Growing Up During World War II

When President Roosevelt gave his radio message about the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor, I listened with my family. I was 8 years old and lived with my father, mother, and sister in Los Angeles.

We had black-out curtains on our windows, and an inner room (hall) where we could have a small light and we had a stash of food and board games to play. 

There were air raids--at night all lights had to be out including headlight on cars. If you were driving during an air raid it was quite an adventure--at least we kids thought so.

Food and gas were rationed. My father rode his bike a long, long way to work to save gas stamps so we could go on vacation in the summer. 

We had air raid drills at school--no under the desks, but on the first floor of our two story brick building. (Not safe at all.)

Our family went to the movies nearly nearly every Friday night, watched all the war movies and horrible news reels--which got worse and worse as the war came closer to the end. There were also some great spirit lifting musicals too.

Movies about British families sending their children to safer places to live gave me a great story to tell. (Made things up back then too.) I told everyone at school that my sister was really a child from England who was sent to live with us. My poor sister was probably the only one who thought it might be true. (Margaret O'Brien starred in a movie about this and my sister looked a lot like her at the time, may be what prompted me to make this story up.)

(Not sure this is really the right movie, but my sister definitely looked a lot like Margaret O'Brien does here.)

You couldn't buy bubble gum--a great tragedy for me. I once paid fifty cents for one piece.

Mom had a victory garden but it didn't do well. Our school had a great garden that all the kids helped with.

Yes, we had that icky margarine with a yellow capsule that you had to squeeze to make the mess look like butter.

My dad tried to enlist but they wouldn't take him because he had flat feet. So he donated blood--way too often, and he put on weight lifting shows at various USOs and other venues for the troops.

I truly thought if we were invaded, I'd become a spy. A friend and I made all kinds of poisons to use on the enemy--mixed together all sorts of things we found in her dirt cellar.

The block warden had meetings for the adults rather frequently. Great fun for all the kids, we'd play hide 'n go seek and other games while the grown-ups learned First Aid and whatever the government though people should know how to do during times of war.

Those are the primary things I remember.

I was at the zoo with my junior high class when the end of the war was announced over the loud speaker system. 

I have no idea what brought back these memories, except my husband loves to watch WW II movies.



Lorna Collins - said…
My mother always talked about the 'oleomargarine' she had to color with food coloring. She hated it and only ate real butter for the rest of her life.
Thonie Hevron said…
Ditto what Lorna said. Sometimes I wonder if my kids will ever understand the Cold War drills, bomb shelters and life without computers. Nah!

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