriend’s mother gave me. We went on scrap metal drives, saved bacon grease, and every Monday morning at school we lined up to purchase savings stamps to buy War Bonds for the War effort. Women went to work, filling jobs vacated by the men who went to war. We had blackout shades on windows at night to protect us from bombers. It was truly the “Greatest Generation”.

  4. For the last several months I’ve been researching WWII in my research on my favorite, late Uncle’s service record. In one of the many books purchased I read that quote on Yanks in England. It was they “are oversexed, over paid and over here” which the American reply was that the British were “undersexed, underpaid and under Eisenhower”! I love it!Typical American G. I. response,I think.
    Here’s a tip, when researching an era; I like to immerse myself by not only reading about it but also listening to music from that era, if it’s available. It gives you a “feel” for the time period. Movies are good, too but music you can listen to while doing something else.

  5. I was born in 1944, and never experienced the actual war time, but Mom told lots of stories to us over the years. One in particular she enjoyed telling was about the “Rubber Drive”. A volunteer came to the door and asked for any rubber items that were not needed. Mom could not think of anything they didn’t need. My Grandmother was also there at the time as they were about to go shopping. In those days women dressed up a little more to go out. It was July, and hot as usual here in Arizona. So Grandmother said I’ll have something for you in just a minute. She came back a little later and handed over the rubber girdle she had been wearing. Mom decided she was finished with her’s too, so both gave their girdles for the war effort, and they never wore one again!

  6. I was 10 when I sat with my parents and listened to the radio when Pres. Roosevelt gave his speech about the war. It was the year that my baby brother JR was born and also the year that my oldest brother Marshall, 17, went to war. Our parents had to sign for him to go. He was a navigator and a tail gunner on B24 and B17 bombers and was stationed in England. He had to fly 50 missions over Germany. He made it back home in one piece but he was never the same again. He left a sweet kind boy and came back a sad man with a drinking problem. I just recently came across a ration book from those days. You had to have a stamp for gas, sugar, coffee, shoes, tires.etc. The speed limit all over the US was 30 MPH. That would be a problem now – huh?

  7. I was born Dec.7, 1941 which meant my first years in life I was listening to “big band sound” and Roosevelts freside chats on my parents zenith radio, knowing about ration books, and censored letters from my uncle who was in Europe. One of my fondest memories is the warm fall day when he returned wearing his uniform and picking me up for a big hug. There were also the news reels that were shown in the theatre before the main movie feature was shown. No instant war picture then. And I agree they were the “greatest generation” as nobody whined. They just did what they needed to do.

  8. My father was one of the lucky ones in WWII. He shipped out from Pearl Harbor just before it was bombed.
    His squadron left the convoy just before it was captured by the Japanese, and sending many people from our county on the Bataan death march.
    I am blessed to have a box full of letters he wrote to my grandmother while he was in the South Pacific.

  9. My husband, Odos M. Meadows, Jr., was fifteen years old when WWII was declared. His brother was at the University of Alabama. The war was long enough that at age eighteen Odos was drafted into the army to return to Bataan with Gen. Douglas MacArthur. An eighteen year old boy who had to wipe the tears out of his eyes in order to see where to shoot the enemy. He served over one year in the Phillipnes before going to Japan with the American army to occupy this country. We are lucky that he survived and still alive at the age of eighty. God bless America.

  10. I have been collecting stories from all of my cousins who served in some way during WWII. I was born in 1940, so do not remember a lot, but the talk around the house was always there and between that and the mood that was created by the music, the radio news, etc. will always stay with me. My father owned a small neighborhood grocery store, and so our family dealt with the rationing on two levels. We had to have stamps and tokens at the retail level as well as rationing at the wholesale level. There was a ration checking account set up in some way, for the people in business. I found the checks when my parents died, amongst the tokens and other rationing items. My dad used to always tell the story that he went to the ration board to tell them that he had to have an increase in gas stamps or sugar stamps, because he didn’t have enough stamps to get enough of the sugar to last until he had enough gas stamps to pick up some more. In those days you had to pick up a lot of your groceries yourself. Among the shortages were men to drive the trucks.
    Patty Flynn ERickson

  11. If anyone is interested in listening to any of the old radio shows from the 1940s (The shows actuall cover from the late 1930s to the 1970s)you can tune into the website which is wrvo.fm every evening from about 9:00 PM to Midnight Eastern time. You have to click on the link on the top of the website called “Listen In”. On Saturday and Sunday nights the shows start at 8:00 PM and go to midnight Eastern time.

    The hosts of the shows often give very interesting information about the show and the time period. Quite often you will hear a quizz show that will have people who lived during that period be interviewed. This would be wonderful if someone was doing research on one of the people being interviewed and the info could be added to their research. Grocho Marks hosted a show called “You Bet Your Life” where he would often ask the people on the show questions about themselves and this might just be that missing bit of information that a researcher is looking for.

    I have learned quite a bit about the history of that time by listening to the shows. They even play the commercials along with the show. From these commercials I have learned about ration coupons how people would save their your kitchen fat and turn it into their butcher to help with the war effort.
    Thanks for giving me the oportunity to talk about this period.

    John J Reagan, born January 29,1952

  12. To respond to that last one by John J. Reagan, thanks for that tip! My husband and I got XM radio last year and enjoy listening to the 30s/40s station. We love the “Big Band” music but they also report what happend on that day in 19**. A lot of it’s in the war period. Actual news from that day in say 1944 or whatever year they choose that day, and I’ve learned a lot from that. It’s great since I’m collecting family stories from that era and researching all our family veterans. Now I will check out that website.

  13. My wife, Jane, and I were playing bridge with an Army Captain and his wife when the radio announced the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Captain called his office at Fort Eustis and was ordered to base immediately. The entire West Coast was put on alert for fear of invasion.
    Within four months I enlisted and after basic training and Officer Candidate School was commissioned in the Quartermaster Corps just days before Xmas. Within six weeks most of the OCS class was aboard the USS GEORGE W. GOETHALS headed for Oran, Algeria, as replacements. My service took me through Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Naples, Anzio, Rome, Masrseille, Dijon, Epinal, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Geissen, Le Havre and back home on a converted freighter, the ? ? PIKE. I joined the Reserves and finally retired after two more wars and 25 total years of service, the last year and a half in Vietnam. Never had a bad assignment and was never shot at in anger! The WW2 years were spent overseas, so I did not experience the shortages and war support that was going on at home.

  14. I was born March 13, 1941, my baby book tells how scared I was every time the air raid sirens went off. We lived in Venice CA. When my father was drafted, he took us to Nebraska and I lived with my mother and grandparents. My father thought should the mainland of the United States was attacked we would be safer in there. One of the nicest gifts I’ve received lately is my great-grandmother ration book, with her signatuare and description. I was a very young but I do rememeber saving sting, the town folks going to look at the town square (at the city hall) to check the casualty board. The mothers crying either fom the joy of not finding their sons name or the sobbing of when they did. We grew up fast and more compassionate towards our fellow man. God bless our service men where ever they are and God be with them today.
    Lee Taylor-Elliott

  15. I well remember the years of wwII, I went to work at a Aircraft Plant in Ft,Worth, Texas. I worked from 1942 till 1944 . Started at age 17.
    I had two brothers serving as well as the man I married after the war was over.
    Yes I remember the ration books,and I still have mine. I well remember the friends I made and the way we all give our best for the war efforts. I don’t recall anyone complaining about the hard times we at home were having. We were able to come through the gas rationing, And for those of us that loved shoes, we done some trading.
    One thing that makes me laugh when I remember was that pinto beans were rationed. Our USA had pride and we stood behind our leaders and our Men in Service.

  16. Reading the comments brings back many memories. I was 7 years old at the time of Pearl Harbor. My father was too old to be drafted or enlist, but his brother enlisted in the Merchant Marines as the regular service wouldn’t take him as he had flat feet. My father worked in a defense plant building tanks and how proud we were when a new tank was tested. We would go to the testing grounds and watch it run. His cousin’s husband worked there also in the shell making dept. Out of some scraps of metal he made rings for us young girls and a bracelet for my mother and his wife. My daughter now has the ring and I still have the bracelet. We also collected milk weed pods and they were used in filling parachutes when the “silk” in the pods were dry. We took burlap feed bags and scoured the countryside for the pods, then laid them out to dry. When they were dry, they were collected by someone at the school – don’t remember who. We also saved the tin foil lining from a gum wrapper and any other foil we could find. The women of our church and community got together at the Grange Hall and tied quilts to be used by the soldiers. My cousin was in the tank corps and was killed in Africa. I had many cousins in the service, but thankfully only the one was killed. Someone suggested to my mother that she have my sister’s hair cut and donate it to the Air Force as her hair was nearly platinum and could be used in bomb sights, but my sister cried so they didn’t have her hair cut – she was only 2 years old and loved her long curls. It was a scary time and even though we lived in the country every night our shades were pulled and only lights that were necessary were used.

  17. I enjoyed the article, as well as all the comments above. I had just started the First Grade in Tennessee when the attack on Pearl Harbor happened. My father was employed in the Aircraft industry making bombers, so somebody knew we were in for something. Fortunately, our military buildup had already started. If I remember correctly, the Draft was only approved in Congress by about one vote the year before. Street cars and buses were most people’s mode of transportation.

    Note: FDR did delcare war on Japan, but did not delare against Germany. The Germans declared war against US (the next day?) as part of the Triparte Pact they had with Japan and Italy.

  18. My father was born needing a blood transfusion 9 months and 1 day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Needless to say blood was scarce and my father had a rare type. The hospital in Texas had none on hand. My grandfather was in New Guinea with the Red Cross at the time. So my great-aunt and my great-grandmother went down to the local USO and announced that a baby boy whose father was overseas was in need of a blood transfusion, and boy were they overwhelmed with soldiers running to get in line to donate. They found a match. A few years ago when I was going through old photos with my grandmother, we ran across a set of pictures of a soldier gently holding a baby on a front porch. She told me that was the soldier who donated blood and the baby was my father. She still remembered the soldier’s full name.

  19. My personal memories of WWII are non-existent as my birth occurred several months before its end. But having several close kin involved and one of them being killed there were a number of occassions of story-telling going on while growing up. One memory involved a cousin in the Merchant Marines who drowned in his ship after being hit by a torpodeo from a German submarine. The family story, related in a local newspaper, was that his mother dreamed of the incident the night before it happened. Also, we lived on the Texas Gulf Coast where my father worked in an oil refinery. Mom and Dad used to tell me of them being able to hear the explosions of the ships offshore being attacked by submarines, but little of it was currently published because of morale issues. Because he did work in an oil refinery our family was lucky in being able to draw extra ratios for gas and tires, but they still talked of how short they were on all types of consumer goods. I no longer have my Mother and Dad, but I sure have lots of their memories.

  20. I was born in 1941 several months before Pearl Harbor. I remember when I was maybe 2or 3 years old that my father would go out in his Air Raid Warden metal hat, arm band and black stick. I assume he would tap on doors or windows if lights were visable. I also remember blackouts and asking my mother why we had to have the blinds drawn. Another memory is sitting beside the radio with my parents and listening to Roosevelts
    Fireside Chats. My father’s couisn was in the Navy and came to visit in his sailor uniform. As metal was scarce or non existent for toys, I had a tricycle that was found in a junkyard;it had no back wheels so my father and his friend made thick wooden discs for the wheels; I happily rode this
    and didn’t know the difference. At the end of the war I was given the ration books to play with. I still have some that belonged to my grandmother.

  21. My grandmother died during WWII and her homeplace was some distance from where we lived. My father, who worked at a duPont plant that made powder and explosives for the war effort, was able to get a few extra gas stamps. We made one trip to the farm to take whatever items we could get into the car or put on top of the car. I was the spoiled only-child at that time, and threw a fit to take some of my great grandmother’s dresses and bonnets. The cloth of the dresses was spun by great grandmother from wool and flax grown on that farm. I also got my grandmother’s wedding dress. These are now my treasures. All of the items not taken by the family were auctioned off, thus much of my family’s things went to local families. My favorite uncle, who was 17 at the time, was lost at sea, serving in the Navy. I still have the ration books that were issued to me.

  22. My Father in Law, William Albert HINES served in USS Utah in Hawaii prior to the War. His brother, Charles Knight HINES, was sent to the Utah also so William was transferred to the USS Raleigh. The Raleigh was moored at the bow of the Utah. Charles was at the golf course and William was aboard ship when the japs struck. The Raleigh took a torpedo but was kept afloat by transfering fuel and liquid cargo to get the hole above the waterline. The Utah was hit and finally turned keel up where it remains to this day. After the attack Charles returned to find his ship sunk. He was wearing his golfing clothes and shoes since he had no uniforms. He met William on the pier where the Raleigh was being repaired and asked for a uniform. Agreement was the uniform and accessories would be left at the geedunk at the head of the pier and they parted. William went to his ship, got the clothing, and later returned to the geedunk where he left the bag for his brother. They did not see each other again until after the war. While William was over seas his wife gave birth to his only son, William Lee HINES, who contacted TB and died before his father ever saw him. Their Brother in Law served in the Medusa during the attack. Another, Roy Lee, served in the USS Houston and is listed as MIA from that sinking.

  23. A small pennant was hung in a front window of a home where a military person lived. It was made of silk, white with a red border and a blue star, or a gold star if the person had died in battle. The pennant was hung by a gold tassel.

  24. Born in 1925, I have vivid memories of WWII. We did not have a radio, but got the daily Minneapolis paper, which I read thoroughly. I recall the headline of “Lend Lease” and my father commenting on that thatwas the start of WWII. I recall Russia attacking Finland, and Germany going to her aid, and feeling a little proud that Germany was doing something right.(I am 1st generation German-American)As I ssid, we had no radio, so Monday, Dec 8 as I got on the school bus, I found out about attack on Pearl Harbor. Later that morning, all the hight school students met in the assembly hall to hear President Roosevelt announce the declaration of war. Little did we know then how it would affect every bit ofour lives. I remember trading our vegetable and meat stamps (we lived on a farm) for my aunt’s shoe stamps. Gas rationing wasn’t bad, farmers got extra stamps. My cousin was the first one drafted pre-WWII, served nearly 7 years, the first part as camp bugler, and last on front lines in France and didn’t get a scratch. Siux months after he came home he got polio, and needed crutches the rest of his life.

  25. My Dad ( Clyde S.) joined the Army in 1936. He “tested” so well in Boot Camp, he was selected to be placed in Military Intelligence ( you can stop laughing) and Communication. By 1941 he had gain the highest intelligence rating possible not just in the Army, but all services and non-miltary gov’t agencies. During the War he had to wake General Omar Bradley with a message from Ike! Gen. Bradley’s adjent tryed to stop him; however, the “dicussion woke the General. Upon seeing the code for Ike, Gen. Bradley ripped the Full Bird Col. Birds off, and advised the new light Col. his clearence was NOT high enough to read the message. It was the end of hostilies!
    One other brief note. My Dad was aware of the message which FDR received advising him NOT to ( under any circumstance) Have the Fleet gather in Peral Harbor. I believe that has been documented. I don’t believe FDR’s response has been. The gist was We need to get the American public behind this war, and we need something big. Bigger than the sinking of the Lifitana ( spelling is off). They remember all too well our losses in WWI. This peace movement must be stifled.
    Thank You.

  26. I was just a month short of 10 years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed and was at home in Lynwood, CA recuperating from a tonsilectomy. My parents and 3 brothers were at church. When the announcement came over the radio I became very scared because one of the commentators said something like: “the war will be all around the world by tomorrow” (meaning that the U.S. and our allies would declare war on Japan). I took his remarks literally and thought that we would be bombed/invaded by the next day. I called the church and had them get my Mom out of a Sunday School class. No one had heard about the attack yet and she did not even believe me about the attack and tried to reassure me that everything would be okay.

    My Dad worked on the Lynwood Fire Dept. and was also a block warden, so he had a B & C gas rationing sticker. Our car was a little 4 door Willys that got great mileage. In those days folks only had one car and all six of us pretty much went wherever we wanted or needed to on the gas we were alloted. Somewhere in my files I think I have an old rationing book which I can dig out if anyone is interested.

  27. No one on this site has commented on the air raid we had in Southern California in Feb 1942 including (as far as I can recollect) any admission by the U.S. Govt that it actually happened, but I was there and at 10 years old, know what I saw. My Mom was keeping a daily diary during 1942 and 1943 and here is what she wrote in it on 2/25/42: “Wow! Things really happened in the wee small hours of this morning. I heard the telephone ringing and after getting lost in my own house – couldn’t find a light switch, finally got to the phone. It was Turner to tell me that Jap planes were coming and to look out the window. Just then I heard the boom-boom of guns and I was scared – thought it was bombs, but Turner reassured me that it was our anti-aircraft guns. We stopped talking and I watched out the windows – could see planes in the light of the searchlights and I thought I saw about 3 planes. Roger woke up first and was frightened & then Robert woke up and was frightened too, so I tried to be calm and told them what it was, but not to worry. They looked out the window and saw the flashes from the guns and then both wanted to get back in bed. They both got in my bed, but I stayed up and watched. It was wonderful & terrible. Really was a marvelous display tho, searchlights, shells bursting, etc. I saw red flares of some kind in the sky & found out later it was signals to the Japs. Finally things seemed to quiet down so I went to bed, but soon the guns started again & I got up & went out in the front yard & watched. Planes seemed to be flying very slow. Talked to Mr & Mrs Koepke next door. He did not believe it was the real thing, but a fake put on by the Army. Reports were that the planes came in first at Redondo Beach, headed for L.A. Municipal Airport, but were turned back by anti-aircraft & then tried to come in further south & east. The alarm was sounded at 2:25 A.M., planes appearing immediately, raid ended at 3 A.M., blackout remained on until 7:21 A.M. ….. Couldn’t get much done all day, as all the neighbors came around to talk it over. Tonight, I got things all lined up in case of another raid. An alert was given, which remained on all night, but nothing happened.”

    On 2/26/42 she wrote: “Everyone still talking and speculating on the air raid. Secretary of the Navy Knox, in Washington, issued a statement that there had been no planes. Everyone indignant over that. Secretary of War Stinson stated there were about 15.”

    Mom also has comments in her diary about the night that FDR was giving a fireside chat and a Japanese two-man submarine came up on the coast north of Santa Barbara and tried to shell the oil fields (at Goleta?) There were unconfirmed stories that at least one plane was shot down on 2/25 and that an area was roped off down around Torrance where some debris had landed. I would be interested if someone else saw/heard what I did on 2/25/42 and could post their comments on this site.

  28. I was born in 1937 and have many memories of WWII. I lived with my grandparents and parents in New Jersey. My father was not in the service because he could not pass the physical. I remember ration books and gas stamps, we had an “A” gas stamp. I remember my grandmother blending some type of white crisco and yellow coloring to make margarine. My mother and grandmother sewed for the Red Cross, and local meetings were held in our home with neighborhood ladies sitting around the dining room table sewing for the soldiers, boxing kits to send overseas and also small vestments for the Catholic chaplins in the European theater. We spent the summers at our bungalow at the Jersey shore and there were many scares about German U-boats which roamed close to shore. Many nights we had blackouts with air raid wardens patroling the roads to make sure your blackout shades were pulled down tightly and searchlights filled the skies. Many times oil washed up on the beaches and one morning a Wonder Bread wrapper floated up on the beach together with items which had come from a foreign boat scaring everyone in our seashore town. Service flags were hung from many living room windows and letters from the soldiers were shared with neighbors. At the beginning of the war we had English relatives who were going to send their two young children over to us to escape the bombing in England, but decision to come was made too late and the Atlantic was then too dangerous for the crossing. Times were tough, but everyone pulled together and neighborhoods were more like families. Everyone shared and cared!

  29. I was born exactly 40 days before the attack on Pearl Harbor and, obviously, do not remember anything from that time period. I do, however, remember an uncle whose Coast Guard cutter was sunk off the coast of North Carolina by a German U-Boat. He and some shipmates were lost at sea for about 10 days. When he came home after discharge he brought his sea trunk and the entire bottom was covered with pennies he had saved. In 1945 a penny meant something but he opened it up to all the family kids and let us take what we wanted. I remember us raising chickens and goats, grew everything we needed (except flour and sugar), fished and smoked hams, bacon, fish in the smokehouse. It was a time of sacrifice but also a time of self-sufficiency; Americans took care of themselves and their families without government handouts.

  30. To give a little personal perspective on the USO:

    In the early 1940s, My grandmother and two of her sisters were young and single, working secretarial jobs by day, and dancing with eligible soldiers at the USO by night. Two of these ladies met and married soldiers they had met there. Their mother, a first generation Italian American with a jovial disposition, had her girls bring many servicemen home so she could cook spaghetti and meatballs for them. Though she was very heavy-set, she danced with them in her living room and let them sit on her lap. It was Grandma Taylor’s personal contribution to the war effort!

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  32. Does anyone know for a fact, that Baptisms for the Sunday of December 14th, 1941 were the largest number in US History? I have been told that. My husband, born Aug. 1941, WAS baptized on that day. His father joined the Merchant Marines, stationed in the Pacific directly after Dec. 14th.

    My own father, rejected from serving in the Military due to flat feet, hauled milk from the CA valley, to the ships that were harbored in SF bay area, twice a day for the duration of the war.

  33. i think my brother was in pearl harbor when it was bombed but he was in the hospital. i wish i knew how to find out for sure.
    his name was joe/joseph blanchard from louisiana.
    would love some info on this.
    thanks
    joann

  34. I was born in 1931 & I remember, even before we got into WWII being scared by Walter Winchell & Lowell Thomas. My sister’s & my bedroom was next to the room where the radio was & we could hear them talking about the war in Europe. Walter Winchell, especially, had a very loud staccato voice when he delivered the news. I do remember December 7, 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. (If you have never been there it is quite a moving experience) I don’t think anyone has mentioned silk stockings being rationed. We had to make do with rayon ones (baggy) when we could get them.
    My folks raised chickens, as I guess eggs were rationed, too. We lived in the city & being inexperienced at raising chickens they were always getting out & more than one neighbor had a Sunday chicken dinner on us. We found eggs in the woods next to where we lived! It was a time when everyone pulled together & people were more polite & kinder.My Dad couldn’t get into the service but he did work on the Manhattan Project.

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