CARE packages: “The thrill of these parcels arriving”

Three dolls received in parcels from America 1946-49

Rosemary Iszatt (nee May) told us:

Living in London in 1946 I was 7 years old and my sister Valerie was 10 years old. That year and each year from the mid ’40s to the early ’50s, usually just before Christmas, our family received a parcel from America.

The thrill of these parcels arriving is a lasting memory for me to this day.

On the kitchen table we would open this exciting box, and inside we would find:

Dried peaches
Tinned fruit
Tinned meat

... and most exciting, wrapped in ladies and children’s clothes, were DOLLS! pretty hankies! and books! (All things we didn’t have as rationing was still very much a part of our lives.) I still have three dolls dressed in their original outfits, and two embroidered hankies.

Two hankies received in CARE packages
Two hankies in parcels from America 1946-1950

One November in the parcel was a large joint of beef, it looked very dark and old, but once mother had roasted it, it was the most amazing meat I had ever tasted.

We knew the name and address of the lady who sent the boxes, a Miss Emily Palmer living in California. Mother always made sure to send thank you letters.

Now we have the internet we have been able to find out more about Emily Palmer. She was a single lady, a teacher, and a lecturer at Berkeley University. She wrote a number of books including the history of the clothing industry in San Francisco. With the help of the internet I have been able to purchase a reprint of this book.

I still do not know how or why we were chosen to receive these parcels.

Last year, at our granddaughter’s primary school, my husband and I gave a Power Point presentation about our ‘wartime’ childhood. We included my receiving ‘CARE’ parcels.

The children were very interested, asking questions for half an hour!

Share your story

If you or your family or someone you know received a CARE package, please get in touch to tell us your story:

  • fill in the form below
  • call us on 0800 320 2233

We’re very happy for you to just share a few memories or your full story – as much or as little as you want to share. And if you have any photos or other memorabilia to go with your story, please let us know. We’ve created an online home for memories about the original CARE packages (and we feature longer stories on our website too). We think it’s important that the stories aren’t forgotten and that future generations can share them.

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.