Before the War
  War Begins
  Going to Work
  War Comes Home
Daily Life
  The War Ends


Daily Life

Letter writing was very important during the war for keeping up morale. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Even though there was a war going on, life went on. I continued to go to school and spend time with my friends. Still, some things were different. Because gas was rationed, it was hard to get around, and it was hard to have fun. But we could go to the movies by bus, and there were various high-school activities too. Mostly, we had fun through church activities like picnics.

One of the ways I spent my time was in writing letters. My boyfriend was a few years older than I, and had joined the Air Force in 1943 to become a bomber pilot fighting over Europe. We got engaged by the time I was 18 years old — it was what you did in those days.

I wrote him plenty of letters to keep up his morale. Keeping up the morale of our fighting men was important to everyone those days. I not only wrote my fiancÚ, but to other men who were overseas. Some of these men I had never met, but I would write them because someone would pass me their names and tell me that they did not get much mail. For those of us on the home front, we knew how important it was to get mail when you are far from home, so I made sure I wrote a lot.

With so many of their classmates already in the armed forces, Betty's prom probably looked similar to this dance. Notice all the men in uniform. Photo Credit: Corbis Images.

We were able to have our high school prom only because blackout shades had been installed in our gym. If we did not have the blackout shades, the lights from the gym could have been a target for enemy planes. My two girlfriends and I were worried we would not be able to go. All of the young men in our class were already in basic training or overseas, and my boyfriend was overseas, and in those days, you could not go to your prom without a date. Luckily, we met three sailors who escorted us. I still wonder if they stayed alive to the end of the war.

Think About It
In the 1940s, it took about four to six weeks for a letter to get from America to Europe by boat, and international phone calls were very expensive. Think about how fast and cheap emails are in comparison.

Find Out More
Read real letters written between Private Art Pranger and his family during World War II.