Herald JournalWinsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Sept. 16, 2002

A day of shopping in WW II

By Joe Kieser

This is a true story that recounts a typical day of shopping during the early 1940s.

Before leaving for town, it was necessary to make out a list of things to get and do. Groceries, shoes, farm, and home supplies were all on the list.

The first stop was to deliver the milk to the creamery. Harry, Dave, Leo, Marcel, and Herman all knew who the cans marked XII belonged to. We got our weight receipt, and picked up three cans of skim milk and a pail of whey for the hogs.

Ben welcomed us into the grocery store. I had trouble walking because my sister had broken my big toe when she pushed me too high on the rope swing. Ben carried me in and gave me a big ice cream cone.

(Someday I need to put on my list of things to do ­ forgive sister or see an attorney . . . Roger, does the statue of limitations ever run out on such an evil deed?)

We set the wooden 15-dozen case of eggs on his counter, and Dad handed him the grocery list and told him that we would return shortly.

The next stop was probably not on the list. Martin already had the table set with a brass spittoon at each corner. Already waiting to play were Fitsy-Fahtsy, Strawberry, and Goo-Goo. (Is it possible that they had this all planned when they played cards yesterday?)

They were all on a very tight schedule, so they only had enough time for one quick game of 500. Soon the juices were flowing and they would knock the table with the card that took that all-important trick.

Three hours later, it was time to pick up the groceries. We paid the extra money and headed around the bank corner to our next destination.

John was sitting at his desk full of catalogs. "By dummit, my gutters were full of water again this morning." We got the new washer for the drinking cups and and a few extra supplies.

Mr. Grewe just smiled when my dad asked him if he could add a few more patches to his shoes. We had used all our coupons for new shoes for the kids. Dad hoped that the rationing would end soon.

Afternoon news reels were running at the theatre. We watched intently for some good news from the war front. Mom was troubled by the fact that we were fighting against the same families that she had left behind in 1913.

Freda and Clara waved to us as we walked by their store front. Mom would come along later and buy school clothes on our next trip to town.

"Hennnrrreee, can you help this young man?" Helen was waiting by her sometimes cluttered desk. Dad told Henry that our "Twin City" did not run properly when we switched it from gasoline over to kerosene. We got a new valve and some new spark plugs.

Our shopping was complete and it only took us five hours.


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