The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports


November 24, 2012

1942 wartime home front news on a lighter side


“‘Some kind of maneuvers,’ was the most commonly advanced theory here after the second visitation of the fighters. After Friday’s episode it was thought that the pilot may have lost his bearings and was trying to identify the village. A few suggested that the pilot might be some area boy in the Army Air corps who was out to give the home folks a thrill, but it was considered unlikely that Uncle Sam’s planes are available for such antics.”

Shoppers that day in Delhi, or elsewhere that month may have been looking for toys, and noticed a few differences in what was available, compared to recent years.

“Metal and labor shortages, civilian protection activities and military operations throughout the world were among the war influences evident yesterday in toy departments of local stores,” it was reported on Saturday, Dec. 12.

“Instead of the usual small red and white cars which children ordinarily pedal around, many will be riding miniature tanks. Potential airplane spotters will begin studying different aircraft on Christmas day when they receive charts containing pictures of all types of planes.”

“Jeeps, guns, tanks and similar articles are made mostly of wood. Fewer fathers will be able to spend Christmas day operating their son’s new metal train set. Just as adults have had to give up cars, children must sacrifice toy autos, since metal could not be sacrificed to make them.”

“The part that women are playing in the war has also been carried out in miniature. Army nurses sets with caps, pins, bandages and the like are on display, as well as doctor bags, including such equipment as stethoscopes.”

On Monday: The men returned from the war and competitive intercollegiate basketball returned in 1947 at the Oneonta State Teachers College.

City Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area during the Depression and before. His Monday columns address local history after the Depression. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or email him at His website is His columns can be found at

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