June 09-02

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2002: June: June 09-02
Memories of wartime    ...scroll down to share comments
Images courtesy of Jerry Cobb
Instructions    ...scroll down to share comments
Images courtesy of Jerry Cobb
Sample stamps    ...scroll down to share comments
Images courtesy of Jerry Cobb

Charlie at Pasty Central on Sunday, June 9, 2002 - 09:50 am:

In 1943 the U.S. was still reeling from Pearl Harbor, a year and a half earlier. Troops were committed on all fronts, and the folks at home were committed to supporting them.

How times have changed. But some things remain the same: War is still with us, lives still at risk, and we all want the conflicts to end. As flag day approaches this week, we remember not only those served on the battle lines, but those at home whose prayers, sacrifice and support helped bring them home.

I wonder if any of our regular Pasty Cam visitors recall life in the Copper Country during WWII?

From the 40's

By WhiskeyCreek on Sunday, June 9, 2002 - 01:55 pm:

I did not live in the the UP during the 40's but I do recall that my Grandparents maintained about 12 hives of honey bees and were given a special ration of sugar to feed them, while our rather large family could not legally obtain sugar for canning and making jelly. The bees never missed the sugar though and we still had jelly for our homemade breads at meal time.

By patron, Vancouver WA on Sunday, June 9, 2002 - 02:28 pm:

Wow, what a flood of memories were conjured up after seeing these pictures. Those stamps were treated like gold in our household. I remember going to the store as a young girl clutching them in my hand, with my Mother's words ringing in my ears..."whatever you do, dont lose these!!!" Does anyone remember the red tokens we got back as "change" from these stamps. The store we shopped at would give us a special treat once a week when the grocery bill was paid. The owner would bring out a sheet cake from the back room, and give us a little sliver of plain white cake with a little icing on it. I can still remember the taste, and what a TREAT that was. We couldnt bake at home because sugar and flour were rationed so the troops could eat. Those were really vivid times, and trying times, but we survived it, and we all thought we were doing our patriotic duty, and were proud of it. Can you imagine if that were to happen today...what outrage there would be if people were denied their right to buy meat, butter and sugar. Riots would break out for sure.

By patron, Vancouver WA on Sunday, June 9, 2002 - 02:37 pm:

Butch, I know you read these daily cam notes. Do you remember the ration stamps? They were different colors. We had one book for meat and I think the stamps were red...another book for sugar and one for butter. The only one with color that I vividly remember was the red for meat...that was the most precious one. Back then, everyone ate their meat and potato meal daily. We were lost without meat. Butch, just though t I would try to jog your memory banks a little.

By Janet on Sunday, June 9, 2002 - 05:36 pm:

I was a young girl in Laurium then. We saved grease (rendered from cooking), I took ours to the grocery store meat dept, maybe they paid me a few cents for this. I asked why and was told this went to make explosives for the war effort. We saved cans, remember rinsing and flattening cans ? The silvery wrapper from chewing gum were saved along with string ! Also newspapers ! In school we used every single part of each piece of paper, both sides and practiced the 'Palmer Method' around the margins !! Does anyone remember the recipe for sugar-less, butter-less, egg-less cakes ? All I knew were very patriotic and obeyed it all. We had a great Civil Defense Corp, black-out curtains were used when a 'drill' was announced. Alot of memories. . . . .

By Beverly, Mississippi on Sunday, June 9, 2002 - 05:55 pm:

In Scott County, Mississippi during WWII, there was apparently a lot of stealing of gas, also a rationed item. One day my mother-in-law went with her mother and sister to the store in her mother's car. They left her sister's car at the house. They returned to find her dad, who had been mowing grass, trying to syphon gas from her sister's car. They all laughed except Lon who declared that Betty Jean didn't have enough gas to syphon. Years later, during the Eisenhauer administration, things were pretty tough too. Ms. Dot always refers to that time as "when Eisenhauer made rabbit taste good".

By patron, Vancouver WA on Sunday, June 9, 2002 - 06:28 pm:

Janet, I forgot about saving the silvery wrapping from chewing gum and cigarette packs...used to roll it in a big ball and mailed it to the government. We had a lot of competition as to who rolled the biggest silver ball. Those were quite the times, weren't they? I also remember the cans and the blackout curtains. When I think back on all of this, I dont remember anyone feeling resentment or anything like that towards the war efforts...seemed everyone wanted to do anything they could to help. Times have sure changed.

By patron, Vancouver WA on Sunday, June 9, 2002 - 06:30 pm:

P.S. I forgot to mention, I lived in the Baltic/South Range area when this was going on in the early 40's.

By Catherine Holland, MI on Sunday, June 9, 2002 - 10:03 pm:

My grandparents had a Victory Garden where the Houghton mall is now and once the family moved from Houghton to Boston Location as it was cheaper to do that rather than buy new shoes for my mom. Hers were wearing out too fast on the pavement in town. I guess she liked to jump rope too much!

By Ken from da UP on Sunday, June 9, 2002 - 10:26 pm:

We moved up to the Copper Country in the fall of 1944. We had lived in Detroit, and I remember the different colored tokens and stamps. I was only 4 then but I remember flattening the tin cans for Mom and Dad. The gum wrappers tinfoil and the toothpaste tubes were all recycled. I got a wind-up train and tracks for a birthday present and I even took the metal from the engine and cars to flatten out for the war. I was proud of doing my part. :o) I too remember the black-out curtains and being afraid during those drills. Mom had a little box years later with a few leftover stamps and tokens. What memories, huh?

By Rose - Channahon, IL on Sunday, June 9, 2002 - 11:30 pm:

Seeing the ration book reminded me that I have a similar one too from my parents along with a couple of the red tokens. I was a small child at that time and my only memory is that my uncle used to send me his package of Dentyne gum because we couldn't get any gum during those times. I still have a photo of him upon which he wrote to me "Hi honey, have a chew on the house!"
I also dimly remember seeing troop trains go by on the Rock Island RR which ran behind our house in Midlothian, IL.

By Martha K., Pinckney, MI on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 01:48 am:

I still have my mother's "Wartime Recipes" cookbook with it's recipes for strange cuts of meat and unusual vegetables which most women were unfamiliar with. It had a section on hearty sandwich fillings for lunches for defense workers on odd shifts and recipes for sweets made with honey or molasses. The running heads on the pages were all exhortations to do your part for the war effort and keep your family healthy and strong. The most chilling section was the one that gave instructions on what to put into a baby basket so you'd be ready at a moment's notice to take your baby to the bomb shelter. "Make sure you have strong straps in the basket so your baby stays safely inside as you run."
My dad was in the CCC near Seney and many of the guys in his unit enlisted or were drafted. Their experiences in the CCC made it easier for them to adjust to military life.

By Beverly,Michigan. on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 07:39 am:

I too recall the days when we rolled the foil from gum wrappers into a little ball to sell. I wasn't four years old yet and we were living in Detroit. There was a man who came through the alley riding in a large wagon drawn by a horse. The wagon resembled a circus wagon and was filled with all kinds of 'junque' and all sorts of things hung from the outside also. He had a regular schedule he followed and we children couldn't wait for him to come. We called him,
the 'Sheeney' (phonetic spelling there). I 'helped' mother flatten cans and ate from our victory garden also. My father and uncles worked in the Ford 'bomber' plant in Detroit. Ah, such memories!

By PSmith, Sumter,SC on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 07:48 am:

How about the gas and tire rationing? Gas rationing practically eliminated any night life for the young people during WW II, especially those of us who lived in small towns. I believe the basic "A" sticker allowed a perosn to purchase three gallons of gas per week. The B and C stickers were issued based on the legitimate need of the individual such as driving to and from work, doctor, salesman, etc.. My father let me use the car one night in my senior year of high school before being drafted into the army. We survived, but how would we do it today in our highly mobile society?
Keep up the good work Mr Hopper. I hope to get back to the Copper Country for a visit this fall.

By Carol, IN on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 08:55 am:

I don't remember rationing or the war, but we still flatten cans.

By Jeff Laitila, Japan on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 09:07 am:


After reading through all of these heartfelt message postings I now understand why yours was classified as "The Greatest Generation." Makes me proud to be an American.

Kind of strange how the world works. Here it is, only 60 years later and I am now living "behind enemy lines" here in Japan.

It's good to know that times can change, people can change, and things can get better. Thanks to all those that came before me, and sacrificed to make this world a better place.



By Brion, Wisconsin on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 09:41 am:

If I have been told correctly my grandfather, Alfred Beauchene, drove the ambulance from the lower picture for the mining company in Calumet. He was also the Chief for the C&H fire department for many years. Thank you for a great web site. Although I did not grow up there, I spent a great deal of time up there with my grandparents. We all miss them very much. Thanks again.

From the 40's

Toivo from Toivola on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 10:27 am:

Did anybody else notice the Sunday Freep yesterday? From the Tech section:


Detroit Free Press columnists Heather Newman and Mike Wendland will honor Michigan's best web sites July 15 in a special edition...

To be considered, a site must either be produced in Michigan or focus mostly on Michigan places, people or history.

Send your suggestion in a short e-mail to tech@freepress.com
A good chance for Cam-watchers to cast a vote of support for pasty.com !

Editor's note: Thanks, Toivo, but we should let our visitors know the deadline for nominations was June 23
By Alice from Alaska on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 10:47 am:

Here are some OPA (Office of Price Administration, I think) Red 1 Point Tokens, larger than life size.


Janet on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 12:55 pm:

Its so wonderful to see that I am not alone in recalling these old memories of surviving rationing and all that stuff :-) Thanks for the comments from others! Agree that things are SO different these days, always wonder if the younger kids would be able to 'pull in the belt' a bit and save. Am sure they would tho they don't realize this !!! By the way, I took the cans and papers to a place in Laurium (was in a home) and he was known as the "Sheenie" (sp) there too. Often wondered just what this term meant. The mental pix of the sheenie coming thru your alley is neat - am sure I wouldv'e been anxious to greet him too :-)

By YooperFinn MI on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 01:58 pm:

WOW! We sure enjoyed reading all the comments here about the war ration days. Very interesting!And I am going to send my vote in to support our beloved pasty.com :)

By Ken from da UP on Tuesday, June 11, 2002 - 10:55 pm:

Hei, Toivo, Kiitos for the Freep note. I voted for Charlie and the pastycam, you betcha!!

By Mary -Lake Linden on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 - 11:56 am:

I just cast my vote also, for pasty.com. Please everyone, take the time to send your email vote too!

By Alice, Ventura on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 - 11:47 pm:

My vote is in also. Thanks for all the memories of the ration books, wartime memories. Our family moved from Houghton to Detroit so my dad could work in the factory (Timken Axle) too.

Do you also remember the wagons/trucks that came by with produce? ...the bakery truck, Good Humor man? We also had a big, big truck that came by, and you actually went inside to purchase. I just remember buying candy, but it may have sold other stuff as well. Then there was the Fuller Brush man.

By Sharon, California on Sunday, June 16, 2002 - 11:36 pm:

I grew up in Detroit and my mother worked in a little room with chicken wire sides, counting the tokens from rationing when I was very young. She took me there a few times with her. I remember thinking she had a very important job!

By Library Ann on Monday, June 17, 2002 - 10:15 am:

Janet's post last Monday mentioned that she often wondered what "Sheenie" meant.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, "sheeny" is "Slang. A Jew. Now only as a term of vulgar abuse."

By Jean, SC on Thursday, January 2, 2003 - 11:59 pm:

In 1943, I was five years of age and I don't recall much about the war. But those sirens and blackouts are vivid in my mind. I also remember the stamps in the rations book and the tokens.
One night my Mother was taking a bath when the sirens began to sound. She did not turn the light off and I was afraid she would be hauled off to jail for not doing so. No one discovered her indiscretion, no bombs fell on our house and I survived the war.

By Lisa, Chicago, IL on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 11:08 pm:

Hello, I am too young to have lived throught the war but am trying to do some research on civil defense corps during WWII. If anyone has some stories to tell or pictures to show, I would love to know.

By J on Sunday, December 7, 2003 - 02:26 pm:

I think it would do us all a world of good to spend just one day with rations, black out curtains, no sugar etc. I feel we are so spoiled as Americans and especially the younger generation, we forget the sacrifices made in the past so that we can live such free lives. Those ration days were before my time but I can only imagine what it must have been like, my parents love to tell stories of those days. Today we can't stand to be inconvenienced in any way, myself included. We should all be very grateful for those who have given their lives so that we can live in a free country, amen.

By danbury; germany on Sunday, December 7, 2003 - 05:31 pm:

Indeed, J. All you have to do is go to a place where children die because there is not enough food, water, healthcare, etc. And then try to live like that. I know I couldn't, and I'm glad I don't have to live on rations.
And unfortunately, not all want the conflicts to end. There are those that see violence as the only possible solution for their problems, those that were never allowed to learn there are other ways, and then, war is big business. I don't want to know how much money there is to be made out of your country's military budget, and I don't want to know either how much money companies in my country make with selling weapons, no matter to whom.
I just know I want the latter to change. The first, too. But that's your responsibility.

Just an afterthought: There is a programm by misereor (catholic organization, don't know about the US) to help children in ethopia, to provide food, healthcare and education.
To participate, it takes staggering amounts of money.
About two bucks.
A month.

By Apryl, Michigan on Saturday, May 7, 2005 - 12:58 pm:

I did not live during these times, but I am doing a research paper for my 8th grade English Class. When doing my research, I found out lots of interesting information. Infact, I think this is the 'funnest' paper I wrote (yes, I am shocked that its true, too!)

But anyways , I found out that there was at least eight gasoline ratioing stickers in the US. They were A, B, C, D, E, R, T (I also saw that it was called TT) and the X sticker.

The A sticker was for only pleasure trips, given to most people who owned a car

The B sticker was for either people who helped out for the war or people who had a job that was close by, but to far to walk everyday (I'm not to sure which)

The C sticker was for people who had to use a car for there job (like a mail person, doctor, ect.)

The D sticker was for motocycles

The E and the R stickers were for non-highway vheicals (I'm not to clear on what that exatly means...)

The T (or TT) sticker was for Truckers

And the X sticker was for congressmen or VIP people (know I have no idea how you got to be a VIP person)

I also found out that the black market was a major thing during rationing times.

So yeah, thats all I can think of right now. E-mail me if you have anything to say about what I just wrote. Thanks for reading!

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