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The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

Four days in with our 1943 History Project and with diary entries

January 4, 2022

The first two days of January we continued to go through clothing to reduce our clothing down to more like what people had during 1943.  We pulled "everything" from our drawers, closets and shelves and started going through our clothing and only keeping out what we felt would be a sensible amount and for what we have read about for this time of 1943 and which is much less than we have.

We made a donations box because this needed to be done anyway and a throw away bag for worn out clothing and a rag bag.

Yesterday ( Tuesday ) was wash day including changing out the bed sheets and pillowcases.  We had a storm to push through Sunday night and our temperatures dropped from a high of 78 - 80 degrees to 36 degrees by Monday morning.  By early Monday afternoon we had sunshine and a cold wind.

Today, (Tuesday) is ironing day.

I will be hand washing more items during the week such as dresses, underclothing, socks etc. as they did in the past and I will be using the machine for heavy items. I am sure most days there will be some kind of laundry hanging around the house. They had less clothing and wore their clothing longer than we do today so we will adjust how we do things with laundry.

There were electric washers during this time and also to our surprise had tumble dryers but most people did not have the dryers.  Our dryer will stay in our home because we have no place to put it and we might need it for bad weather times or health issues during this year but only for that.  I will use my clothesline and drying racks as much as possible as I do anyway, we like to see that lower electric bill.

Our days are going fast and there does not seem to be enough time here in real time with 1943 time.  We had a 43 quick breakfast of cereal, toast and coffee yesterday morning.

Since yesterday (Monday) was washday I changed the table linens and got those into the wash and then redressed the table.  Charles was off to work with a sandwich for lunch.

I changed out the table linens on the smaller table as well.

We moved a small cabinet into the living room to make a better place for the radio.  Several years ago we removed our televisions but kept a very small television for emergencies and left another in the guest bedroom.  Also after we started doing these history projects we started eliminating many items in our home, not just packing away but getting rid of.  Our microwave went first, then dishwasher, televisions, had our tv cable disconnected and kept just internet to run the computers.  We removed our house telephone and kept cell phone and honestly we got rid of so much and have lived without it for so long now I cannot even remember nor do I miss any of it. We started unplugging things and getting rid of some of those items and we reduced our expenses so much we paid off all debt. 

This year there will be no television at all, not even for watching a Friday night dvd movie.  Our living room has been arranged for a sitting room so we can read or listen to the old radio shows ( we have cd's of the old shows), there is a rocking chair for mending and a small table to have coffee and tea and to do our paperwork.  Charles says he really does not want a television anymore and that he is perfectly happy with books and radio.  Our small living room has once again come back to life. Charles is looking forward to our quiet evenings with him reading his books that he has been wanting to read and me catching up on my hand sewing and mending which I have wanted to do.  I will use the treadle machine for day time sewing projects, there were electric sewing machines during this era but I really enjoy sewing with the treadle.

When family comes to visit, everyone has so many electronics with them there is not even a need to keep television and modern items for them when they visit.  It is better when they put them away and we get out the dominos. :) 

I boiled a chicken with vegetables yesterday (Tuesday) .  For many years our meal schedule has been breakfast, dinner (our main meal) at noonish and a supper, light meal for evening.  We have changed this to breakfast, a light lunch and dinner around 5:30 unless something else planned.  So far this seems agreeable and in just three days we have lost 2 & 1/2 pounds, each of us.  I hope this will be good to get rid of our stress pounds we have gained. 

This morning I added a side of peaches to our breakfast. We will have cream of wheat tomorrow morning.  We are not eating like this because of rationing of food because that will not start until March.  We are eating common food from this time and because we have been so busy. 

Charles added some shelving in our linen closet and I  straightened up all the linens.  We did all this shifting so we could box up items that are non 1943 and put them away instead of stacking everything in the guest room as we first thought we would do.

Some of our items you might see occasionally that do not look 1943.  It will be because we have been researching "did they have this?" and then we will keep it or pack it away or get rid of it if we find we really did not need it.  Example, a set of dishes in someone's home in 1943 were probably purchased many years before 1943.  So we have dishes too from different years.  Our dishes do not have to look like dishes from the past as long as they are dishes. We are still doing the same thing, eating on them and washing them and putting them away.  

We have changed many things through the years because we found out that the old things were made better and more suitable for our needs and we learned that a couch with legs and chairs as well, are better for us so we can clean under them instead of one that sits low to the floor and has to be pushed away.

 I hope to have our home in better order for this study by this Friday. We did a lot of reverting to new ways during this pandemic that we all have been going through and we need to get our home back to orderly.  We have researched most all of our items of what they had in the past and just this morning I found an ad in the 1943 paper that said cloth coffee filters.  I was so happy to see that. :)  

Here in our history project, our coffee stamp No. 28 became valid today ( January 4th ) and that will be good for 1 pound of coffee to last us until February 7th 1943.  That will be two pounds of coffee because Charles and I each have our own ration stamp books.  A coffee stamp in a book that belongs to a child under 15 years of age, is void and cannot be given to or used by anyone else. Since the more serious rationing starts in March this gives us time to study and learn the how to do's with the items that are being rationed now.  

One other thing I want to mention is the excitement and energy of this study.  There is something about studying the early 40s that puts things in better perspective.  I was sitting down going through a wood box with a hinged lid that holds my hair clips and pins and elastic hair grips and different size bobby pins and small medium and large clips for clipping the hair back.  First I noticed all of the clips were plastic, that the elastic hair bunchy things and all these other things are made from some strange cheap materials.  Then I remembered my mothers hair box and I remembered her pretty hair pins that were made from metal and her ribbons and things like that and usually laid out neatly because there were not that many of them.  Do we need all of these extra things that are cluttering our life today?  

This study makes us accountable for how we live our life and I hope that you will understand this as we go along because I cannot put it into words.  We are not just trying to be like the 40's, we are going to live like 1943 during the things they were going through, and dig deep inside the homes to figure out the home life.  This is not the life from magazines.

I will post this weeks diary post from my real 1943 diary here today.  I mentioned it in another post but will give a reminder. This is the diary of Lil and Bob, they are both in their mid seventy years of age.  Bob has signed up for war duty and goes to a watch tower on top of a hotel and he goes there several times a week and possibly more for about two hours each day.  Both Bob and Lil do odd jobs for other people and must do this for income. 

The diary begins...

Jan 1, 1943  Here we go a wet, dismal start, let us hope a favor beginning will give us a glorious ending. 

Jan 2, Nice day, done a bit of ironing, Clare and Elizabeth left on bus here to home. Eat dinner, B & L to bus to see them off. 

Jan 3, Nice, but cold and very hard frost.  Bob at W.T. (Watch Tower for war) 8 to 10:00.  M & Jackie called.  Bob and I to answer ad at 64 Ed Street.

Jan 4, Nice day, not so cold.  Bob to S. left me on his way at Bridges home. I cared for baby till he called for me at 2 P.M.

Jan 5, Nice day. Baked a big rice pudding.  Bob to S.  Home 1:45.  Ate dinner then opened his delayed B. day pkg. 

Jan 6, Very find day after light frost. Bob at S.   Home at 1:20., ate dinner.  up town to shop.

Jan 7, Fine day.  Early morning frost.  B Armbruster rode with Bob this a.m.  home early.  Up town to shop for R.,  Marshalls called.  

End of this weeks diary reading

If I had written a diary post on this January 2 it would have read we had to run to the closet when the tornado sirens went off until we could find out where the tornado was. 

In the old diaries we often see written in the diary, someone called.  People without phones would say, Mrs. Thompson called today referring a visit from Mrs. Thompson.  Some people did have phones and would say, Mrs. Thompson telephoned today and then some might say called.  I did read in Lil's diary where she went to a friends house to make a phone call to arrange a repair.  This is something else we see in the diaries and that is people going to others houses to make an important telephone call. Most neighbors were very helpful to each other in the past.   In the diary above on January 4th we noticed she helped with the baby until Bob called for her, he came for her.

I hope those of you that are doing this study with us are enjoying what you are learning and those that are not doing the study but reading along are learning a few interesting things.   

Grandma Donna

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