World War memorabilia bring back memories

Tyler Clarke
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Picking up a Second World War food ration stamp on Thursday, a wave of childhood memories flooded back to Carment Court resident Jean Harris, 76.


“I remember the food stamps, but I just barely remember,” she said. “I remember mom giving me a food stamp to go to the store.”

Harris’s father enjoyed coffee and her neighbours drank tea -- items both limited to at the time to Canadian residents due to Second World War food rationing policies.

Every once and a while, her father traded food ration stamps with the neighbour in order to switch things up and purchase some tea.

Born in 1938, Harris said that she doesn’t remember hearing much about the Second World War, with her knowledge base limited primarily to what she heard on the radio.

“I remember (radio newscasters) talking about the bombings … and I remember hiding under my bed,” she said.

“That’s the only communication we had, was the radio.”

An integral part of her family’s entertainment schedule, she enjoyed listening to the likes of comedian/ventriloquist Edgar Bergan and his puppet Charlie McCarthy.

But, she knew that when she heard the voice of hockey, broadcaster Foster Hewitt, she was to remain as silent as possible lest she make her father miss hockey action.

Harris was one of a handful of seniors at Carment Court to take part in the Prince Albert Historical Society’s Travelling Suitcase program on Thursday.

“I remember (radio newscasters) talking about the bombings … and I remember hiding under my bed ... That's the only communication we had, was the radio. Jean Harris

Society volunteers Denis Ogrodnick and Fred Payton visited the seniors with a suitcase full of World War memorabilia in tow -- tools they use to help them remember details of their World War experiences.

“I learned some new stories,” Ogrodnick said as they wrapped things up.

Second World War veteran Floyd Trusty, 101, shared some interesting insights and stories, including an emotionally jarring tale in which a comrade from Canwood bled to death on the battlefield.

“The idea is hopefully to collect (the stories),” Ogrodnick said. “We want to just collect them and print them out and have them part of our travelling suitcase.”

In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the First World War, the Prince Albert Historical Society Museum has a special display up recognizing area residents’ impact on the war effort.

Ogrodnick said that they plan to continue visiting seniors’ residences to collect more World War stories, which they’ll compile for museum visitors to peruse. 

Organizations: Carmen Court, Prince Albert, Prince Albert Historical Society Museum

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