Making Rationing Work

‘Making Do’ Meant Working Together

Lyla K.  b. 1936

Prices had been going up fast because of the shortages and then along came rationing.  A lot of my memories about those times have to do with all the hitches and squabbles in our big family about rationing and hoarding and swapping rationing stickers.  They changed over to tokens and points and we had to learn about when things expired.   Some stores would let you trade one kind of stamp for another.  One store in our town was like a bank with lots of tokens, points, stickers and ration books.  Some people said it was illegal.  Ads in the newspapers said, “Don’t pay above the ceiling price!”  I worried when I overheard that one of my aunts had bought meat on the black market because my teacher said you could go to jail.

What I remember are the times when our neighbors and my mother and her sisters would all get together in our kitchen and talk in loud voices about rationing.  They argued a lot about who owed what from last time and who would get extra next time.  The stamps, tokens and checks did not all come on the same day or expire at the same time and that made things complicated.  But they always worked things out and they always said they could ‘make do’.  Which everybody said.




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