Thursday, April 7, 2016

Yesterday's Poser

About three weeks ago we shared a nostalgic piece about tax tokens and the small role they played in my childhood.  Yesterday we posted a picture of an item which we declared that one had to be really old to remember.

When I was sent to the corner grocery store (which was actually about three blocks away) the little satchel containing the few coins, including tax tokens, also included one of the pictured items to cover the requirement that our household actually was entitled to the purchase Mama ordered.

Rationing stamps came in booklets and the purchaser carefully removed the stamps required for the purchases.  Clearly I was not allowed to carry the booklet to the store, only the needed stamp.  If my memory correctly serves me the "meat" stamps were red and the gasoline stamps were black and for Daddy's use only.

Rationing of coffee reduced each individual 15 years of age and up to one pound of coffee per six weeks.  Coffee-stretching techniques included a supply of chicory in the kitchen.  While rationing was not popular, it was generally accepted as a necessary part of the war effort.  But rationing of coffee was the least popular of all, and President Roosevelt lifted it in July, 1943, the first item to be removed from rationing.*

Anyway, nine-year-old David with three dimes, three tax tokens and a coffee stamp might be entrusted to walk to the store and obtain the required item.  Yes, coffee retailed at about thirty-cents per pound.

*Reference this very interesting article about coffee in 1943.

In front of our grocery store there stood one gasoline pump.  One grasped the handle, pumped up from the ground tank the amount he wished to purchase into the glass cylinder.  Then placing the hose into the car's filler pipe, releasing the nozzle valve allowed gravity to do the rest.  Except for paying the seventeen cents for each gallon purchased.  And don't forget the ration stamps!


Image result for glass cylinder gas pump


Secondary Roads said...

My mom kept some red and blue "coins" that were used for rationing. I don't remember ration stamps. However, I had just celebrated my fifth birthday a couple of months before VJ day.

vanilla said...

Chuck, I do not remember the ration "coins" but my reading on the subject tells me that such were issued to make "change" for a stamp. If, for example, an item required 7 points where a 10-point stamp was the smallest denomination, one lost three points in purchasing the item. The coins were an effort to keep the customer from being cheated in such a transaction.

Grace said...

That gas pump is a work of art!

vanilla said...

Grace, wouldn't that just look fabulous in your sitting room?

Vee said...

Okay, needing to be honest. I remember those tanks.