The Influence of the Great Depression and How It’s Saving Us Right Now

The entire world seems to be facing economic turmoil. A recession is already upon us and it looks like that recession may turn into a “Great Depression.” How will we cope with it? The answer is to look back and find out what our ancestors did when they faced a similar situation.

Roberta Estes writes a great blog called DNA Explained. She usually sticks to DNA-related and genealogy-related topics. However, she recently stepped out of that role and described how her mother, grandmother, and other ancestors handled the Great Depression of 1929 through 1939.

The article brought back many memories of my parents describing their lives during the same years. The same article also reminded me that all is not lost. As the old saying goes, “This, too, will pass.”

For a reminder of past history, you can read The Influence of the Great Depression and How It’s Saving Us Right Now by Roberta Estes at

Also, for some ideas on how you, me, and everyone else should handle this upcoming financial crisis, you can read the same article: The Influence of the Great Depression and How It’s Saving Us Right Now by Roberta Estes at

“We’re all in this together.”


You hit the nail on the head with this one, Dick. I read her blog two days ago and it brought back many memories. I had never considered how much the restrictions and shortages of life in the depression and the war that followed were similar to the “difficulties” we are experiencing today. To me, it was just a time when I was growing up and going to school. I got to thinking how my nieces, nephews, and their children have never had to face any of the challenges of those years, and I have started writing some vignettes about growing up in those years. I will share them with the younger generations.


Ah yes, About those catalogs-they could not be repurposed until the new ones came out in the Spring. Montgomery Ward had one too-not as thick as Sears as I recall. We called them our “wish books”
Then there was the button box-nothing got sent to the rag bag before stripping off all buttons. Feed sacks were washed and bleached and used for dish cloths. Piggly Wiggly was used for only staples like coffee, flour, corn meal, sugar, salt. “White” sliced bread in a wax bag was a luxury! A nickle bought a single dip ice cream cone for a Saturday treat.,,10 cents for a double dip☺Chicken or any other meat was for Sunday dinner only…unless someone went fishing☺


This is what it was really like. My parents were married in 1935 and I grew up in a Depression, WWII family. I was 6 years old when WWII was declared. I still practice many if not all of these things. We were married in 1954 and had very little money then. My husband was a hired farm hand and his salary was about $125 a month with milk, eggs and meet supplied. Our first child was born in 1955 and we had 4 more in quick succession after that, so money was always very tight. These things that I learned from my mother and grandmother were always used to keep my family fed and clothed. I made most of the clothes that my children wore, lots of them from hand me downs of older people in my family. I came from a New England and second generation German family so the motto in my house was “Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, Or Do Without.” These German immigrants were also very frugal and knew how to make something from very little.


My parents were married in 1930 and I entered this world a year later. Three generations of us lived on a farm during those early years and we had food. I was the only child for several years and I don’t remember those days, but the family story is that when they went into town to buy supplies and sell eggs, produce, etc. they always kept enough change to buy me an ice cream cone. To this day I love (“scream”) for ice cream!


Leave a Reply

Name and email address are required. Your email address will not be published.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <pre> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: