December 7–“a day that will live in infamy.” I was 8 years old at the time and lived in Washington, D.C. I was with my parents for a Sunday drive in our Oldsmobile when news of the bombing interrupted the radio broadcast. I had no idea what it meant, but I remember how very somber my parents were. I had never seen them that way before.
Wartime brought shortages and rationing that limited sugar, coffee, meat, butter, cheese, tires, and gasoline. Daddy planted a victory garden that kept our family and neighbors supplied with fresh vegetables each summer. “Can All You Can” was the wartime slogan and we did. Mama lined our basement shelves with jars of tomatoes, green beans, beets, sauerkraut, pickles and chowchow—enough to see us through another Thirty Year War.
Meatless Tuesday became a regular part of our wartime menus. We made do with three gallons of gas per week, unless Daddy was able to trade sugar stamps for fuel stamps. Butter was replaced with the new oleomargarine that, at the time, looked and tasted much like lard. For those who found it disgusting to spread on toast, the ugly lump came with a packet of yellow coloring to improve it’s appearance.