During the next few years our world completely changed. There were air raid sirens, and when they went off we didn’t know if it was practice or a real air raid. Our city had huge barrage balloons over the city, which was colored in camouflage, as were some of the large buildings like Consolidated Aircraft Plant. These balloons were supposed to tangle the propellers of airplanes if they flied over to bomb us. During the air raid practices, a neighbor got cited by the air raid wardens for forgetting to extinguish a light under the numbers of his house. They said that even a cigarette could be seen from the sky.
There were Japanese Americans, who had supplied us with fresh fruit and vegetables, but were taken to camps away from us for fear they would be loyal to Japan and give them information. Their lands were taken and never returned to them by our government. This was a very sad and unfair thing for them to do because they were, after all, Americans. Someone told me they wanted to do this to Germans too but almost everyone in America had some German blood.
Fortunately for us our Dad was past the age for being drafted. But Uncle Roy Forsnas who was superintendent of schools in Superior, Arizona, knew he would be drafted so he enlisted so that he could choose his branch of service. He went into the US Air Force and served in London flying over Germany and taking pictures. Aunt Marguerite and their children Elin and Jean came to San Diego and lived with Grandmother and Aunt Nellie.
Women had to work in war plants to replace the men that had to serve in the military. Aunt Marguerite worked at North Island Naval Air Station. My Mom went to work at Consolidated Vultee Aircraft. Mom was so happy she tested at over 85 words a minute so she got a job as a stenographer which paid more than a secretary.
One of the good things that came out of those unhappy times was the national request that those who could, would plant “victory gardens”. So Mom and Dad planted all kinds of good food in the back part of our yard. We had strawberries, boysenberries, tomatoes, lettuce, swiss chard, carrots, onions, radishes, egg plant, and much more. Mom canned the berries and tomatoes and made a wonderful relish for hamburgers and such. Another happy memory was the breakfast of hot biscuits, buttered, and open, with warm berries over them. That is a really happy memory.
At school each day in “current events” we studied the war, and marked off in black lines each country as Germany took over. That was not fun. I had 5 teachers in the fifth grade. The first one got drafted, a women substituted, then another teacher who got drafted, then another substitute, and finally one that finished off the year.
Also in school on one day a week children brought dimes and bought “war stamps” that we stuck in a book until we had enough for a war bond. It was a good way to teach us how to save and watch our savings grow.
After school on Thursdays, girls went to a building on Garnet Street where we knitted squares to make blankets for our servicemen. I don’t remember if this was through Girl Scouts or Church. Some adults volunteered time to make bandages for the war.
The country came together with tremendous spirit, and faith. It was a very hard time with sad things coming out of the war, but people felt patriotic in a way I have never seen since. There was almost no crime. Most people didn’t even lock their doors at night. There were beautiful songs written that expressed love and concern for one another. One of them was “God Bless America” which was written by Irving Berlin and made famous by Kate Smith with her beautiful, deep voice. Religious leaders had problems with one song that was actually written by a chaplain. It was called, “Praise the Lord and pass the Ammunition”.