Billy and June's First Year of Marriage — 1945 - 46
A housing shortage, ration stamps, frequent moves—the first year of married life for Billy and June was anything but smooth and peaceful. However, all of June's reminiscences of the period were pleasant, even though she acknowledged the logistics were sometimes difficult.
Here is a map showing their travels.
She put her bookkeeping training to work right from the start, keeping this notebook of household expenses. Finding the little notepad among her papers gave us a mundane, but fascinating, look at everyday life as the war came to a close and the country made the transition to peacetime. The PDF file of the notebook is a scan of it in its entirety, covering May, 1945–April, 1946, and it is amazing in its detail. If any relatives are curious about how much the newlyweds spent on their birthday presents during that period, the information is probably here! Along with interesting glimpses into social and economic history. Here are a few sample pages:
|This page details the necessities of moving to McAllen||They took advantage of living in the Valley to take a trip to Mexico in July of 1945||Anticipating a cold winter in Enid, Oklahoma—note the purchase of antifreeze|
|Getting ready for Christmas in Mississippi||I wonder what was wrong with the jeans...?||Hattiesburg, Miss., must have had a symphony...|
The tree decorations noted above on the left might be showcased in this unfortunately damaged and undated photograph. Since it was found with other photos from early in their marriage, I like to think that it shows their first Christmas tree:
The young couple spent a relatively long time in Mississippi, compared with their other stops, and visited some Biloxi tourist attractions, going by these photos—Beauvoir, Jefferson's Davis' plantation, and the beach:
|The picture in the middle has the following written on the reverse: "April, 1946, Biloxi, Miss.–June, Jim Marquis–Beauvoir, home of Jefferson Davis." The others only had "April 1946" on them, so I assume they were all from the same trip. Jim Marquis was a buddy of Billy's in training after the war and his wife Martha, shown with him below, was a good friend of June's. The picture of Billy and Jim below might have been taken at the Biloxi beach, but it is unlabelled. The one of Billy and June has the note "April, 1946, Biloxi, Mississippi" on the reverse.|
Another picture that was taken while Billy and June were in Mississippi was this one. It might have been taken at the same time as their anniversary photo, seen at the top of the "Final Missions" page (June seems to be wearing the same dress). The stamp at the right is on the reverse of this photo, so we know, at least, when and where it was developed. Meridian is about 75 miles north of Hattiesburg, where they were living in April of 1946:
Presumeably trips were a little easier to take in the spring of 1946 than they were the year before, when gas rationing was a hard fact of life. Other commodities were also rationed all during the war. For those of us who've never had to live with such restricitons, the following artifacts make it seem very real. The National World War II Museum has more photos and information on the rationing program.
|We found this leather case holding several sheets of leftover ration books; the books had the warning on the right:|
|In the case were two of June's ration books and one of Billy's; each had the same Instructions page:|
|Here are images of the ration stamps left in the books—quite a gallery of weapon and patriotic art:|