November 27, 2008
I do not know
why I woke this morning thinking about the Great Depression.
I was eleven at the start of it.
Today is Thanksgiving Day quite a different scenario.
Back in those
days many businesses were over-extended and simply failed.
My Dad was lucky. He
was a lawyer working as a Trust Officer in a bank.
He never was out of work, but his salary was cut to $25.00 a
week. Dad and Mother had
four kids two girls first, then two boys.
Imagine feeding a family of six on that amount!
But things eased
up a bit. Dad built a
chicken house and would sometimes sell some of the fresh eggs but it
could not have been much. I
remember bread was 25 cents a loaf.
Dad also had a
garden plowed by him with a plow he pushed through the soil.
When things eased up he let much of the garden go.
I remember Mother stopped making jelly when the NEW A&P
started selling it.
To give some
work, the government hired people.
Some artists were hired to paint pictures.
I remember some displayed in our schools.
Others staffed libraries.
Still others were employed by WPA (Works Progress
did physical things like road repair, and also made trails through
forests, ending in a fireplace for toasting hot dogs and
Mother giving sandwiches to men who asked for something to eat.
They sat on steps to our back porch.
Another time a man came when no one was home.
He had to be young and agile because he climbed to the roof
of our back porch a window next to the roof was open, so he came
in the house, went to Dads bedroom and helped himself to a pair
of Dads pants and left his old ones back by a wood pile.
Nothing else was missing!
Dad was able to
send us to college girls to University of Maryland boys to
Duke University. Oldest
boy took NROTC. (I think
that is right. Naval
ROTC). My oldest brother
was commissioned. The
youngest at 18 was drafted.
My husband and I
met at Maryland, our last two years.
We were married in 1940.
His first job was with McCormick & Co.
Mine with a law firm as receptionist.
By that time, FDR had been President.
Social Security had begun.
I remember my salary started at $15.00 except that 1% was
taken for Social Security. I
made do on $14.85 per week.
FDR was elected
four terms he died during the fourth.
(Congress then passed a law limiting the President to two
It took World
War Two to bring us out of the Depression.
Let us hope history does not repeat and bring us another