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Broehm, Barbara / World War II through the eyes of Manitowoc's homefront youth
(December 2000)

World War II through the eyes of Manitowoc's homefront youth,   pp. [1]-30


Page 25

Broehm 25 
stockings had seams in those days.''95 If the word got out that a store would
be getting a 
shipment of stockings, women would stand in line for hours in hopes to get
just one 
pair!"96 Bea reflects, "I think rationing will remain with those
of my generation for the 
rest of our lives."97 
There was also a shortage of farm help during the war. During the war, 
Manitowoc Country farmers increased their production of hay, oats, wheat
rye, and corn. 
Local canneries accelerated their production of peas, with 3,780 acres converted
to pea 
growing by 1944.98 However, with so many young men off fighting the war,
farmers had 
difficulty finding enough workers to harvest the crops. A twelve-year-old
homefront boy 
worked for Lakeside Packing. "I lifted big crates of peas, put them
on the scales to weigh 
then the trucks would haul the peas to the canning factory." He laughs,
"You know 
after the war . . they wouldn't let me work... I wasn't old enough, I had
to be sixteen... 
yet during the war I could work there when I was only twelve!"99 Another
homefront 
boys claims that they had German POWs come out to their farm and help harvest
crops. 
Since his dad could speak German he would converse with the prisoners. He
said, "One 
day my dad asked the prisoners what they were going to eat for lunch. They
showed him 
a lard sandwich. "My dad threw the sandwich on the ground.. .our dog
came and 
sniffed it, but he wouldn't even eat it!" Then, he said his dad invited
these German 
95 Audrey Nickels, interview by Barbara Broehm. 
96 Betty Wilsman, interview by Barbara Broehm. 
97 Bea Buss, interview by Barbara Broehm. 
98 Ellen Langill, Manitowoc County: A Beacon on the Lakeshore (Milwaukee:
Milwaukee 
Publishing Group: 1999), 115. 
9 Howard Schmill, interview by Barbara Broehm. 


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