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MARY BRASWELL: Looking Back - March 2, 2014

HISTORY: Albany and Southwest Georgia felt the effects of a world at war in March 1943

Mary Braswell

Mary Braswell

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.

In March 1943, the world was at war. Life was turned upside down for most Americans as the battle for freedom continued. Here is a look back at the first two weeks of the month through the pages of The Albany Herald.

Reader poll

QUIK QUIZ: In March 1943, how many divorce decrees were granted by the Dougherty Superior Court?

  • A -- 54 9%
  • B -- 32 9%
  • C -- 11 18%
  • D -- None 64%

11 total votes.

After eight days during which no canned fruits or vegetables could be legally sold in the U.S., the items went on sale March 1 using blue ration coupons with various point values. Each person was allowed 48 points for the month of March. Some examples of canned goods: One 19-ounce can of field peas with snaps cost 12 cents and 14 points; One 46-ounce can of orange juice cost 38 cents and 23 points; One 19-ounce can of tomatoes cost 13 cents and 16 points. A reminder was given to shoppers that the red coupons were to be used for meat rationing, which would not start for another three weeks.

— In preparation for the drive to raise Albany’s quota of $16,700 for the Red Cross War Fund, a mass meeting was held at the Gordon Hotel. Residential canvassers were asked to attend, as well as any person wishing to work for the effort.

— Albany Manufacturing Company, a division of Interstate Hosiery Mills, was hiring girls and young women to learn the trade of hosiery knitting. While in training, girls could earn $15 per week and up. Fully trained knitters could earn up to $50 per week.

— The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that horse- or tractor-drawn garden planters and two-row or more horse-drawn riding cultivators would not be subject to farm machinery rationing regulations in the future.

— Jimmy Faulkner’s Dry Cleaners on Washington Street advertised oak barrels, whole or half, for sale to use in washing clothes. The business also had a good supply of large and small safety pins for sale.

— The traffic light at the intersection of Sasser’s Main Street and the highway was discontinued because of the reduction in traffic after gasoline and tire rationing began. The light was installed in 1938 for the safety of school children.

— Turner Field’s Red Cross representatives gave notice that prisoners of war could receive letters through ordinary mail as soon as next of kin was notified of capture. The Prisoner of War Information Bureau in Washington provided exact information on how to address the letters. Writers were reminded to keep letters personal and brief with no mention of war, politics, war production or defense.

— A new class was started at the Albany Vocational School for Vocational Training. Men and women were trained in aircraft wing structure. Workers were needed at Turner Field for the construction of training aircraft, which included woodworking and fabric stitching, as other materials were scarce.

— Georgia Gov. Ellis Arnall signed a bill giving 18-year-old citizens of the state the right to vote.

— All dogs in Albany were required to be inoculated against rabies by March 15. The cost was based on the dog’s weight. An example: A 40-pound dog cost the owner $1.81, which included the vaccine ($1.06), the veterinarian’s fee (50 cents) and the registration certificate and tag (25 cents).

— The Police Blotter from the first Saturday and Sunday of the month listed 24 arrests. Those incarcerated included one vagrant, one driving without a license, one drunk and disorderly, nine disorderly conducts and 12 drunks.

The ban on bakery-sliced bread was lifted after just two months. At its initiation, the belief was that the ban would save on waxed paper and steel slicing blades, but the government determined that the savings were insufficient to continue the effort.

Workers collecting data for Albany’s city directory completed the work. New volumes were expected to be available in late spring. New to the directory was a listing of all local men serving in the military, showing the branch in which they were serving.

Albany Junior High School would soon be flying the School-at-War Flag. The flags were given by the War Savings Department of the U.S. Treasury to campuses that sold War Stamps to at least 90 percent of the student body throughout the year. Of the 500 students at the Junior High, approximately 94 percent had purchased stamps.

Current rationing of coffee was one pound per person every six weeks. Good news for coffee fans was announced in that the rationing would soon become one pound per person every five weeks.

— Effective immediately, most merchants in Leesburg agreed to start closing their stores at 7 p.m. each weekday except Thursday. On that day, stores closed at 1 p.m. for a half-holiday which was to be used primarily for work in Victory Gardens.

— The Office of Defense Transportation gave its approval to open Radium Springs for swimming once the weather turned hot in Albany. While full details were not yet available, plans to run at least one free bus to the venue each day from the city were certain.

— Men ages 18-45 were needed for dredge work on the Intra-Coastal Canal near Port St. Joe, Fla. Wages were 50 cents per hour for a 56-hour work week, with double-time pay for the seventh consecutive day. Charges for room and board were $1 per day.

Former Michigan Gov. Chase S. Osborn announced his gift of 810 acres of woodland in Worth County to the Chehaw Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The former governor was well known in the area for wintering-over at the Possum Poke in Poulan.

— Completing the month’s selective service call for Dougherty County, notices were mailed to 97 men on March 13. The men were expected to report on March 24 for final instructions and, at that time, be allowed to state which branch of the military was preferred. Only those that volunteered before they were called were guaranteed their preference would be granted.

— Each evening, patients at Turner Field Hospital who could walk or wheel themselves, gathered in Ward 2 to watch movies. Monday through Saturday, the films were of the military nature such as “Identification of Japanese Aircraft,” but Sunday evenings featured real Hollywood productions.