The Social Experiment

This blog is about understanding and exploring what my Grandmothers experienced by living on the home front during World War II. I am going to be living, as best as I can, to the US rationing standards of 1945. This is a social experiment, not only to connect to my families past, but to explore new way to live environmentally and socially responsible. I hope to show, that by living as our grandparents did, we can reduce the amount of waste that our society throws out and live healthier and more simple lives.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Hero’s Birthday

My Grandmother Helen turned 90!

This January- my hero had her Birthday.  My Grandmother, the one who has told me the most about living out WWII rationing and life during the War turned 90 years old.  It was a wonderful time to celebrate with her and to hear some new stories.

My Grandmother is the reason that I chose to see what living under WWII rations was like.  She has an amazing story.  She was married at the beginning of the War and followed my Grandfather as he went through flight training in the south, then to California where she worked as a riveter making air planes.  She was sent back to South Dakota to live with my Grandfathers dad when she couldn’t live on base with my Grandfather, then would pack up 6 months later to join him somewhere else.  She learned to live on very little and to be happy sharing a home with other military wives, sleeping on the couch because there were not enough bedrooms. (Many bases did not have family housing).
With my hero!

My Grandmother is a strong woman – who learned how to care for herself and do what she needed to do to keep a family while my grandfather flew DC3’s from Brazil to Mexico for repairs then flew them back to Brazil (on their way to Europe).  This experiment has been a wonderful way to connect with my Grandmother and to hear the woman’s side of the story of WWII.

It was amazing to see how people honored the life of my grandmother and I was glad to be a part of it.  The history and stories of this generation is so important to hear and to remember.  They are amazing stories of survival and of finding joy in the midst of chaos.  They truly are the greatest generation and I am proud to know them and learn from them.


  1. Nice tribute, Katie.

  2. i "found" your blog just a couple of days ago and i really like it. i'm from germany and very interested in the 1940s - my grandmother was born 1914 and i learned so much from her about simple life during and after the war. when i saw the pictures of your grandmother i decided to finally leave you a comment. it is so interesting to see "the other side" in the states, compared to conditions in germany. i guess one thing all the women had in common: you had to be real clever and work with all the tricks to make something out of the bit you were able to get ;-)
    i am doing a lot of work at museums - reenacting postwar and american occupation. it is so important to remember - and i just wanted to say thank you for what you are doing.
    best wishes from germany