Thursday, May 15, 2014

Victory Garden

When my parents moved into their house on 79 Park Avenue in Deer Park, America had already entered the war. Both of my parents wanted to do their part and so they planted their first victory garden. Along with ration stamps they managed to survive the war years and continued the practice of planting a garden for the rest of their lives.  " Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany[1] during World War I and World War II. They were used along with food stamps to reduce pressure on the public food supply. Around one-third of the vegetables produced by the United States were from victory gardens.[2] In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil "morale booster" — in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. This made victory gardens become a part of daily life on the home front." This is a photograph of my parents preparing the ground for the garden. My father had a scythe in his hands and he is cutting down the tall grass before he turns over the ground. The building behind him was the garage that my father worked out of for many years as an automobile mechanic. Some of the vegetables that my mother and father planted were red beets, carrots, string beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, lettuce. My mother canned all summer long putting up tomato sauce, string beans, pickling red beets, preserving jams and jellies, rhubarb and strawberries, apple sauce, pickles, corn on the cob, to name a few.

During the war my father would get all the women together in the neighborhood and they would share their ration stamps for gasoline with him so that he could purchase gas to use for the repair shop. He would then take the women to the stores to do their shopping. The effort to carpool save them a lot of gasoline ration stamps. Other things that helped when it came to rationing was that Mrs. Nicklaus their friend had experience the rationing system from the previous war and told my mother to buy extra staples for example sugar for she knew that a ration stamp system would soon be put in place.

During the war my father was the neighborhood air raid warden. It was his job to check the homes in the neighborhood to make sure they were drawing their curtains following the correct blackout procedures.  "During the Second World War, the ARP was responsible for the issuing of gas masks, pre-fabricated air-raid shelters (such as Anderson shelters, as well as Morrison shelters), the upkeep of local public shelters, and the maintenance of the blackout."

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