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oldtanker

OT: RE: Great depression/old people stories.

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Don't want to hijack the Great Depression thread:

My MIL was born in 1935 so she really doesn't remember the depression as much as she would like people to think. And some of the stories comes up with are amusing.

Couple of years ago she was telling her walk to school in MN through snow story and our youngest son blurted out  "yea I bet you were barefoot too and that great grandma wrapped barbed wire around your feet for traction!" 

Rick

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Mom said their cow got into some garlic and the milk had a garlic smell to it for a while. She didn't talk a lot about the depression but that story stands out in my memory.

Dennis

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A number of years ago we were digging a antique orchard sparayer out of a barn that my Grandpa wanted to donate to a local farming museum. While digging it out we found a petrified chicken egg around it. The chickens were gone when my Dad was little and he didn't remember them running loose. My Grandpa goes "Yeah, we stopped having them run loose because every morning the stupid chickens would have a competition it seemed to see who could get to the road first and get hit by a car. We had A LOT of chicken dinners because of that. One of the chores i did was scrape the dead bird out the road so it could be plucked and cleaned" 

Scrapping up roadkill for dinner. That had to been yummy.

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I recall one of my teachers in school telling about someone he interviewed about that time period. A man who worked at maytag. Said last 2 or 3 days of the week before his next pay check he would take coffe grounds and bread and make coffe sandwhiches to get by till nxt check.

Grandparents on both sides farmed and got by somehow, on moms side grandpa worked at maytag starting in 29 or 30 i believe till the end of ww2, as well as farmed. Dads side moved to the area and bought a regular. After depression hit he couldnt affird the rent on that farm the nxt year and had to move. Not sure how he kept going but he did and was ok by end of ww2 as well. Ended up owning several farms at end of war or shortly after.

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One Grandpa was born in 1914, the other in 1920. 

The older one, quit school in the 3rd grade (before the depression) and started working on the farm.  During the depression, he left home at 14 or 15 and 'wandered around' alot.  He had some stories of jumping on freight trains and riding around the country with one of his friends.  Said they were usually hungry and broke, but somehow always had chewing tobacco and usually some whiskey.

The other grandpa (born in 20), their family was so poor that they didn't know much about the depression.  They farmed, and were poor before, and poor during, but at least they had food that they grew.  They cut a lot of firewood (northern MN) and cut pulp wood in the winter. 

They all seemed to get by ok, but you could always tell later in life that they didn't have much when they were younger.  They saved a lot of stuff that was broken or worthless "JUST IN CASE"

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58 minutes ago, Mudfly said:

 

They all seemed to get by ok, but you could always tell later in life that they didn't have much when they were younger.  They saved a lot of stuff that was broken or worthless "JUST IN CASE"

Very true, and I have inherited that same attitude. Waste not, want not. It still works. I've heard all the stories. Still got the journals family members wrote through those times. One relaitive liked to draw and write but could not afford to waste money on paper so he did all his work on "recycled" paper. Old soup tin labels, cement bags, etc. Amazing to look at it now and realize just how little they got by on. 

Grace hauling water.jpg

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Old Dan Tucker was a mighty fine man

washed his face in a frying pan

combed his hair with a wagon wheel

died with a toothache in his ear

 

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One of my mom's stories when she was little girl and hungry she'd sneak a piece of bread, sprinkle a little bit of sugar on it and wet it with a couple of drops of water for a sweet snack.

Of course she had a few others when they didn't have much of anything. On my father's side his father signed off the farm and worked for Ma Bell, so while everyone suffered his family was a little better off than many.

For anyone who's interested in a good book that includes abject poverty as only part of the story read Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. It's set both in Limerick and Brooklyn.

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My Mother was born in 1927.  They and the whole area was poor, so they didn't know any differently until after the war.  She talks about having her dresses made out of flour sacks.  She saved bent nails and glass bottles religiously.  LOL!

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Grandpa was born in 26 and said they didn’t notice a lot abou the depression. They were poor and farmed. The one story I remember him telling me (in 2012 when we had a horrible drought) was that it hadn’t been that hot for that long since 1936. He said that summer they took their mattresses out in the yard and tied rope between the trees hoping for a breeze in the night to get some relief. Not depression related but same time frame. He never lived in a house with AC in his entire life.

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"Mom, and Pop', (Gramma, and Grampa), went through the depression, as did my Dad and Mom. I think I was about 12 before I got something for Christmas, that didn't have the same wrapping paper as the year before. I just thought somebody had bought a bunch of one kind, until I realized that it was getting saved from year to year. :o

Mike

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My dad was born in 1919, the middle son, one brother 10 years older and 1 10 years younger with 4 sisters scattered in between the boys. His dad, my grandfather, died of a heart attack in 1929, leaving my grand mother with 7 kids from 1 to 20.  He had owned and operated a one man neighborhood grocery store in the city.  They owned 3 lots on the out skirts of town and had a big garden.

The 2 older girls went to work in a grocery closer to home owned by a friend of my grandfather and the 2 older boys, my dad being one of them, went to work in the chicken slaughter house across the street. Even with the 4 working my grandmother couldn't afford the taxes during the depths of the depression so the slaughter house owned paid her taxes. My dad thought very highly of "Sam" till the day my dad passed away in 1982. My dad refused to eat chicken as long as he lived lol. He told about at the age of 14 of working all day then getting up 2 in the morning to drive the company truck to the market in Elkhart IN, about 100 miles away, while Sam was sleeping in the passenger seat. These were not today's roads, but the 1920s when the first decent roads were being constructed. Today I don't know why they took the slaughtered chickens that far.

When I was growing up, we lived 2 doors from Grandma. My job everyday was to take our dog for a walk and stop by grandma and make sure she was ok. She received $40 a month SS and rented the upstairs to a retired widower for $60. To give her a little more spending money, the brothers and sisters bought a loaf of homemade white bread for a $1 on Saturday night. My dad absolutely refused to buy one. He said I ate that growing up, no more, now I'm buying bread (Butternut white bread) from a bakery. So Grandma would make sure there was a little extra dough and make me a small loaf of bread :). During the week, there was always a molasses cookie in the bread box for me. The dog got her table scraps. Needless to say I was close to her. So was the  dog.:rolleyes: When she moved to the nursing home there was no reason for me to stop at her house. The dog (a Norwegian Elkhound) would put the brakes on and I'd literally have to pull him all the rest of the way home.

 

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1 hour ago, Sledgehammer said:

Grandpa was born in 26 and said they didn’t notice a lot abou the depression. They were poor and farmed. The one story I remember him telling me (in 2012 when we had a horrible drought) was that it hadn’t been that hot for that long since 1936. He said that summer they took their mattresses out in the yard and tied rope between the trees hoping for a breeze in the night to get some relief. Not depression related but same time frame. He never lived in a house with AC in his entire life.

My Grandpa was born the same year. He mentioned a bad drought and heat wave that same year. They were binding oats. The binder was pulled by a team yet as the farm didn't have a tractor yet. They couldn't get anything done as they couldn't compete a single pass in the field without stopping because the team would get too hot. Finally they got a neighbor with a tractor to pull the binder so they could get done for the thrasher to come. Bought a tractor 2 years later when they got the money saved up for one.

Right after my parents were married my Great grandmother died leaving a empty house that my Dad bought from his Dad. Cleaning out the house from her the one thing they found tons of. Empty bread wrappers. Years and years worth. She washed them out and put them away. Even the plastic bags from her later years. Never wasted anything.

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5 hours ago, Rawleigh99 said:

My Mother was born in 1927.  They and the whole area was poor, so they didn't know any differently until after the war.  She talks about having her dresses made out of flour sacks.  She saved bent nails and glass bottles religiously.  LOL!

I remember seeing some show one time about clothing made from flour sacks and that they actually started making flour sacks with some patterns for awhile just for that reason.

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Re:  flour sack clothing

Flour sacks were being used for clothing well up into the 1950's.  I was just a kid (born in '43)-------but it seemed there was competetion amongst the different flour brands for having the most popular designs.  With women being the cooks and doing the sewing-------a special design on the flour sack may have taken precedent over the quality of the flour??

My mother (born 1915-----with long lasting habits carried over from the depression) made me several shirts from flour sacks--------which were passed on down to my younger brother.  We were proud to have them-----and they were very durable.  Saw lots of girls wearing flour sack dresses to school out here in the country in the early '50s..

People don't seem to sew nor bake like they used to.  I reckon most all flour is packed in paper bags now????  Flour used to be a big item-----I remember seeing some large families purchase it by the barrel (wonder how much weight per barrel)

Interesting stories being told here-----good thread.

Tough times-------make tough people.

 

DD

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Kinda interesting some of the stories. I noticed with my parents that both didn't throw anything away. Dad was pretty good and would judge weather something was usable or not. Mom turned into a terrible hoarder. My MIL who really doesn't remember the depression but grew up dirt poor too is a terrible hoarder. I'll never forget coming home on leave my MIL proudly giving my wife a bunch of used underwear she had bought at yard sales for our kids. We were staying with my parents at the farm so dad and I burnt them that evening. Yea my kids wore hand me downs and stuff my wife bought at yard sales to save money but we could afford new underwear!

Rick

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anytime we were going to build something my grandpa would bring out the 5 gallon bucket of old nails had to straighten them all out before starting a project, also he would talk of the dry years in the 30,s they moved their cows up to northern Wisconsin from the central part during summer , there was no feed around here then and that was a lot of woods, also would go into the woods and get fence posts mostly ash and split into 3 or 4 pieces.

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2 hours ago, oldtanker said:

Kinda interesting some of the stories. I noticed with my parents that both didn't throw anything away. Dad was pretty good and would judge weather something was usable or not. Mom turned into a terrible hoarder. My MIL who really doesn't remember the depression but grew up dirt poor too is a terrible hoarder. I'll never forget coming home on leave my MIL proudly giving my wife a bunch of used underwear she had bought at yard sales for our kids. We were staying with my parents at the farm so dad and I burnt them that evening. Yea my kids wore hand me downs and stuff my wife bought at yard sales to save money but we could afford new underwear!

Rick

 Was that used or new barbed wire she wrapped her bare feet with for traction in the snow when walking to school??

Funny------haven't stopped laughing yet.🤣😂

 

DD

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My grandpa told the story of 4 of them going to tend the smudge pots on orange groves over the winter in California.  They had like $20 between all of them so they left Iowa in the winter and drove out there to look for work.  They worked all winter and came back with what they went out with.  He said they was a guy asking for money on a street corner for money/investors for an business, said he met Walt Disney before anyone knew him.  Said he always wished he had given him some money.  One of the guys also gave another one exlax chocolate bar while going through the mountains.  Grandpa would laugh every time he told that one.  He passed away in 85 while I was in 5th grade, so many questions I'd have if I could talk to him today.  He only went to the 6th grade but he was very sharp and knew more then I do today at 44.

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3 hours ago, Delta Dirt said:

 Was that used or new barbed wire she wrapped her bare feet with for traction in the snow when walking to school??

Funny------haven't stopped laughing yet.🤣😂

 

DD

DD with my MIL I'd bet she'd say that it was old and rusty cause they couldn't afford new🤣!

Rick

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3 hours ago, Pete1468 said:

My grandpa told the story of 4 of them going to tend the smudge pots on orange groves over the winter in California.  They had like $20 between all of them so they left Iowa in the winter and drove out there to look for work.  They worked all winter and came back with what they went out with.  He said they was a guy asking for money on a street corner for money/investors for an business, said he met Walt Disney before anyone knew him.  Said he always wished he had given him some money.  One of the guys also gave another one exlax chocolate bar while going through the mountains.  Grandpa would laugh every time he told that one.  He passed away in 85 while I was in 5th grade, so many questions I'd have if I could talk to him today.  He only went to the 6th grade but he was very sharp and knew more then I do today at 44.

I think a lot of those old timers were pretty sharp. No computers to lean on. 😎 i know i always thought my grandpa was pretty sharp.

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23 hours ago, 1967806 said:

remember seeing some show one time about clothing made from flour sacks and that they actually started making flour sacks with some patterns for awhile just for that reason.

I remember that very well, color printed flower/etc patterns on the sacks, washed them and then mom used them to make dresses.

best, randy

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38 minutes ago, Randy Sohn said:

I remember that very well, color printed flower/etc patterns on the sacks, washed them and then mom used them to make dresses.

best, randy

Not a dress for you I hope? :D

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55 minutes ago, 1967806 said:

Not a dress for you I hope? :D

Nope, but seems to me (IIRC) that many of the neighbor ladies wore feed sack dresses.  Again, IIRC, my mother made me a Roy Roger's cowboy western shirt of that material.

best, randy (Feb 1, 1934)

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2 hours ago, Randy Sohn said:

I remember that very well, color printed flower/etc patterns on the sacks, washed them and then mom used them to make dresses.

best, randy

Randy--------there were always rumors at my school that a few girls wore flour sack drawers.  But I never got around to investigating that situation.

You are a little older than me  (plus with being an old crop duster pilot)--------maybe you can add comments on the girls wearing flour sack drawers rumor.🤠

 

DD

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