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 Post subject: Thought I would bring it over here. Depression
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:30 am 
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Location: Depoe Bay Oregon
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Last edited by jwal10 on Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Thought I would bring it over here
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:31 am 
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Location: Depoe Bay Oregon
Well I don't know much....James


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 Post subject: Re: Thought I would bring it over here. Depression
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:42 pm 
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Location: West Central Illinois
Thanks Jim.

What a strong generation.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F4yT0KAMyo[/youtube]

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 Post subject: Re: Thought I would bring it over here. Depression
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:08 pm 
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Yes it was hard in the city but from what I can find it was even harder in ag country a depression plus a drought. Public TV had a special on the depression last week and the poor farm families facing no money, hostile bankers, drought and wind driven sand storms really had their a--- in a vice. For them to simply survive it was incredible. Not sure how many would survive today.


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 Post subject: Re: Thought I would bring it over here. Depression
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:58 pm 
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Any more good stories? Farm families had it tough but a lot of the people that went through it make it sound like it wasn't so bad. They had good times with family and friends and shared what little they had. Their world just became smaller and they made do....James


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 Post subject: Re: Thought I would bring it over here. Depression
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:42 am 
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Location: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Fordeere, I saw part of that same program on the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Yes, I think those farmers had a double whammy...fields blowing away in dust and no money to boot. Gave rise to Steinbeck's book, "The Grapes of Wrath."

I don't think farmers EVERYWHERE had that double set of circumstances.

As I've said before, I'm a mixed mouse. City mouse + country mouse. My mom grew up in Chicago, and my dad grew up on a Wisconsin farm. They were born, respectively, in 1925 and 1923. According to my mom, the farm folks did usually have enough to EAT, cause they could raise it themselves. They faced hard times, of course, but their tables usually had something on them. That aspect could be a little tougher in the city. No work, no eat.

I've mentioned this before, too, but it's worth mentioning again. Try Googling the title of a book called "We Had Everything But Money." It's published here in Wisconsin by Rieman Publications, and it's a must-read. Lots of good stories about what families went through from one end of the country to the other. Gives you a glimpse of what it was like then--in a positive way. Costs about $20.

Like James said, any more Great Depression family stories? Share 'em with us.

David


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 Post subject: Re: Thought I would bring it over here. Depression
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:29 am 
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Location: North Central Arkansas
My parents were born in 1930 and 1934 so they were too little to remember much. I spent most of my younger years following both of my grandfathers around. Both were born in the late 1880's and were farmers. When they talked about the depression it really didn't seem that bad. They had enough to eat and enough to share with an occasional traveler. My Dad's father did have to sell a big chunk of the farm to stay afloat but it was nonproductive land. My mother's folks were debt free and just had to get by with less spending money. They both told about the dust that blew in from Oklahoma and how dark the sky would be. They had to be tough but they were a proud and industrious generation that wasn't bridled by government regulations.

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 Post subject: Re: Thought I would bring it over here. Depression
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:50 am 
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Location: Northeast SD
My Mother was born in 1918 in western South Dakota...in a sod house. Over the years I heard the stories of living through the Depression to the point where I almost felt that I had experienced the same era.

I don't believe any of us can understand what those folks went through just to survive on a daily basis. Try to imagine having your cattle starving because of drought and the Government agents paying $2 a head and then shooting and burying them. Or the desperation that went into gathering newly sprouted Russian Thistles (the only thing that was growing) and canning them for your own existence come next Winter.

Today we take communication for granted. Back then you probably had to postpone sending a letter that you had written until you could afford the stamp to mail it.

Picture grasshopper swarms that would blacken the sky and wooden fence posts that would be chewed on once the hoppers moved on. And the never ending dust storms that would just leave the top reel of the binder sticking out of the sifting prairie dirt.

No, we may think that we are in tough times now...but we don't realize how fortunate we really are.


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 Post subject: Re: Thought I would bring it over here. Depression
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:39 am 
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Location: Central Nebraska
My dad was born in 1910 and mom in 1917 and got married in 1936. I know one winter before they got married that my dad worked for my mom's folks just for room and board just so he would have a place to sleep and eat. After they got married they worked for ranches in the sandhills of Nebraska during that time. Both are long gone now, but Mom told me one time that in their early married when they got to town (40 miles to the nearest town) to get necessities, their big treat was to split a candy bar. Times were tough but I think they generally had enough to eat with a big garden and beef. Needless to say, I never remember them wasting much, particularly my mother. I have her daily diary from about 1936 to 1941. Times were tough and people worked hard, but she also wrote about the drinking and fighting that went on at the local Saturday night dances and a few other things that made me realize that people had human frailities back then too.

Bookman


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 Post subject: Re: Thought I would bring it over here. Depression
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:11 pm 
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Location: Depoe Bay Oregon
My Dad was farming in Maine duing the depression. He didn't talk about it much because he said he had it so much better than most. He had a dairy and raised potatoes and cannery peas. He said he gave a lot to the neighbors who lived in town and had no jobs and no money. Mom and her parents lived in Kansas, she talked about the dust blowing across their farm in the morning from Oklahoma and blowing back in the afternoon. But she said they were lucky because although there was an inch of dust in the house it didn't stay at their farm and bury everything. She did talk about the grasshoppers though. They lived right down on the Caney River and the cattle and horses always had grass. My Grandparents worked hard but were never able to overcome the dust bowl to own land. In 1953 they all came to Oregon and Grandpa and Grandma were able to buy a small place for Grandad to raise a few cattle, have a milk cow, ride his horse and raise a big garden. They canned everything they could and when grandpa passed away we moved a lot of fruit that they canned the first 2 years before Grandad was able to find a job. He worked for a few years in a sawmill and then retired because he lost a lung to cancer. He died unexpectadly from a procedure to run a catheter to check his heart in 1968. Grandma lived until 1980 and passed from a stroke. My Mom was always thinking that things could get worse and saved things and money for "the rainy day", so much so that she didn't enjoy life as much as she could have. I guess listening to Grandpas' and Moms' stories has even affected me to a degree, I used to collect a lot of "stuff" for that "rainy day". I have always lived in suvival mode even when things were going well. I don't like to go to town and I enjoy the basic things in life. My kids say I am a "tight wad" but I hate to see things wasted. When the kids were small we ate what we had and what was on "sale in the weekly ad" They still comment on the combinations of food we ate together. Macaroni and chesee with Swiss chard, Pork chops and acorn squash, Apple, popcorn and a slice of cheese, etc. My son turned 21 yesterday and when his Mom asked what he wanted for his birthday dinner he said "Chicken pot pie and peach cobbler". So I guess even they have been affected by the "GREAT DEPPRESSION". I think because of it, we are more thankful for all our BLESSINGS IN LIFE....James


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 Post subject: Re: Thought I would bring it over here. Depression
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:53 pm 
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Location: Central Nebraska
I have read a couple of good books on the depression recently. The best is "THe Worst Hard Times" by TImothy Egan. Most of it centers around Dalhart, Texas where sand drifted like snow across the road and people did died from the dust.

The other book is "The Dirty Thirties" by William Hull. It is a book full of short personal remembrances of the depression, mostly from the Midwest.

I know times are tough now for many folks, but it was nothing compared to the 1930s. Had a conversation last night with some fellows in their 70s about handpicking corn (I can barely remember it, but my dad picked corn by hand----not only was a corn picker to expensive, he thought it wasted lots of corn). Tough life back then.

Bookman


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 Post subject: Re: Thought I would bring it over here. Depression
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:00 pm 
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Did your folks that went through the depression save everything? My Mother saved everything from large balls of string to balls of tin foil. some of it was depression caused and part of it was the scarcity during WWII, could never tell which was most responsible for the frugal nature.

When watching the films on the depression note the tight skin over the face of the individuals was, It wasn't a Nazi Concentration camp look but it was getting there.


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 Post subject: Re: Thought I would bring it over here. Depression
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:07 pm 
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Posts: 209
Location: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
My farm grandparents, Grandpa and Grandma Kronwall, were frugal their entire lives. They raised four boys on an 80-acre dairy farm in a little town 2-1/2 miles south of here called Zenda. My grandfather was born in Sweden in 1878. My grandmother was born in, I think, 1892. She was born in a home on State Line Road--between Wisconsin and Illinois.

When my uncle took over the farm, back in the late 50s, my grandparents moved temporarily to a neighbor farmer's tenant house while their new, little two-bedroom home was being built in Zenda. The tenant place was back a distance off the road and had a wood-burning stove in the kitchen. It was really just a little shack with tiny rooms in it. Old windows that rattled. Doors that never closed tight. A one-car garage sat 30 feet to the west of the house. My sister and I stayed there a couple days while our folks were out of town.

I loved that place.

It was about 1/8 mile from the railroad and feed mill, and I loved listening to the trains at night. Believe it or not, diesels were still not that common and I remember hearing the eerie whistles of those giant black steam locomotives echo through the darkness. The next morning, Grandma started a fire in the stove with newspaper and kindling. "Kindling." It's one of my favorite words. I may have first heard it in that old house. Before long, you could hear the sizzle of frying bacon and eggs in the cast-iron skillet. Fried potatoes too, of course. What a delightful smell!

And Grandma gave my sister and me coffee, with lots of milk and sugar. That used to drive my mom nuts whenever she did that, but we kids loved it. I swear I drink coffee today with two giant teaspoons of sugar because of my grandmother. And my grandfather was notorious for having a sweet tooth. His favorite treat was candy corn.

Our entertainment that day was to accompany Grandma on a walk down the long driveway, as she described every wildflower we saw. There were hundreds, and she knew every one. She also told us about every bird we saw. She was dressed the way she always was--with black, grandma shoes; a grandma-print dress; and an apron.

When we returned to the house, we strung buttons. That was our second entertainment for the day. You thread a needle on a length of thread and open the button jar. Then you thread them on, button after button, until the thread is full. You play with it for a while and then break the thread and all the buttons spill off. Then you do it all over again.

There's a term for activities like these: simple country pleasures.

My memories of going to Chicago with my city grandpa to spend the week with him and Grandma are quite different, but just as memorable.

I thank God for having both those sets of memories.

David


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 Post subject: Re: Thought I would bring it over here. Depression
PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:00 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2007 4:55 pm
Posts: 772
Location: Central Nebraska
Don't recall folks saving everything, such as tin foil but we heated with wood until about 1960, never had indoor running water (had a hand pump inside--but no hot water heater...heated any water on the stove), did not have a phone until 1962, and never had more than a pickup to drive until after my father died. Oh yes, packed a lunch well into high schools (well after everyone else was paying 30 cents for the noon lunch)---I guess folks that was too expensive and packing a lunch would save money. Did not have a haircut at a barber until maybe my last year of high school--my mother always cut my hair at home.

Bookman


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