Darla Downer, born in 1938, lived in New Jersey during the war. Darla discussed her father’s work as a welder, her family’s victory garden, her experience on V-J Day, and technological advancement. She also discusses her thoughts on war.


Interviewee:  Darla Downer
Interviewers:  Joseph Hood, Cherie Ciaudella, Patrick Jackson, Sara Underwood
Transcribers:  Joseph Hood, Cherie Ciaudella, Patrick Jackson, Sara Underwood
Date of interview:  6/7/2016 

Victory Garden, Canning
I remember we had a huge victory garden and mom would can just about everything, even ketchup, and she’d make tomato juice. And one afternoon we hear this ‘pop, pop, pop’ coming from the basement. All the tomato juice evidently hadn’t sealed correctly.  It had fermented, and all the tops were blowing off. What a mess! You can’t imagine what a mess.  I don’t remember cleaning it up, but somebody had to clean it up.

How Her Parents Met
Then [my father] met my mother.  She was leading a calf in a 4H parade in a little town, Elizabeth, Illinois.  And at that time, he was driving an oil truck. She was 17, he was 27.  They, I guess, struck up a little acquaintance, and he would visit every time he came through town. He sent her an engagement ring in the mail, and picked her up one day when he was passing through, and they were married.  They were married in ’36.  Well… I guess she loved him dearly, and she was just happy to get an engagement ring. But I often said to her, ‘Mom, you must have been the scandal of the town,’ because my dad was a good looking guy, and she was very pretty.  [It’s like] that song, that she left the suds in the bucket and the clothes on the line and took off, and that was all she wrote.