Speaker describes life during World War IIBy: Kim Palaferri,Journal photographer
A Placer High School U.S. History class, led by Greg Robinson, got a first-hand look at what it was like to live during World War II when 91-year-old Martha Francher of Auburn shared her story Thursday and Friday.
Students listened to stories about how all materials including fabric, tires and metal were used to fabricate necessary war items rather than consumer items.
Francher described what it was like to use rationing points to grocery shop, and if points were not available, how they would get free meat to provide.
“We used a ration book to get food, and if we wanted free meat, we got things like liver and brains,” she said. “We also collected cans of grease to take back to the butcher where we were given two points credit.”
Francher’s first job was as a typist in a Columbia Steel Mill in Pittsburg, where she earned $40 in June 1940. Students were surprised when she explained that the price of gas back then was 18 cents a gallon.
She worked at the mill for the next three years, working her way up in the office, earning $175 monthly.
When Francher said she disliked then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt, Placer junior Cynthia Davis asked why.
“I come from a family of dedicated Republicans, and we did not like FDR,” she said. “We feel he was a major cause of the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor because he cut off oil to them.”