Posted 4/17/2021 08:00 (#8956475 - in reply to #8955972) Subject: RE: Post by Dax
Cumberland County, TN
According to the books I've read, the 'Depression' was over by about 10 years by the time that Frank showed us his bag of white beans. They say that it started with the 'crash' of 1929 and that World War II is what got us out of it. My folks were married in '31 and my brother was born in '32 so they lived through the Depression. I guess some places in the country just took longer to recover than others. (???)
When the folks got married, there wasn't any work and so Dad moved in with Mom, Grandma and Mom's 2 brothers, Webster and Wesley. Grandpa was already dead so they didn't have a pot to pee in, as they said. Dad tried to find work but was only able to sign up for a 'relief basket' of food. To qualify for it, you had to perform some local government work. His job was to sweep the streets in Indianapolis with a push-broom as I understand.
They said that at the end of each month, all the people on their street would get evicted for failure to pay their rent and so they'd go down the street and rent a different place to live. And then at the end of that month, everybody would be moving again.
Grandma got a job at the 'Malleable Iron Works' in Indy and they said that all the workers were paid in gold coin at the time because nobody would trust the paper money after the banks closed and kept their savings.
Grandpa had left behind a toolbox of carpenter's tools and Dad asked Grandma if he could use the tools to try to find a job. He'd heard that they were building some barracks at Fort Benjamin Harrison on the east side. Dad set out before daylight and walked all the way across Indy, carrying the tools - from Speedway to Ben Harrison because he didn't have bus fare.
He got over there just after daybreak and got into a long line of guys looking for work. A 'straw-boss' came walking up the line, yanking out a guy here and there, saying that they were willing to hire carpenters. The boss looked at Dad's wooden box of tools with a shoulder strap made from a leather belt and pulled him out of the line. He apparently told Dad, "I don't reckon I need to ask you if you're a carpenter... them tools is about all worn out!" Truth was, he didn't even know what some of them were used for. :-)
So Dad got a job as a carpenter and he continued to walk across Indy every morning and every night because he didn't want to spend the money on the bus. Mom said that he'd told her that he hammered nails until he couldn't let go of the hammer handle and that he had to peel his fingers off of it to lay it down. He said that if the boss caught anybody hitting a nail 4 times, he'd get fired.
He didn't have much patience with me when he'd see me with a hammer. "Boy? You don't hit a nail more'n three times! ONCE to set it and TWO MORE to take it HOME!"
I wasn't born until after the war ended so according to the books, the Depression was over. Indeed some of the 'town kids' at school were able to wear "white bucks,' blue-suede shoes and Ivy-League pants. Others were able to sport the latest denim, trim-fitting Levi jeans and their moms would even "peg" the legs for them to fit even trimmer.
But me and my friends - we were the farm kids and our folks bought us the baggy-butt dungarees that we hated to wear. I'd often opt to wear the striped, farmer overalls because they weren't as dorky as the baggy pants.
Sis had it the worst. Girls are real conscious about their looks and Dad bought her high-top, boys' work shoes because they were more durable than girl's shoes. Mom cut Sis' hair Buster-Brown style and made her three dresses from a Butterick sewing pattern that was illustrated in the Prairie Farmer magazine. She had to wear each of the three dresses for one week because Mom only washed clothes every three weeks. The kids on the school bus and at school made her life miserable.
I guess that's how kids dressed in 1914 and if it was good enough for Mom and Dad, it was good enough for us. Once people had lived through the Depression, they never, ever seemed to live much anyway else. It was the Depression out on the farm for all the years that they lived.
My older brother told me, "I don't know what you got to be fussin' about. YOU got store-bought pants! I had'ta wear pants that Mom made for ME! She made me SHORT pants with straps that went up over my shoulders and they had two BIG BUTTONS right in the front. Heck, all the kids in my class called me MICKEY MOUSE!"