“You must have a lot of memories of the war.”

I do-—I was a Junior Commando.

“During World War II, the folks back home in the United States undertook a series of conservation measures which included rationing, production of food in home “Victory” gardens for one’s own use, and collections of scrap materials to be remanufactured into war materiel. The first scrap drive was for aluminum in the summer of 1941 (Schoenherr). Many different kinds of items were eventually collected, including iron, steel, rubber, copper, brass, aluminum, zinc, lead, paper, tin cans, nylon, silk, cooking fats, and rags (Utah 36). There were a number of drives in 1941 and 1942, many of which involved children, but one of the more significant events occurred in June, 1942 when Harold Gray’s popular Little Orphan Annie newspaper comic strip introduced a story line in which his plucky orphan girl decided to help the war effort by organizing children to collect scrap. For a name for her organization Annie chose “Junior Commandos.” Having had some previous military experience in single-handedly blowing up Nazi submarines(!), Annie assumed the top rank of colonel – Colonel Annie – and organized the children along military lines. Though Annie’s efforts were, of course, only in the funny pages, real groups organized in the same way were launched within a month (Houston).

Annie’s fans would have it that, “By the fall of that year, there were ‘close to 20,000 JCs enrolled and filed under localities throughout Metropolitan Boston’ alone!”

I lived in Boston.


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