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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 23

Broehm 23 
any ten-year-old boy who wants to spend a summer evening weeding vegetables?
We 
also grew such things as Swiss chard and kohlrabi because of the seed shortage."88
Susan 
remarked, "Even Mrs. Oscar Ritcher had a Victory Garden behind her house,
and she's 
one of the wealthiest individuals in Manitowoc!" She emphasizes, "There
was such a 
unity of spirit for the war effort... By growing our own vegetables more
food was 
available for our troops."89 
Another form of children's homefront involvement was government rationing.
In 
January 1942 President Roosevelt signed an act establishing the Office of
Price 
Administration (OPA). Later that year, the OPA issued the first war ration
books 
providing coupons for sugar, then coffee and gasoline. The OPA instituted
point 
rationing in early 1943, with meat, fats and oils, butter, cheese, and processed
foods. 
Later it added shoes. Local rationing boards set quota, allocating coupons
for each 
family. 
The superintendent of Schools in Manitowoc was the overall chairman for 
rationing, recalls a Manitowoc teenager. "Those of us who were seniors
at Lincoln went 
out to the different places where rationing books were issued and we were
the issuing 
agents of the ration books." We did this for the Spring semester for
one Social Studies 
class, and people were to declare the amount of canned goods and sugar they
had on 
hand. The agents were suppose to rip out the corresponding number of stamps
from the 
H8 Harlan Demsien, interview by Barbara Broehm. 
89 Susan Dick, interview by Barbara Broehm. 


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