During World War II, in the early 1940s, I was just a little girl. My dad was in the Navy, stationed in the South Pacific, and my mom, grandmother, brother and I lived in San Diego. Everyone I knew had “Victory Gardens,” to grow a lot of our own food, since so much food was going to our soldiers overseas, and so much transportation was devoted to the military, resulting in rationing of food we could buy. A lot of things were rationed, but I don’t remember feeling deprived. 

Neighbors would share their Victory Garden produce with each other: When we had a big harvest of one kind of fruit or vegetable, we would trade with neighbors for fruits or vegetables they had harvested. I especially remember the tomatoes we grew – they were huge and delicious. We had chickens, and I loved the fresh eggs.

One of our chickens was a rooster, who was mean as could be. My grandmother would go in the coop to get eggs armed with a frying pan, and would whack that rooster if he tried to attack her.

One day, that rooster managed to scratch her up anyway, and that was the end of him. We ate chicken stew for dinner.

Kathi B., Great-Grandmother, USA