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Great Depression....how did your families manage

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by mom'sfolly, Oct 8, 2008.

  1. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Crowing

    Feb 15, 2007
    Austin area, Texas
    Since the depression keeps getting brought up, I thought I'd ask what people's families did during the depression.

    My parents were children during the depression, my dad was born in 1923 (1924 if you ask his cousins) and my mom in 1932.

    Mom's parents: grandma was a nurse who helped other people for free, grandpa managed a saw mill (Lived in Everett, WA)

    Dad's parents: grandpa was a fireman on a train, and the family lived in railroad housing. great-grandpa was a section foreman. (Echo, Ut; current population probably in the 100s)

    dh mom's parents: milkman (lived in Minneapolis)
  2. redoak

    redoak Songster

    Feb 27, 2008
    Russia, NY
    I remember my father telling me stories about waiting in line for day old bread. His father was in construction so I imagine times were very tough for his family. The of course had chickens and a large garden. My mothers family had a small dairy farm with chickens, pigs, horses, and rabbits. I bet they were better off, but my mother remembers people trying to break into their house to try to steal food.
  3. Sugar Sand Farm

    Sugar Sand Farm Songster

    Apr 24, 2007
    North Florida
    My Mom grew up during the depression too. She was one of ten children I can remember jddthem talking aobut eating onion sandwhiches. They were also split up. Some fof them had to go to relatives to live. My grandfather was a carpenter. He had a very hard time. At first they lived in the city. They moved to the country and had a garden and lived off that. Funny thing is I can remember my Mom every once in awhile eating those onion sandwhiches even when she could afford better.lol
    The one thing they talked alot about was family taking care of family. They were the closest group I have seen. Even when they were married and started moving away from each other. They made a point of weekly seeing my Grandmother. I also remember she was the Queen Bee What she said they did not questions asked. They neither smoked nor drank in front of her.You don't see that kind of respect today.
  4. Becaco

    Becaco Songster

    Mar 31, 2008
    My Mother was born in 1925. I don't recall my Grandparents talking much about it. Wish I had thought to ask.

    They also at one time lived in RR cars. As far as I know they always lived in the country, had a garden, pigs and chickens. A milk cow too, I think.

    I don't know what they lived in during the depression, the RR cars maybe.

    Somwhere around the late 1930's early 40's my Grandfather built a log house all by himself. Well, I am sure that he had some help. He also split the wood shingles for the roof.

    My Uncle had the old place until 3-4 years ago. It burned. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2008
  5. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    My mom still has a notebook that her dad kept detailing EVERY PENNY that he and my grandma earned and spent during the depression. It is very humbling to read it and realize just how much we take for granted.
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    mom'sfolly :

    Since the depression keeps getting brought up, I thought I'd ask what people's families did during the depression.

    My parents were children during the depression, my dad was born in 1923 (1924 if you ask his cousins) and my mom in 1932.

    Mom's parents: grandma was a nurse who helped other people for free, grandpa managed a saw mill (Lived in Everett, WA)

    HEY! My grandpa lived in Everett WA during those times and up though his death a few years ago on the property he bought in Everett in like the 40's or so if I remember right. It was during the times where Asians were not legally allowed to purchase property as an individual, so it had to be bought as a partnership. Grandpa was born in 1920. Did electronics work, had an egg farm that sold to restaurants and so on, and had 4 kids. Maybe your parents remember my family some where along the way. Think Grandma was born in 1910 or so. She was older than grandpa by a good number of years and went to pharmacy school at the U of Washington where she was refused her degree because she was either a woman or Asian or both. My dad was born in like 42. He started school as the only Asian student that went to the Everett Single room school house and was refused a student bank account for being Asian in the late 40's too. He went out and fixed TV's starting in I think 1958 or so and still does it to this day. He paid for his school at the U of WA that way and by working hard has made my life easy by paying my school in that same way. I still live on the property he bought way back then except the place is now in the middle of the city instead of against a two lane route 99. Well I guess I'm gong to grad school out of state, so I half way still live there.

    They got though it by being optimistic, and just working on along. Maybe they were never spoiled like most of us now a days. I almost never hear them complaining about the times then, and still don't hear my dad complaining about times now, even though he's past retirement, still works by choice (enjoys work), and isn't portraying gloom and doom on all of us . He tells me it is a cycle and it can never be always up or always down.

    I'd have to say my mom's side had it just as hard as the rest, as she grew up in communist china. They only had their grandparents murdered because they were "wealthy" and uncles beaten because of a family picture with Santa meant they were traitors. They grew up where it always seemed down and white bread was a luxury treat item that is a basic food group in many places.

    I dunno, I'm 22, so young and stupid. I say suck it up, keep on working, do what you can, and don't expect government hand outs. The greedy, dishonest, and lazy often seem to get up in the world, hand outs, and support. If they can live with themselves that way, so be it. I can't so I just keep on working. But what do I know? I've never had hard times, been in debt, short on cash, or dangling by a thread in life. Just still optimistic. That said, back to work.​
  7. Chicabee19

    Chicabee19 Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    My grandpa traveled around with the WPA building things.

    The other side had a large family farm that is still being farmed today by my 70-something dad. Grew their own food and sold it too.

    Another side traveled back and forth between Okla and California - don't know what they did.
  8. MagsC

    MagsC Queen Of Clueless

    Jul 27, 2008
    My grandparents farmed. My grandma used to tell all sorts of stories about hobos and gypsies and "waste not, want not".
  9. banter

    banter Songster

    Mar 3, 2008
    Raymond Maine
    My parents were 10-12 years old during the Depression. My Mothers parents were Russian and had already suffered escaping Stalin. I think they must have thought life here back then was much better than what they had left! All the kids worked and my grandmother kept chickens and a goat in Hammond, Indiana. My Grandfather was a carpenter and was lucky enough to get a good job at one of the steel mills. My paternal Granfather was a conductor on the railroad in Chicago and had just lost his leg in an accident and could not work. My Father was farmed off to his grandparents in Ashburnham, MA to help on the farm. His younger brothers were put in an orphanage for over a year until my grandparents saved enough to be able to get them back. Everyone really pulled together to survive.
  10. mom'sfolly

    mom'sfolly Crowing

    Feb 15, 2007
    Austin area, Texas
    Silkie, my grand parents lived on Grand Ave in Everett. I can remember watching the ships and trains from the back yard. I doubt that there was much overlap with the families, simply because my mom is now 76 and her parents would be.....gotta do some math...116 and 126 if they were still alive. I know my grandpa worked through the depression, and by the time my mom was a teenager they were well off enough to have horses for my mom and aunt; but by then the depression was over.

    I think my granny must have been quite the woman in her time. She married late, had her first kid at 40 (not by choice, but by chance) was a nurse and drove at a time when most woman didn't even work and certainly didn't drive.

    I've seen pictures of my dad when he was a kid. He said he never wore shoes in the summer, they were saved for cold weather. At his grandfathers funeral he wore overalls, probably the only clothes he owned. My grandmother used to make all their clothes.

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