Life at home in Scottsville during the war was dramatically changed. Friends and family members were far away, and homefolk waited for letters and rare visits. They also had to take on new jobs, from driving the tractor to paying the bills to working in the defense industry. Jobs were more plentiful, and folks had more money than during the Great Depression of the 1930s. But there was not much to spend one’s money on, as everything went to the war effort. Cars were no longer manufactured for private use, and gasoline, rubber (for tires), sugar, and meat were rationed. People had to mend and repair what they had (furniture, clothes) since they could not buy anything new.
WHAT CAN I DO? asked a leaflet issued by the U.S. Office of Civilian Defense in 1942. The answer was, "Plenty!" One activity was to defend the home front by preparing for air raids. Air raid wardens conducted regular drills during which everyone practiced what they would do in the event of an enemy attack. The occupants of every home had to turn out the lights or use blackout curtains so it would not be an enemy target. Civilians were stationed at Estouteville and the present site of Scottsville's Augusta Co-op to identify airplanes flying overhead. If they were German or Japanese, the authorities had to be warned.
Scrap metal drives collected materials for recycling to be used in the war effort. Women got together to roll bandages for the wounded and knit sweaters for the troops at the Masonic Building in Scottsville. According to Anne Shirley Bruce Dorrier: "They didn't want us to think because we weren't Rosie the Riveter, we weren't doing something. So every week we would roll bandages in the Masonic building. They were supposedly shipped overseas. Another thing I did - I was so young and foolish - I decided I would knit a sweater. My husband was in the South Pacific. He had to buy a woollen uniform for use in the North Atlantic, and he went to the South Pacific where the temperatures were quite hot. The Red Cross gave me the yarn, and for two years I knitted on that sweater, and never finished it. I was so scared she would ask me about it. Every so often she would say, "Anne Shirley, have you finished your sweater yet? We are ready to mail it."
Home entertainment revolved around the radio and games. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats brought comfort and encouragement to those struggling at home. Popular songs heard over the radio or played on the family piano encouraged one to “Keep the Home Fires Burning” and not to “Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else But Me.” Long before TV and video games, board and card games were popular diversions. Monopoly, invented in 1935, was fun for everyone, as were the games of Rook, Pit, Dominoes, and Anagrams.
For more information on home front life in Scottsville during World War II, visit:
|Scottsville Museum · 290 Main Street · Scottsville, Virginia 24590 · 434-286-2247|
www.avenue.org/smuseum · email@example.com
Copyright © 2015 by Scottsville Museum