I’ve been listening to a lot of people complaining about the deprivations brought about by the COVID-19 quarantine. Truth be known, I’ve complained, too. I miss my hairdresser. If I don’t get a cut soon, I’m going to start looking like Cousin Itt.
People want to go to the movies again. They want to get their tattoos. They want toilet paper, even if they have a stockpile. They can’t understand why we can’t have our concerts and parades and baseball games.
When I hear this, I think, “Wow, we’ve gotten soft.” I think of the stories I was told about what life was like during World War II. If we’re freaking out about hairdressers, I can’t imagine how we’d feel about being allowed 4 gallons of gas a week, and only then if we could justify having any at all.
According to Wikipedia, here are some of the austere measures applied to the American public at various points during WWII:
There was a shortage of rubber, so tires were allocated to each community based on the number of registered vehicles.
Gasoline rationing was also a function of preserving tires.
At one point, automobile sales were stopped. Along with the sales of typewriters and bicycles.
A national speed limit of 35 miles per hour was imposed to preserve rubber.
You were only allowed 5 tires. IF you could justify a need for your vehicle. All other tires (and all tires for those with unjustified use of a vehicle) were confiscated for government use.
Low priority vehicles could get 4 gallons of gasoline per week. Military industrial workers could get 8 gallons per week. People essential to the war effort, such as doctors and truckers, could get more. An unlimited supply of gasoline could go to clergy, police, firemen, civil defense workers, and, scandalously, to congressmen.
Automobile racing was banned, as was simply driving around to sightsee.
Only households with babies and small children could get canned milk.
Sugar rationing lasted until 1947 in some parts of the country. It was ½ pound per person per week, which was apparently half the normal consumption at the time.
Coffee was restricted to 1 pound every five weeks, also half the normal consumption.
Canned dogfood was no longer produced.
You had to turn in an empty toothpaste tube before you could buy a new one.
All production was halted for metal office furniture, radios, television sets, phonographs, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, washing machines and sewing machines.
Other items that were rationed were shoes, silk, nylon, fuel oil, stoves, meat, lard, cheese, butter, margarine, processed foods, dried fruits, firewood, coal, jams, and jellies.
Given the way people are reacting to our current situation, I doubt any of us would have made it through World War II. We actually have it pretty darned good. We can get through this, if we put it into the proper perspective.