Our War Effort…

Sometimes short messages are the best way to make a point. This AbBerrations section contains ideas that don’t precisely fit within a present discussion.



Dal sent me this clipping dated 1942 and it brought back memories of a time when things were tightening up in America. The Japs bombed Pearl Harbor a year earlier so we were in the war and not winning.


All the kids wanted to help our troops. One girl received an award for an idea she submitted. She said her father’s barn was full of spider webs and wanted to know if our government could use some, thus the phrase, “think outside the box,” was born.

In class we whittled Japanese and German airplanes out of wood so our fighter pilots could study them from all angles and better identify the enemy. I remember how proud we were to help in that way.

Once a week grades 7 through 12 turned out of school to collect rubber and iron. We went door to door asking everyone to donate what they could for the war effort. One little old lady was ironing when I spoke to her through the screen door. She said, “Here, you can have this thing as soon as it cools.” That’s the way it was, and we’d pile everything up in the school yard. Some stacks were 10 feet high because people drove by and threw things on. If you looked closely you could see guns, bicycles, fishing reels, skillets, and nearly everything else. The Army came by with big trucks and all the boys helped throw things on.

When I was 13 and Skippy was 15 we volunteered to check coats at the USO. Fort Hood was about 35 miles away and on weekends Temple was full of soldiers. The winter wool coats were really heavy. There were so many troops lined up at closing that we didn’t have time to look at numbers on the check stubs, we just handed each guy a coat. I think most of them left before they realized they had the wrong one. Some of those sergeants were pretty big so Skippy and I were quick to slip through the side door and run to the safety of 1413 north Main Street. f


44 thoughts on “Our War Effort…

  1. I LOVE your stories Forrest, and cannot fathom how you can remember all that when I can’t even remember what I did yesterday, Please keep these stories coming. They are WONDERFUL. I love the woman saying you can have what she’s ironing as soon as it cools and I love you and Skippy skipping out. You paint such a magnificent picture. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for another great story. I remember my grandmother telling me how they only had one set of good tires on the farm during the war. Through the week, they had them on the truck, on Saturday night, her father would put them on the car so they could go to church. My mother was born in ’41 and my grandmother was holder her on her lap when the attack on Pearl Harbor was announced. There were 3 generations living in a four room house. They were not able to add on until after the war. I still have one of my grandmothers ration books.

  3. Headed to the USS Midway to donate blood this afternoon, thank you for reminding us all to look for ways to help locally.

    • Just wanted to say thank you 23 as a former ship mate on the MIDWAY I hope you enjoyed the Old Lady.

  4. Nice story Forrest,
    on a side note, the Eagles are in 1st place and the cowboys wont make the playoffs again..hehe…cant wait for Thanksgiving when the Birds will trounce your sticky cowboys once again….

  5. Ha ha that’s funny and terrible. Skippy reminds me of a guy I know in Ohio. One day he dropped in to our place all excited about a potatoe gun invention. He invited my brother and I back to his place to watch the whole process. Danny wasn’t one to think about consequence. We’d seen crazy before but nothing like this one. Danny had glued pvc pipe together and using a knife cut a small hole in the pipe for a spark switch. He crammed a potatoe in the end of the pipe. Screwed the back of the pvc pipe off and sprayed starter fluid in. Then he turned and giggled nervously are you guys ready for this? We nodded… multiple switch clicks later and nothing happened. The spark switch wasn’t igniting the starter fluid. So Danny in classic fashion screwed the back off the pvc pipe and continued to spray fluid in but this time he’d forgotten to screw the cover on the back of the pipe. Raising the potatoe gun to eye level he began to click away. A sudden poof of flames shot out the back igniting his hair. The potato gun went sailing through the air catching the weeds on fire. He ran to the sink and doused himself. We were laughing so hard it was all a blur. Later he shaved his eyebrows and head and made us promise not to tell his parents why he had suddenly changed hair styles.

  6. I am from a small town in rural Pennsylvania. Three Springs pop. less than 400.
    There was a small building on the hill behind our grade school.
    It was an observation post.

    My much beloved grandmother would tell us kids how during WWII citizens would man the post during day light hours to watch for enemy planes.

    She would wear a blue arm band that said “U.S. Army Air Force Observer”.

    My mother has the arm band now as a rememberance of that time.

    I am pretty sure there were never any enemy aircraft over Three Springs. LOL

    Everyone was commited to helping the war effort. This little town had more than it’s share of men and women serving during this time.

    I am proud to say that as a young boy growing up in this town I got to know many of these fine people and they really helped to shape my life.

    Forrest, thank you for helping to bring these memories back to me.


  7. What a great story Forrest.
    Reminicient of simpler times when people pitched in and made sacrifices. Both sets of my grandparents worked in the shipyards in Bremerton Washington, living in tents for two years with hundreds of other people – most raising young families. My grandpa Tony reminds me of you and Skippy. He told stories of tipping over rows of out houses in a model T behind the tent city.

  8. Mary Babnik Brown cut off her 34″ long blonde hair and gave it to the military to be used as crosshairs in the Norden bombsight…… Apparently spider webs didn’t work as well as her hair.

    • I think her home was in Pueblo, Colorado…….. And if you say “Put in below” really fast, it kind of sounds like “Pueblo”

  9. My grandfather would walk to work and back everyday so my grandparents could save their gas ration books. Once a month they would use the ration books to take a trip in order to visit my grandmother’s sister who was in a sanitarium with consumption (tuberculosis). My great aunt finally had an operation at 21 years of age to remove the diseased part of her lung, and lived to the ripe old age of 92. My grandfather was not in the war, although he did try to volunteer. He was regularly beaten as a boy by his step father, and one of the blows ruptured his eardrum, leaving him deaf and unfit for service.

    My father, uncle and brother were all in the armed forces. I appreciate their service, and all the men and women who proudly serve our country, both overseas and at home.

  10. So, I guess I am the only one who Googled 1413 N Main, Temple, TX?

    And, when you do, you will notice there is no house there.

  11. History being made on any given day.
    Lets hope we never have to live that way again.It would be worse, so many industries no longer operating in the US. 🙁

    Now, how to make wind power…

  12. Sounds like you two irresponsible snots earned every beating you got and then some. You two remind me of a different Finn I read about. Huck and his buddy Tom.

    The United States ignored what was going on in the rest of the world. The people were sick of war; rightly so. The idiot Europeans had started yet another war; even after the war to end all wars. They didn’t deserve our help; much less deserve sending our brave troops to die because of their idiocy. Nothing that happened in Europe was going to affect us here anyway.

    The Japanese woke us up, and probably saved the world, at least as we know it now. We came very close to losing that war. What would the world look like had Japan and Germany developed a nuclear weapon; they were very close to doing so.

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

    • It takes the iron will of good men…and lots of real iron…to defeat the iron hand of evil men. Of course, the Divine Hand of Providence always helps…if He’s on your team…and not “sitting out”.

  13. WW2 brought this country together like never before. A sleeping giant was awoken… Sad , curious , proud , enraged , fearful…

  14. My grandfather was a crypto guy in WWII. When I was old enough to be fascinated by coded messages and spies and all he experienced as he slopped through the mud in Germany, all he wanted to talk about was how great the pancakes were every morning, and how the cook knew exactly how he liked them cooked–burned.

    I guess if you’re going to have memories of brutal war, you might as well dwell on the happy, homey feeling of eating burnt pancakes. 🙂

    I miss that guy. He often shows up in my dreams.

  15. I’m curious if people left gratuities at the coat check back in those days. It makes it funnier to imagine them taking the money and running out the back door; being chased by some toughs; losing most of the loot on the way; and finally making it home safely in the end.

    Maybe somebody will make a tv series one day about the adventures of Skippy and Forrest.

  16. mr. forrest that would of been a nice norman Rockwell painting.you standing there with the lady waiting for the iron to cool,so you could collect it for the war effort.i don’t think anyone will forget rosie the riveter.when the men went to war,the lady took to working to help the war effort too.i love your stories.

  17. My mom used to take food to the detainees in the internment camps when she lived in Freeport, Texas. She moved to Freeport from Midland to help the war effort working for Dow chemical company. Like Forrest, I too have regrets. One of them is that I didn’t pay enough attention to my mom. She was a Michigan farm girl who moved to Texas as part of the war effort. I know she told me about visiting the internment camps but the one closest to Freeport was in Camp Kenedy and that was mainly/solely German men. I thought she told me that she’d taken food to Japanese-Americans. I know I’m the only one in the world who cares about this but I reckon I’ll run it down …

  18. Such a task will require combined effort from ethnologists, historians, and archaeologists, e.g. a distinct effort on the part of several investigators to reach the synthetic level or in other words to get beyond the descriptive and classificatory routine work to really interpretative results.

  19. Interesting to see this in the definition of effort:

    the activities of a group of people with a common purpose.

    “the war effort”

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