Looking back: Growing up in World War II


During this school year, I have been taking a journalism class. In part of it I had to do an interview with one of my relatives, and write a piece about that person's life. I chose to do a story on my grandpa who grew up during World War II.

World War II affected many people. For Gary DeFries, who resides in Breckenridge, Colo., a lot of things changed. DeFries, who was 5 when the war started, grew up in Kansas. His dad, who was a World War I veteran, was running a truck station, and selling farm implements. He also was running the family farm.

DeFries said, "I remember the rare occasions when I got chewing gum. I had to save the tin wrapper the gum came in because all of the tin had to be saved for the war effort. Even food was hard to get. If you had a farm, you might have to give up some of your crops."

He also said that the Army even took good horses. "Our horse wouldn't have even made it to the train station," DeFries said with a laugh.

Gasoline also was rationed. Since DeFries' dad was working at a truck station, he was accountable for giving the truckers no more than their ration of fuel.

"You couldn't buy a car, or tires, so most travel took place by train," said DeFries. "Even train travel was limited. The trains had to be available to transport soldiers and supplies."

DeFries' dad was trying to sell farm implements, but sales decreased once the war started. Mostly all his dad could sell was tractor parts.

"Toys were very hard to get," said DeFries. "Getting a balloon was unheard of."

Wow. Looking back at what people had then, and what we have now, should make us grateful.

John Boatright is a 10th-grade home-school student from Nikiski.


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