The rationing laws imposed on the population led to some service industries having to adapt their purpose in order to function as Rogers Smith’s father had to do with his car dealership.
Gas Rationing on the Eastern Shore
The Eastern Shore was very isolated in those days. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge wasn’t there; in order to get across to the Western Shore to go to Baltimore or Washington [D.C], you had to take a ferry to get across – and it was a very slow-moving ferry. Either that, or go north and be on the road for 2 or 3 hours to get to Washington – a couple hours to get to Baltimore. So these small villages – Church Hill, Rock Hall… and others like it – were the center of activity because people couldn’t travel.
Gasoline was rationed, and there were no new cars. My father had a new car dealership. He sold cars that you haven’t heard of before, I’m sure — Studebakers. And his business had to change from selling new cars to keeping the old ones running. Only people with a sensual occupation — doctors, nurses, rescue services — could acquire new vehicles. Everybody else could not, because the auto industry changed from building cars to building airplanes and ships.