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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
             Tuesday, May 25 2004  

Out of the past
Country at war - rationing

Today's feature is taken from the December 28, 1942, issue of Newsweek magazine. Although nothing is mentioned in the article about what is frequently referred to as "Home Page Country," many in the reading audience will relate to rationing and remember it as a daily occurrence in their lives as children growing up in the Blacklick Valley area during World War II. As with all features on the Home Page, your feedback is welcome. So let's take a stroll down memory lane...shall we?
World War II food rationing stamps.

Rationing

Gasoline: With numbing suddenness, the Office of Price Administration on December 18 shut off gasoline sales to 7.000.000 Eastern motorists holding A, B, and C ration books. The order, issued at 10:40 a.m., was brief: "Until further notice, as of 12:01 p.m. today, all retail sellers of gasoline in filling stations in the District of Columbia and the seventeen Eastern States of District 1 are forbidden to honor gas-ration coupons except T coupons for commercial vehicles, or one coupon of any class for emergency use." At a press conference, President Roosevelt explained the sales shutdown as caused by a hurry-up order for gasoline from the military forces in North Africa. The order could be filled faster, he said, by shipping motor fuel directly from the East Coast rather than from Texas.

Fuel Oil: More alarming to house-holders than gasoline shortages was the rock-bottom level of fuel-oil supplies. Philadelphia, where oil stocks hit a twenty-year low and were continuing to drop, was not far from typical scattered areas from New England to the Northwest. On December 18, 200 of the Quaker City's office buildings caused tenants to quake in earnest with announcement that heat would be turned off daily at 4:00p.m. because of dwindling fuel oil supplies. The Gallup poll set out to learn how the people were observing the 65-degree ceiling on heat. The answer: they were not. Of householders who burn oil, 7% said they were keeping room temperatures under 65 degrees, 25% were maintaining 65 degrees, and 68% were exceeding 65 degrees. Of those burning coal, 17% stayed under 65, 11% at 65, and 72% over 65.

Food Shortages: The average family's food bill had gone up 1.2% in a month, 16% in a year, and 40% since the invasion of Poland. It was certain that the United States would continue to be the best-fed nation, but the shortages of meat, eggs, butter, and milk grew more severe by the day. Farmers had Washington's word for it that items as bleached celery, iceberg lettuce, and artichokes were unnecessary, and probably out for the duration as far as claims on fertilizers, machinery, and transportation were concerned. There was, however, one "Merry Christmas" greeting for housewives in an OPA December 17. Meat packers were authorized to begin deliveries of their 1943 quotas as of December 20...twelve days ahead of time, in order to avert local shortages over the holiday season. But the unhappy New Year payoff was scheduled after January 1: Reductions in civilian quotas for pork, lamb, and veal for the first three months of the year. The curtailment, about five ounces per capita, will cut the weekly allotment from two and a half pounds to about thirty-five ounces.

Thus the home front marked the first month of the second year of war. The American standard of living had been nipped in many places, but heretofore not seriously hurt. Now, no one could say today what a ration coupon would bring tomorrow. The war called for more manpower, more materials, more efforts, and more dollars. It was the price of victory.


If you have a suggestion for a subject for Where Are They Now, On Their Way, or "Mom and Pop Businesses," please write Judy Rose. Click here for an index of previous Where Are They Now profiles.

Less-known proverbs

On the other hand, you have different fingers.

Sent by Mary Ann Losiewicz 

Thought for today

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.

Lily Tomlin
Sent by Trudy Myers 

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