A column about rationing and trading stamps from the World War II era “rekindled my memory,“ Barbara Nordbo, Fargo, writes.
“There was a Gold Bond stamp store on University Avenue (in Fargo), where a gas station used to be; it was fun to get something there ‘free,’” she writes.
Then she tells of living in Fort Morgan, Colo., which she says had Howdy Neighbor trading stamps.
“When I filled a book, I received $2 for it, which was enough to buy a pair of shoes for my kids,” she writes. “Mind you, that was just $2 for a pair of shoes!
“Fort Morgan had a parade every first week of August called Howdy Neighbor Day, with a real Native American powwow (and) feed in a park free, cooked by the National Guard. Being poorer than church mice, did we ever fill up!
“Your column also reminded me of the ration stamps from the government. In Evansville, Ind., I remember standing with my mother in long lines so she could buy a pair of hose. They were 50 denier (I don’t know what that meant) nylon hose with seams down the back. When she put them on, she always had me check to make sure the seams were straight. She said she wanted to look good when walking away from people.
“Another memory,” Barbara writes. “Daddy’s car was the kind that had the gas tank right in front of the windshield.
“We were at a gas station one time. They were putting gas in. The windshield was open. Daddy struck a match across the dash to light his cigarette, and boom, the car got on fire. The station attendant put it out; I don’t remember how, but we were not hurt.”
Going back to stamps, Gene Reierson, Esmond, N.D., writes that “Green and Gold Bond stamps were given out when you bought merchandise and were redeemed for prizes. They were never ration stamps,” as some people thought and were so quoted in the earlier column. “In fact,” Gene says, “merchants were giving them away with purchases in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s.”
Alvin Swanson, Moorhead, writes that “During the 2nd World War, we were given books to place U.S. savings stamps in at our rural school.”
In addition to that, Alvin writes, “My dad was on the Kragnes Township board. The board members were supposed to visit their neighbors and get pledges to buy war bonds, not sell them.
“Individual township pledges were published in the local newspaper. This created competition between the townships.”
The earlier “Neighbors” column about stamps was “potentially misleading to younger readers who didn’t live in the 1940s,” Davis Scott, Moorhead, writes, agreeing with others that it didn’t clarify the difference between trading stamps and wartime rationing stamps.
“Trading stamps were a totally different critter than wartime rationing stamps,” he says.
“Long popular, trading stamps were a commercial venture to promote customer loyalty, thereby increasing sales and profits,” Davis says.
“Fortunately, the more short-term rationing was a government-imposed system for regulating and restricting the purchase of goods which were in short supply to the public because of the war effort.
“Having trading stamps did not entitle a buyer to purchase rationed items; one needed the government-issued ration book and stamps to purchase rationed items.”
And then Kathy Brasgalla, West Fargo, writes that when she lived in Fargo, she redeemed her S&H Green stamps at the Fargo S&H Center.
One item she got with the stamps, back in the 1960s, was a red vase. “I’m still using it and loving it,” she says.
Kathy emailed a picture of the vase, but unfortunately it wouldn’t reprint well here. But it looks like a beauty.
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email email@example.com.