A few weeks ago, another piece of the puzzle fell into my hands. In a bin of mixed goods at a second-hand store, I found some old Office of Price Administration WWII booklets.
It seems that no one who was there that day knew, or cared, what these were. They were on a table that contained such things as old remote controls, toys, curling irons, greeting cards (scattered from the broken rubber band that once held them together), rusted muffin tins, and holiday decorations. That they remained together and were not ripped and destroyed is a joy in itself.
The booklets are each for a woman, man, and 2 ½ year old child. My mother explained that you would register each member of the household for ration stamps. I’ve looked through them several times, trying to imagine the lady of the house as she carefully decided what was needed for meals and how to get the most from her allotment. There are separate stamps for coffee and sugar, the most rare foodstuffs during that time.
The value of these pieces of paper is not great. They are available at online auctions for a few dollars. But when I hold them I get that wistful feeling, like Eddie Albert’s character on Green Acres as he waxed poetic about planting a seed and watching it grow. We may go through hard times for the next few years as we adjust to the “new economy”, but I hope we never have to live through the shortages that our ancestors knew.
My mother pointed out the notice on the back of the booklets. She remembered saving used cooking fats, and getting a few cents for it at the butchershop. This was a valuable commodity that would be used for the war effort.
Today grease is tossed out in the trash. I’m constantly amazed at what a wasteful society we have now become…..