Ambrose Dachtera, Mary Catherine Dachtera, Emily Ganas Dachtera 1944
I first heard the term “war baby” as a high school freshman when our class was greeted as the first class of war babies – born in the first year of the
participation in World War II. The US
had resisted involvement until the December
7, 1941 attack on .
That attack set into motion a full scale national response that affected every
citizen in some way. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Seemingly overnight, factories became dedicated to supplying materials for the war effort. The military needed everything – food, clothing, arms and ammunition, vehicles of all kinds. This intense focus on wartime military requirements resulted in shortages of goods and materials available to civilians.
Rationing was the system put in place to make sure that everyone had access to the necessities of life – even if quantities were limited.. Everyone was issued ration books – I had one in my name when I was only 7 weeks old. Children were issued ration books to insure that families had access to adequate goods. When it came to rationed goods, a person was allowed to purchase only a certain amount at any given time. The books contained stamps that were collected by retailers at the time of purchase. Rationed items included, rubber, leather, sugar, meat, fats and oils, and gasoline among other things. More information about rationing can be found here http://www.ameshistory.org/exhibits/events/rationing.htm
My dad enlisted in the army
February 29, 1944. I don’t know why
he was not drafted earlier. Maybe his employer, International Harvester was
involved in producing military vehicles.
Maybe it was because hie eyesight was so poor. He was accepted as an
enlistee 2 years into the war.. Fortunately for me and Mom, he was never sent
into battle – he stayed stateside for the duration.
I remember only 2 things from the war years. I remember Mom flattening empty cans for recycling because steel was so scarce. She’d remove the paper labels rinse thoroughly, then step on them. For some reason I liked the sound when she did that.
Portions of a train trip also remain. Mom and I went to
once while Dad
was stationed there. We took an
overnight train from Little
Rock, Arkansas St. Paul. We
had a Pullman berth. The train made many stops along the
way and I remember the chugging of the steam engine as it started rolling again
after each stop. I remember the rhythmic click-clack of the wheels. But I have no other memories of that trip.
Two of Mom’s brothers also served in the war. Both were sent overseas. Uncle Bud (Frank) Ganas was captured by German troops and spent time in a Stalag. Uncle Ches (
Ganas served in the 81st Airborne.
The war ended in 1946. Dad was discharged from the army. Companies were required to give jobs to returning former employees who had served in the war. International Harvester, Dad’s former employer, had purchased a Buick factory in
– one of Melrose
Park, Illinois Chicago’s
western suburbs - and converted it to farm equipment. That’s where they gave him a job. With so
many thousands of service men returning to civilian life, a job offer was precious.
So we moved from
Ambrose and Emily bought a house in Northlake, just west of Melrose
Park, 400 miles from everything and everyone they loved and began
a new life.