Sunday, November 15, 2009

Save Wires for War!

Kind readers, if you were thinking of calling your gramma in Florida over Thanksgiving, or your cousin in California, please--don't.

Those phone lines are required for urgent war-related business. Don't imperil that business by making a social call over the holiday.

Please make only the most urgent Long Distance calls on Thanksgiving Day, and keep those calls as brief as possible.

Dusty D found this ad while researching a Thanksgiving story to turn in to the Courier tomorrow.

Note that it is Michigan Bell that is telling its own customers to NOT use its service--in contrast to today's phone service providers, who, to some, seem intent on determinedly extracting an inordinate amount of money from one's pocket.

Perhaps Michigan Bell's ad was made in a spirit of patriotism. Or, more cynically, perhaps they knew their lines were at the maximum load already with wartime work and they didn't want to deal with thousands of irate civilian customers unable to put calls through MB's over-stressed system.

Around this time, another rationed item was coffee. Coffee was going to be officially rationed a few days after this November '42 ad. If you were caught hoarding it, which translated to buying more than 1 pound before the ration went into effect, you could be fined $10,000 or sentenced to ten years in prison.

The war was real and loomed large in the lives of Ypsilantians, when today, to many of those without a service member in the family, the war is at best just a glimpsed headline to an unread story.

--Ypsilanti Daily Press, November 24, 1942

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