Editor’s note: This is another column in Bill Boyd’s new series, “The Way It Was,” about growing up in Marysville. Bill continues to work with the Union County Historical Society to obtain information for his stories. With Marysville and Union County celebrating Bicentennial anniversaries in 2019 and 2020, respectively, these articles help depict what life was like in those early years.
During World War II, the federal government sold War Bonds to help finance the war. It was a way to give average people an opportunity to do their part. The bonds, at maturity, ran from $25 to $1,000. The $25 bond sold for $18.75. Movie stars, bands and radio celebrities went on “bond tours” around the country to promote and sell them.
In 1943, I can’t tell you how much I wanted to buy a bond, but there was just no way an 11-year-old boy with a paper route could afford that. I was disappointed, but then I learned about something my dad called “defense stamps.”
They were sold in five denominations. The smallest was 10 cents, and that sounded perfect for me. I could paste them in a little booklet that they supplied. Then, when my booklet was full, I could turn it in for a $25 bond. Wow, that was just what I needed.
The stamps were sold at the post office and at the bank on South Main Street. I usually bought mine at the bank because there was often a long line at the post office where people were mailing packages.
I bought a lot of my stamps on Saturday. That’s when I collected for the papers. When I finished collecting, I went immediately to Bill Marsh’s house to pay for the week’s papers. Whatever was left was my profit for the week. There were also times when I had some extra money. Maybe I mowed a couple lawns or something like that. So I could buy an extra stamp or two every now and then.
By the end of the year, I had a nice start on filling my little booklet with stamps. But in February of 1944, I ran into a major financial problem. It was something I had overlooked completely.
You see, on February 22, I became 12 years old, and once kids were 12, they could no longer go to the movies for 10 cents. Everyone 12 years old or over had to buy an adult ticket. So whenever I went to the movies, I had to come up with 33 cents.
Let’s say I went to the movies three times. That would cost me about a dollar instead of 30 cents. And that doesn’t include popcorn that was 10 cents a box. So you can see the financial crisis I was facing.
Fortunately, my financial situation improved in 1944. I added a few part-time jobs, and by the end of the year my little booklet was full of stamps, and I turned it in for a $25 bond. My dad said he would put it and his safe deposit box at the bank, but I kept it for a week or so because I really enjoyed looking at it.
I even took my bond to school and showed it to my teacher, Miss Orahood. She talked about War Bonds and Defense Stamps, and how important they were. Then, several other kids in the class said that they were also working toward buying a bond to help us win the war.
I was really glad I got that bond. It wouldn’t buy an airplane or anything like that, but at least it would help.
Those wishing to contact Bill Boyd can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org