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Old armband brings back memories
Random Thoughts, February 16
Dave Martin's armband
DAVID MARTIN proudly displays the armband he wore as a 13-year-old boy while living in Neenah, WI and was part of a “United States Citizens Defense” group. Among David’s childhood memorabilia from World War II is a “War Bond” that he purchased with 25-cent payments.

MUSCODA - David Martin, rural Muscoda, will be celebrating his 92nd birthday next month and one of his prized possessions is an old armband. He wore it with pride when he was a 13-year-old kid growing up in Neenah in northeast Wisconsin. He rode his bicycle, serving as a “messenger” for the ‘United States Citizens Defense Group.’ He recalls training for his delivery duties.

David notes: “That was during World War II when we all worked together – we weren’t Republicans or Democrats – we were all Americans.”

Later, after the war, David served in the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers with time spent in Germany.

Among Dave’s other WWII memoranda are several partially used ration books. Wartime brought with it many shortages of food items, tires, gasoline, various repairs and many other common items. For moms and dads to buy eggs, sugar, meat and many common grocery items, they needed to have the appropriate government issued ‘ration stamps.’ David has several partially used books of those stamps.

At that same time vehicles needed windshield stickers that designated the amount of gasoline that could be purchased at a time. Stickers ranged from ‘A’ through ‘C,’ depending on the needs of the vehicle owner. As a result friends often car-pooled, even for short trips. David remembers that tires were tightly rationed and were in short supply.

Youngsters like David could also contribute to the war effort by using what little money they earned, or were given, to purchase special war savings stamps that cost 25 cents each. When the youngster reached $18.75 worth of stamps they could be traded for a $25 War Bond, which would mature to full value in 10 years. David still has a couple of those bonds, which can no longer be redeemed,

David has been a resident of this area since 1994. He served as member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing the Neenah-Menasha area from 1960 to 1970. He became aware of Muscoda and the Wisconsin River area through the late James Azim, Muscoda native and attorney who represented this area in the Assembly.