Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Memories from the Great Depression

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Though this coming recession will not equal the depth of the Great Depression (25% of the work force thrown out of work), it may last longer. Bush has totally screwed the economy, the dollar, the safeguards, and anything else he could get his incompetent uncaring hands on.

At any rate, this story by Amy Wilson recounts some memories from the 30’s. It begins:

The worldwide economic depression that began on Oct. 29,1929, is still everywhere if we’d look. Our infrastructure got built, our population shifted forever, our national character was forged.

But for some reason, the lessons have been lost.

Geneva Spickard draws a long line to represent a bunch of celery and divides it into thirds. She laments that her daughter only uses the middle third.

“You can put the the leafy part into your salads and the stem into your soups. This is such a wasteful generation.”

The nation’s lawmakers stare down a $700 billion bailout that promises to save the economy from ruin. Ruin is not a relative term.

For those who lived it, the Great Depression has been seared into them like a scar or worn like a talisman they can touch any time they want.

We visited a few who lived it. They remembered.

At the depths of the Depression, over one-quarter of the American workforce was out of work.

A certain teenage boy faction of Geneva Spickard’s family were, she says, “natural born thieves.” They were the ones who took clothes off the line, cooling pies out of windows and, once, a whole box of rock candy off a loading dock.

The loading dock was just off Rat Road near Sistruck’s storage house, near where Rupp Arena is now. It was the ’30s and Wallace, Willoughby and Walter, the natural born thieves, meant no real harm.

As for herself, Geneva Spickard would “bum but never steal,” regularly going to Sistruck’s to find the discarded kale and cabbage leaves that her family used to make a vegetable soup. Sometimes rotted apples could be salvaged. “A half an apple is better than none.”

She would regularly walk to the dump to find discarded office paper to use in school.

Her family, who lived on Chair Avenue, were evicted when she was, perhaps 2, and her father sent his small family to his wife’s parents’ home in the mountains for a few months because they could better feed his children.

She cannot recall her mother ever crying during those hard times. Neither can she remember her mother ever kissing her. That was Daddy’s job.

“But she kept the wheels grinding.”

The family never went hungry. They never had dirty clothes. …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

29 September 2008 at 10:42 am

Posted in Daily life

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