The Start of the War

Air Raid Shelters and Gas Masks

"At that age, you really don't think too much about it. It's just life."

"When they started the war, we had rails in our yard, separating us from the front door, you know at the front, from the neighbors, and we had really pretty iron rails in front of our house going all around the park. Everybody did. And they took all of those out for ammunition.

At that age, you really don't think too much about it. It's just life. But I do remember we had to put up shelters. In our neighborhood, we all had a shelter in the backyard. It was corrugated iron, and then they put a lot of dirt over the top of it, and we had a little door, and there was four bunk-type beds in it, because there was four of us. And during air raids that's where we stayed.

We had the gas masks that we took over. They didn't issue those until probably the second year. And for children my age, we called it a Mickey Mouse gas mask, because it was red, and it had a flap on it. And it had royal blue trim. And when you talked or breathed in it, the flap would go, supposedly to entertain the kids, I guess. (Makes flapping motion with hand). But it was in a little square cardboard box with string, and we just carried it over our shoulders, and took it to school-- wherever we went, the gas mask went."