Clarice Sawyer
WWII Civilian
Shreveport History and life during WW II

Born in Shreveport, Thelma lived through World War II as a child on the home front. An early memory is a tornado that hit Shreveport "in 1941 or 1942." She also remembers troop maneuvers at the grounds of the Louisiana State Fair, where planes dropped sacks of flour in bombing practice. Thelma recalls rationing of many goods, including sugar, coffee, and meat. Families substituted sweetened condensed milk for sugar, and drank Postum instead of coffee. They often walked instead of driving to save tires and gasoline, and they raised victory gardens. "if they had a little patch of dirt, they raised something if they could," she recalls. To conserve paper at school, students folded one sheet into four pieces and wrote front and back in small letters in ink the janitor made. She saw troop trains and caravans of trucks with soldiers and sailors coming through Shreveport. "The boys would write their address on pieces of paper and throw them out and the girls would pick them up and write to them," she recalls. Thelma saved her money earned by babysitting jobs and bought $25 war bonds. When the war ended she was at her grandparents' house in Greenwood, Louisiana. "I was coming from the water well when my grandmother came running out and said that the war was over," she recalls.