In these days of pandemic confusion and fear, something as basic as buying groceries for our households has become a major problem. Some local food stores have instigated rules like admitting only 10 shoppers at a time while at others it is “grab and go” at will.

I cannot speak for the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, but during the summer epidemics of polio for almost a decade nobody had to wear a facial mask to go shopping—so long as the children stayed home in their quarantine rules. Now during the current rules, everyone with a grocery list is taking a chance.

It was not that way during World War Two when many items, including food, were rationed. Households were issued ration books, and the stamps in those booklets had to be presented to make purchases. Rationed were such items as sugar, coffee, meat, butter and, yes, gasoline.

My mother, aunt, and I used to go to the depot (at its original North Newton location) twice a year, spring and fall, on Saturdays and ride the train to Hickory to shop for clothes when the seasons changed, since gasoline was so hard to acquire.

To read more of this article see the Thursday, 5th edition of the Observer News Enterprise.





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