I was born a few months after Germany invaded Poland, and turned two just after Pearl Harbor.
Hal Kurfehs b. 1939
My parents were the Depression Generation so we were tight on money and conservative on spending, except at Christmas when they splurged on us.
I still have my ration book. My Uncle served in the Army in the Western Theatre, and we were proud of him. On the other hand I was 4th generation German and our family still had some allegiance to “the old country”. I can remember the words said to my Uncle when he left for war: “Win the war, but don’t kill many Germans”.
Everything revolved around “The War”. The rationing, the patriotism, the lack of new cars (we had a jalopy), and the thought that it would never end. I even had a sailor suit to wear on special occasions! My fascination with the military started then and has carried out to today. My favorite subject is military history and I have collected artifacts since I was a child. Someone brought back a Japanese helmet for me and that was my first souvenir. It was dingy, though, and I painted it brown with a red star. Its value was thereby tremendously diminished, but at the time I thought it was great.
My military fascination led me to found a military history book company in the late ’70’s that had an inventory of more than 1500 titles (most extensive in the world) and I marketed with catalogs. If you are interested I still have some representative catalogs that I can show you. After the war we finally got a brand-new Buick that was so sleek in comparison to our jalopy that we drove around town for hours with the windows down and the radio blaring. The 50’s were a wonderful time to grow up…there was so much optimism about the future.
The only spoiler was the nuclear threat from Russia–did anyone really believe that hiding under our desks at school would make any difference?