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My sister-in-law brought a box of photographs and other memorabilia to my husband’s family get-together—siblings and spouses.

There were old photographs of my mother-in-law and her mother; my father-in-law being honored for his years as a local physician. School day photos—the ones where the greasy haired photographer took school photos and offered each of us a comb after he combed it through his hair. We were supposed to share all those photos with our ‘friends’ at school and probably send off a few to distant aunts.

But the most interesting item was a set of ration books. These were issued during World War II.

My grandmother operated the local canning machine to can fruit and vegetables; some to send to the troops, some for the local. My aunt married and her wedding cake was only a few inches tall–more like a large cupcake as they did not have enough rations to buy sugar for a larger one.

It seems like it was a different time with people more willing to sacrifice.

But that is looking back—and undoubtedly there were people who cheated and complained—but isn’t it nice to think that attitude is possible and wish it would be so now.

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  1. I have some ration books in my family ephemera. I was looking more closely at them not long ago and realized for the first time that not just my parents, but each child they had at that time had their own ration books. I guess I always assumed it was one book for the entire family. I was also surprised at some of the information on them about each person (physical descriptions) that one wouldn’t think was relevant to a ration book. Then again, I suppose photo IDs weren’t common. I remember mom telling the story of how my dad was transferred from the mine in Lead SD to work in ones in the Wallace ID area, his mining skills deemed more valuable than drafting him into military service, and that they had to get extra ration cards (or stamps?) to buy new tires for the car in order to make the trip. Nowadays people would just start complaining about their right to this or that being taken away probably. “Patriotism” sure has a different ring to it. But I am sure you are right that not all followed the rules or followed them without complaining.

    October 10, 2021

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