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We Were at War

Sidney Drabkin

Posted on June 5, 2019 17:06

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Friday night you bought war bonds to see a movie.

We hear stories about our soldiers going to the Second World War, but how about the children in the United States who were born in the late thirties and early forties?

According to many people who I talked to who remember those days, pineapples, gas and tuna were hard to get. There was gas rationing for your car (you were issued gas stamps that told you when you could buy gas), and we collected cooking oil in containers to give to the butcher.

There were no new cars to ride in. Any car before 1940 was considered a modern car—they stopped making cars when the war broke out. Everything went towards the war effort.

We found roller skate parts in a bag, put the parts together and made skates for each foot. This was one of the toys we used every day, after we got home from school and finished with our homework. 

The leftover parts were used to make a scooter. We also had two-wheel bicycles that our parents had kept from the thirties, and we used those almost every day. 

The biggest thrill that we always waited for happened on Saturdays — we went to the movies. when we watched the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. On some Friday and Saturday nights we bought war bonds in order to see a movie.  

At the end of the day we listened to the news on the radio just before dinner was served. My brother, my father and I gathered around the kitchen table and listened to the daily news while my mother brought dinner to the table — there was no television. 

We had to limit our traveling to a road trip to San Francisco because of the rationed gas. There were stops along the way — Oakdale, Manteca and Tracy.

Between each town there were no gas stations or restaurants to eat at. In Tracy, California there was a restaurant that we always stopped at because it was half way to San Francisco. 

Of course, the children in the United States had it easy compared to what was going on in Europe and the South Pacific.

“Never again!” was the 1941 children’s call. Politicians should use it today. 

Sidney Drabkin

Posted on June 5, 2019 17:06

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