Maybelle Broberg

Maybelle Broberg was born on May 28, 1925 in Louriston Township, near Murdock, Minnesota. During World War II, Maybelle lived at home on the family farm. After high school she worked at the Cargill Grain Elevator and as a bookkeeper at the State Bank of Kerkhoven, Minnesota. 

In this interview, Maybelle recalls rationing, shortages, and small-town life on a family farm during World War II. She also discusses the economic impact of World War II on her life after the Great Depression, the feelings shared when soldiers were killed overseas, and the jobs she worked after the war.

Signing Up to Get Equipment

DB: What kind of other changes besides rationing did you notice right away? Does anything big stand out in your mind?

Oh, yes. We had to sign up to get a refrigerator. We had to sign up to get a tractor. It was just not available, because all of the iron was shipped out to make guns for the war.

DB: So you remember having to sit there on waiting lists for your equipment of any type basically?

Oh, yeah.

Writing Letters and Dating a Serviceman

DB:Who did you write letters to, then? Did you guys get in big groups to just write letters to whatever servicemen were from your town, or—?

It was more an individual thing, or family.

DB:Okay. Do you remember writing some letters to servicemen during the war?

[laughs] Yeah, because after I was through high school I went with a fellow in the service. So that was almost an everyday thing. [laughter]

DB:What branch of the service was he in?

He was in the Army. He never went overseas, because he had a heart problem. I don’t think that was my fault, but— [laughter]

DB:So, he was shipped around the country?

Mostly California, but I never went out to see him. And so then I got tired of waiting for him, so I started going with Edmond.

DB: And you started going with him, then, somewhere during the middle of the war?

It was December 1943. The war was still on.

DB:What would you guys do for fun when you went out?

Oh, we’d go bowling. We could bowl. [laughter] Roller skate. And church functions.

“We Lived on Hand-me-downs”

DB: Do you remember if the financial situation on the farm changed at all during the war?

Well, they probably got better, because we’d just gone through the Depression in the ‘30s. And that was really tough. I remember the Depression. Yeah, I think it was a little better.

DB: Do you remember having more of anything? Was there more to go around, or not really?

[laughs] We lived on hand me downs. And feed came in print sacks, so we had clothes, dresses, and sheets made out of feed sacks. When you grew out of something, the next daughter got what you were wearing.