Rationing --- well a lot of it was about food but what I remember best was shoes! The first time I had to go before a rationing board was probably in 1942 when I went to apply for a coupon for some nursing shoes. I had just completed a Red Cross nurse’s aide course and was ready to start work in the hospital – but I had no appropriate shoes. I was asked to fill out a form stating the number and type of shoes I already owned. I was probably a bit too honest and proceeded to list them all – some high heeled black ones, also a high heeled blue pair and some evening slippers – then some old sneakers and even a pair of boots – how about some loafers, etc. It all added up to more than enough shoes for anyone when I was through and the lady in charge was pretty disgusted with me for having the nerve to ask for more. Didn’t I know there was a war on? Wasn’t I aware that many people had only one pair of shoes – if that?? I patiently explained that one could not wear high heels or boots in a hospital and that I was truly trying to do my bit and please could I just have one coupon for some proper, sensible nursing shoes? Well – of course she had no choice, but had to give in – though somewhat reluctantly – and I got the coupon and the good sturdy white shoes I needed. They were very comfortable and I wore them almost daily for the next couple of years.

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  Brooklyn, NY
Feb 25 2024


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