A recent picture in Facebook reminded me of days during World War II when Army Air Force airplanes would fly over our farm in Northern Colorado. The big cargo planes, the bombers, the fighters, all were propeller driven. We could hear them coming the minute they took off from the Fort Warren Base in Cheyenne to the destination at an Army Air Force Base in Denver (I have forgotten name). I see after looking it up is may have been Buckley Air Force Base. If anyone knows, let me know!
The jets were not around then. Would have been much quieter! I have a few relatives and friends left who were in WWII, so I do not mind if you set me straight on my details.
Anyway — all us kids, three at that time, John, Ginger and me — would be in the kitchen doing chores or making our beds, otherwise we were outdoors when they flew over. We would run out in the middle of the yard in front of the chicken house and jump up and down and wave and wave until we could not see or hear them anymore.
Dad was very patriotic and talked about it all the time. He had three brothers in the service — Uncle Guy and Uncle Evan in the Army and Uncle Lester in the Army Air Force. If Dad was in the barn he would get up from milking Bessie or feeding the cows hay, go to the front of the barn, take off his hat and wave and wave as the fighters went over or the noisy bombers or those lazy and noisy big cargo planes. As soon as we could not see or hear them we would go back to what we were doing.
If Dad was on a tractor in the middle of a field, he would take off his old straw hat and wave and wave it in the air with one hand, while the other was on the tractor steering wheel. It was that image I saw on Facebook that brought back memories of Dad pulling his combine in the wheat field and standing up on the tractor with one hand waving his hat at the airplane and one hand still guiding the tractor. The image on Facebook was a much more modern combine and airplane, but it still brought back great memories of the past and how proud we knew our Dad was and how proud we were to stand out in the yard and wave and watch the planes fly off into the wild blue yonder.
Then we would go back to our chores or playing some game such as hide-and-seek or kick-the-can with grins on our face and a comment like, “Wow! That one was really loud!”
Sometime a whole fleet of planes would fly in formation right over our house, barn and yard. It was the most excitement and noise we could possibly have! We tried to count them. Usually we each came up with a different number. Oddly enough, the noise did not bother our cows and horses.
The other thing that made WWII of interest to us was the Life Magazine with all the war pictures — I believe the magazine was in black and white on shiny photo-like paper — and stories. That was when war correspondences wrote great heartfelt article about “our boys overseas,” because they were in the same fields of battle as “our boys.” Dad referred to the men in the service as “our boys.”
He often expressed regret for not doing his duty to defend our America because he was classified as 4-F, which meant he was a farmer and farmers were doing the country a great service by supplying grains, beets for sugar and hay for the cattle he raised for the beef that went to “our boys in the service.”
The sugar and flour was rationed, as well as the beef and pork. We had tokens that Mom coveted when she made a trip to town to buy a few groceries. The farmers in our neighborhood would give Dad and Mom the extra tokens they did not use, so Mom could make pie, cakes, cookies and jellies that she shared with everyone in the neighborhood.
A side note: After Dad would come in from the fields and milking, Mom would tell Dad, “I spent $18 today at the grocery store! Can you believe it?” She shopped every three weeks!
The grade school we went to was named Cactus Hill Observatory District # 101. And yes, it was on a gravel hill in the middle of a cactus patch. It was dedicated to the school district because it was not farmable land. It just raised school kids!
In the spring, we would scope out the cattails that were growing along water ditches. In the fall, walking home from school with big gunny sacks, we would pick the cotton-like cattails for the Army Air Force for insulation in the leather bomber jackets that the pilots all wore. We were so very proud to have our gunny sacks so full.
Then the teacher would call some Army guy. They would come out in one of those huge green big-wheeled loud and noisy Army trucks to pick up our few sacks. There was maybe 10 students in the first to the fourth little kids’ room and then in the big kids’ room about 10 or 12 pupils. I was the only one in my class for all eight grades. We all were very proud to do our effort for “our boys.” AND to shake hands with the officers that were driving the Army truck and his helper! We stood tall and quite in line to shake their hand. I still remember how proud our teacher and us kids felt by doing something for our boys and the war effort.
AND I smile at those memories and sadly wonder why it is so different today!
PEANUT BUTTER BREAD
This is a 1927 recipe. It’s good with the jelly you are making this time of year.
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄3 cup sugar (brown sugar is excellent in this!)
1⁄2 cup peanut butter
1 1⁄2 cups milk
Stir first four ingredients and add peanut butter. Beat the mixture well.
Add milk and beat well. Pour batter into a greased tin or glass loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
Makes one large or two small loaves. Orange marmalade or any of the berry jellies are delicious on this.
TOMATO SAUCE POT ROAST
I have used moose for this!
2 pounds beef or moose shoulder roast
2 tablespoon hot cooking fat — original recipe used lard, I use vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup hot water
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons flour
1⁄4 cup cold water
2 cans canned tomatoes — any style
1⁄2 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1⁄8 teaspoon dry mustard
Using a heavy kettle or Dutch oven brown meat in hot fat and seasoned with salt and pepper.
Add boiling water and cover. Simmer 2 1⁄2 hours.
Remove meat and cover.
Combine in a pint jar the flour and cold water — shake well.
Add to the broth in kettle and stir until thick.
Add the tomatoes, onions, mayonnaise and mustard.
Stir and place meat back in kettle and cover.
Simmer on low another half hour.
Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans.
MY recipe says this was famous in 1938!
It is the season for pumpkin pies.
If you have an over abundance of carrots — this will do for pumpkin!
Grandma’s used carrots for pies, cake and cookies as well as eating raw and cooked with brown sugar and butter.
2 medium carrots peeled and sliced
1⁄2 cup sugar
2 eggs well beaten
1 1⁄2 cups milk
1⁄2 teaspoon each ground ginger and cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Pie crust for a 9-inch pie
Cook carrots until almost done and tender. Drain and mash.
Add sugar, milk, eggs spices and salt. Blend well.
Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Serve with whipped cream of vanilla ice cream.
This is an old recipe!
• By Ann “Grannie Annie” Berg, for the Peninsula Clarion