A BOX FROM AN ATTIC continued from last week’s issue

By Beverly Clinkingbeard

What began as a quick peek into a box of yellowed envelopes and etc. became a peek into the past. As mentioned last week, the box was found in a clean-up of a home and the party is deceased, so the name anonymous. However, the merchants’ names and prices are mentioned.  It was WWII…
A brochure that accompanied an income tax refund urged the recipient to reinvest in the war effort. It said, “This refund check is yours to do with as you please.  However, I hope you will take it, plus whatever small amount may be necessary to buy an extra War Bond—and keep your dollars Fighting and Working—Fighting against the enemy—Working for you—To keep down prices and secure a better life in years to come. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury.” It is not dated. However, there is an iconic line drawing of the flag being raised by soldiers on Iwo Jima.
There was also a blank application for United States War Savings Bonds—Series E. It includes a place for personal information and was apparently aimed at farmers.  “The Farmer’s Strength Lies In His Savings” and “War Bonds Protect You: From Enemies Without; From Inflation Within; From Uncertainties Ahead.”  The “Farm Wartime Plan: *Produce all you can.  *Control your debts.  *Don’t speculate. *Save—in War Bonds.”
A contribution was made to the Navy Relief Society, 5/2/42. It is still a valid society today that assists Navy families in need or crisis.
A letter in response to a request for more sugar on the basis of health needs (Now what would that have been?) received a reply from “Washington Reports on Rationing.” The Council on Candy as Food in the War Effort was sponsored by The National Confectioners’ Association. The official responded, “…the law against using loose stamps is for our own protection.” [Rationing stamps came in booklets and the store clerk would tear out the required amount of stamps for the purchase.  Store clerks often looked the other way while their customers traded books, as one party would use their rationing stamps for items that another didn’t, thus a quiet and sly trade.] The letter went on to suggest for particular health reasons the local ration board [each county had a ration board] could grant extra sugar. “Of course,” the letter continued, “if enough sick people need extra sugar, it will mean that we all have to do with less, and by your letter, we know that you would be one who would be glad to do it.”
A 1942 expense budget allowed $39.11 to charity; $178.26 for farm labor; $200.21 taxes; $120.40 religious giving; $64.85 insurance; $93.46 seed for farm; $75.00 Gov. bond (crossed off); $87.41 fence on farm; $3.91 nursery stock. On the income side was: $60.00 rent received from MO house; $157.00 pasture rent; $229.80 corn sold to renter; $40.00 (crossed off) note pd. by renter; $41.80 oats sold to renter; $660.38 corn sold on market; $6.79 seed wheat bought and returned to the market; $20.00 hay sold to renter; $60.75 Gov. check on farm; $57.08 Gov. insurance paid on wheat failure; $10.50 renter’s share of seed wheat paid to me; $184.80 (crossed off) disability ins. rec’d.
There were receipts from Earl May & Co., Shenandoah, Iowa, and from Berry Seed Co., Clarinda, Iowa. A ticket dated 8-1-47 from Geiger & Graham Grain Company, Westboro, Missouri, showed a load of corn with gross weight of 18,500 lbs., Tare 2,750 lbs., net 15,750 lbs.. 281-14 @1.93, for the amount of $542.81.
April 2, 1937, A.R. Tucker & Son [the son was Scott who later took over the business of a general store and mortician], Westboro, offer insight into the cost of death. The casket $200.00, embalming $20.00, hearse $10.00, funeral notices $1.50, opening of grave $8.00, grave lining $2.00, for a total of $241.50. Tucker maintained a store building in Blanchard where families could gather and also have the funeral service. Elva Bean was available for hire to stay with the body at night, a practice some families found comforting.
There were letters regarding health concerns and a few pencil letters that were rough drafts for the official letter written in pen and ink. Some of these were to legislators who the writer felt needed to be reminded of their duty. Of particular concern was not observing Sunday as a day of worship.  That may have eluded to the factories that worked around the clock seven days a week in the war effort.
Though the expenses of that day seem cheap by today’s pricing, income was comparable with costs and it was undoubtedly as difficult to meet the budget then as it is today.
‘Nd that’s a peek into yesterday from the contents of a dusty box found in a home in Blanchard.

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