World War I


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When I was six or seven years old, I remember the food rationing during the First World War (1914-1918). White sugar was at a premium. Only brown sugar was available, and only in one-pound bags. My family use to go to our neighborhood food store, which was operated by a manager and one helper. It was small store, about 25 or 30 feet wide, located at the corner of Fleming Avenue and Lexington Street, just a few blocks from our home. The white sugar was available only during one half-hour period each day. No one knew when that half-hour was going to be except the manager. 


If you went at the mystery hour and made a purchase you got the white sugar, but you had to make a purchase. It just gives you an idea of how scarce sugar and other ingredients were. Flour was also scarce.

But we managed to live through it just by tightening our belts and taking things as they came along. We never seemed to fight it. I don't think my family had much of a fighting backbone unlike some people today who protest at the drop of a hat and argue even though it may seem silly or ridiculous. They seem to like to fight. We were never like that. We were peaceful and honorable people. Humble. They were very humble people. You could almost get the shirt off their back if you asked them for it.