For Those That Romanticize The Great Depression, Did You Know?

Romantic yes? - The Great depression
United States
July 11, 2008 4:32pm CST
The last couple of days I have been reading discussions that actually romanticize, one of the worst periods of our American history. We glorify grand parents who survived this time period and knew how to weather the storm. I have read Americans described as soft, lazy and stupid. I want to remind everyone of the real horrors of that period of time. This was not a romantic era, but one filled with real nightmares and grief. American children died of starvation and lack of medical care. I know my own grandmother who was an migrant share cropper lost twin infant sons in 1935. My mother was born in 1933, was raised in the cotton fields. I will not be debating differing views on whether or not we are heading in this direction as a nation or not, I just wish to remind everyone that the Great Depression is not a time to actually be nostalgic about, and weepy eyed at how strong our grandparents and great grandparents were for braving this difficult time. ? The Great Depression started in 1929 ??The Stock Market Crash was one of the main reasons for the Great Depression. Billions of dollars of stocks were lost. ? The Stock Market crashed on October 29, 1929. This day is known as "Black Tuesday." ? As a result of the crash unemployment went up, people lost their homes, people were very poor and could not afford the necessities of life. ? Fifty percent of the children in the United States did not have "adequate food, shelter, clothing, or medical care." Some went completely without these necessities. Children started fainting because they did not have enough to eat. ? Many people had to go to soup kitchens to get food. The lines were very long. People would spend all day waiting in line just to get a small meal. Soup kitchens were run by charities. ? Some people did not even have a soup kitchen to go to. People had to pick trash to find food. ? In the 1920s there were no governmental programs to help those who had fallen on hard times. As a result of the Great Depression we know have many governmental agencies to help in times of need. ? People did not have money for necessities so there was no way they were going out and buying things they did need. Companies that sold items such as car and other appliance that were selling like crazy before the depression were not selling anything. So production factories stop making money so more people lost jobs. ? People who did have jobs made barely enough to survive. Hired farm hands only made $216.00 a year. A doctor made $3,382.99 a year. ? A few years later things became worse for Americans when the Dust Bowl started. In the area of the Dust Bowl people suffered from a severe drought and dust storms. ? Dust was everywhere: lungs, food, drinks, houses, furniture, bodies. ? Many people fled their homes to get away from the dust. They had little food and no place to stay. They lived in old cars, boxcars, and some on the streets. ? The Dust Bowl most of the crops in the affected region. So there was little food to go around. ? Many people were headed west to start over where there was no dust. Many people went to California. Others had no choice but to stay behind and suffer. ? People who had savings in banks lost all their money. Banks had lent the money out and there was no money to pay it back. Today we have protection when we put our money in the bank thanks to laws past as a result of the Great Depression. ? Many people lived in settlements where they built shacks out whatever they could find. These settlements for called Hoovervilles, named after President Hoover. ? President Herbert Hoover in office in the beginning of the Great Depression. He was blamed for "doing too little too late." ? Some people would go into restaurants and pretend they were going to order when the waitress went back into the kitchen they would poor all the stuff on the table like ketchup, salt, pepper, etc into their water. They would drink it down before the waitress came back and then they would tell her that they changed their minds and they didn't see anything on the menu they wanted. This drink mixture was called "Hoover soup." ? African Americans were hit hardest during the depression. Companies laid off African Americans before others. ? Many farmers could not pay off their loan they had taken out so the bank would take their belongings and auction them off. ? In order to protect each other friends and neighbors would go to the auctions and pay low prices for the property and give it back to the original owner. They would refuse to pay very much money. These auctions are referred to as penny auctions. ? In 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt became president. ? Mrs. Roosevelt received thousands of letters from children begging for money, clothes, books, food, and other things for their families. Segregation prevented them from finding many options for housing. ? Franklin D. Roosevelt came up with a New Deal policy to help get America out of the Great Depression. ? Some programs created under the New Deal are still around today: Social Security, National Recovery Administration, and Securities and Exchange Commissions. ? FDIC was created as a result of the Depression. This makes sure we do not lose money we put in the bank. ? FDR used to talk to the nation on the radio. His talks are known as fireside talks. He would encourage the nation during his speeches. ? The Great Depression is said to have ended in 1939. ? World War II made the United States economy go up. Factories and farms were once again needed to produce products and food overseas. used from http://students.umf.maine.edu/~nielsemj/thegreatdepression/d1.html
8 people like this
20 responses
@LouRhi (1502)
• Australia
11 Jul 08
Thanks for sharing this wonderful information with us all Anglewhispers. I think that it is important that we all remember where we came from and just how tough life has been at times in the past. I know that there are many people who struggle in today's world yet we sometimes tend to forget just how hard it has been in the past. The Great Depression did not just hit the United States, most of the developed world in of that time also suffered similar plights to the ones you mentioned here, though not always to the same level. What I want to question though is why you said "I just wish to remind everyone that the Great Depression is not a time to actually be nostalgic about, and weepy eyed at how strong our grandparents and great grandparents were for braving this difficult time." I think that people who survived this time should be remembered for their strength and bravery. They did what they had to do. Sure there were those that gave up and families that were destroyed but there were also stories of joy and courage and there were even loves found during this time. I don't believe the depression was avoidable. If anything it was inevitable and a necessity. Look at all the positives that eventually came from it.
@LouRhi (1502)
• Australia
11 Jul 08
When I first read your discussion it was from an email notification and had no idea what had possessed you to start such a topic. I have been away from the lot lately so had no idea of other discussions that were going on. After responding I read some of the other responses and realised that I had not completely understood what you were saying. Yes there was much suffering and sorrow of the time. I certainly do not want to dispute that. My father born, to a single woman in 1929, here in Australia, led a very tough childhood. At 6 years old he was on the street corner selling papers before school to help his mum get enough money to buy food. Of course there would be many times when the school was closed due to the fear of polio and other contagious diseases that could not be controlled. I realise that things were not as bad here as they were there but it was still not easy and dad has told me many a story of the hardships they faced as he was growing up. I still stand by my comment of there being love in during this time. There had to be, those that survived could not have done so otherwise. (Aside from that I am an eternal optimist and always look for a bright side) However now I understand the message you were trying to get across. As for seeing the war in Iraq as romantic...that is far from my views, I think that the war could have been avoided or should have. I am rather glad to be seeing our soldiers returning home but that is a discussion for another day. You are right people do need to be reminded of the darker days in history. So many people complain about the quality of life in current times yet compared to days gone by, or the starving kids in third world countries we have much to be thankful for. It is important that we remind ourselves of the past so that we can try and avoid similar circumstances in the future.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Jul 08
Thank you very much LouRhi for that :))
@Pigglies (9335)
• United States
12 Jul 08
I didn't know anyone romanticized it. The only things I've heard about people who survived it in our family, is that that is why they tend to save everything, because they had nothing. But not that it was a good thing. One of my great aunts used to actually wash plastic spoons and forks for years and years after for fear of throwing things away and not having enough. That never made me think "oh, I wish I could have been there."
3 people like this
• United States
12 Jul 08
Pigglies, that is a very common thing for older people that lived through the depression. I am sure glad I was not there in that particular era of history.
2 people like this
@p1kef1sh (45696)
11 Jul 08
Where does one start Angel? OK. Clearly over here we had our own depression post WW1 but whilst the twenties were very hard and there was much poverty, I don't think that it could be fairly compared to the deprivations that occurred in the US. My grand parents in Law moved to Canada for a better life in the late twenties and my FIL and his younger brother were both born there. By all accounts they were reduced to begging. It was not a time that my grandmother in law was ever happy to discuss. They came back to the UK just before WW2 and never left. My FIL went back to Canada in the 50s but things weren't a whole lot better then. So he came home again. I have a great deal of respect for the fortitude and perseverance of the many Americans that were dispossessed and eked out a meagre and pitiful existence in those pre-war days. In a rather perverse way, the war saved many from certain starvation. I worry that we aren't slowly slipping that way again. I note that today two US mortgage companies lost 50% off their values. It's a worrying time.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Jul 08
I did not really pay attention to the news tonight Pikey, The state of things does worry me. Thank you so much for sharing your story and just a bit more about you :))
1 person likes this
@p1kef1sh (45696)
12 Jul 08
I am afraid that it got worse Angel. A major US lender, the IndyMac Bank from California went bust overnight. This will put increased pressure on borrowers and lenders.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jul 08
yikes Pikey, again I have not had the opportunity to see any news, what is alarming is the rate at which its happening.
@fwidman (11515)
• United States
11 Jul 08
My mother survived the Great Depression. She never once talked about it in such a way as to make me think she felt nostalgic or even remotely thought of it in romantic terms. She and her family suffered greatly during those years. The only good thing 6that came out of those years for her is that she felt lucky she had survived. Lucky for me too, or I wouldn't be here
• United States
11 Jul 08
Me too Fwidman :)) Some of the stories I use to hear sitting around the adult woman in my family as they cooked and baked at holidays, would give a child nightmares. Hands bound in dirty bandages, bleeding and festering from picking cotton, all the while wages for the day pennies. Some have said that our Grand parents and parents were grateful for the little they had. I have no doubt of that, because when all you have is a cardboard shelter and a few pennies to feed a family I suppose you are grateful for a thimble full of rain water to drink.
1 person likes this
@fwidman (11515)
• United States
11 Jul 08
I have no doubt that they were grateful. Someone that is starving would be happy with anything edible. I know if I were in that position I'd be very thankful
2 people like this
@dizzblnd (3073)
• United States
12 Jul 08
It was a rough time. I did not know about some of the this the article mentioned before today, and for that Angel I thank you for giving me my "learn something new everyday" challenge. I have never heard stories from my Grandparents on my mothers side talking about this time.. my dads parents lived too far away to share their stories, However, my dad just gave my daughter the memoirs of his great grandfather, to read just last night. I will have to read it and see how they were able to survive. My husbands grand parents talked about this era a LOT. I was always fascinated and amazed by the stories of survival. They had 5 kids. I am not sure how many were born during the depression. However, the Depression gave them the strength they needed to beat it, "Grandpa" built a successful retail business, made furniture and opened his own store. The kids worked on the farm. Thank you for reminding us of those times. I just hope something is done soon... because although my husband likes to deny it, along with many others in the political world.. we are headed for or are already deep in a recession. I don't want to cause any political stuff for my last statement.. this is just my sole opinion that I am entitled to Thanks again for the eye opener
2 people like this
• United States
12 Jul 08
Afternoon Dizz :))) one of the things that compelled me to post is because of the denial that we are heading into a deep reccession. "mental recession" spurred a few debates of which I was a part of and was flabbergasted at the apathy we have all fallen into. like you I did not want this discussion to become a debate, just to be able to share with each other :)))) Thank you. What a precious gift to your daughter btw! How neet. That is something she will have to pass on to her daughter and on down the line. My grand mother could not even read and write anything other than her name. When you grow up in the cotton fields there is not much education. But she was a brilliant woman.
• United States
12 Jul 08
It is a very sad thing. And I will say that though we may not be in a Depression yet. We still have starving kids. We still have poor enough that they do not know what is going to happen next. I was told that the GREAT USA is a rich country and they are so right. I can not think of anywhere else I would want to live. But we need to address the things that are happening here,instead of turning a blind eye. I, know of people that are losing jobs and really have no where to turn. If you are already at poverty level when this happens,What do you do? Thanks for your education in this and I hope that it will open some eyes.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Jul 08
rhodges, welcome to mylot :)) I live in a small farming town as well as we re seeing more and more of what you describe in your response. That is exactly why I posted this, some attitudes are that those low income works regardless of how hard they fight to make a living deserve what is dish out in life to them, because they made poor choices along the way. That is not the case and is a generalization. I wanted to remind people that sometimes a body of people have no control over what happens when government holds the purse strings. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I do so hope you enjoy Mylot as much as we do.
@cher913 (25859)
• Canada
11 Jul 08
great piece! i am a huge history fanatic and i read a great book on the depression here in canada. it was just a bunch of people writing a paragraph or two on different subjects such as food and work. there were no government safety nets here in canada to help, so life during the depression was very tough!
2 people like this
• United States
12 Jul 08
i love history as well Cher, :))
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jul 08
Everything has a 'dark' side and a 'light' side. This is a polar universe. So if you go around looking at the dark side of things then you become dark and slow and heavy, whereas if you look at the light side, like for example by romanticizing something, then you become lighter and freer and you just plain feel better. You may feel justified in recounting horror upon horror for decades and feel the need to rub people's noses in it again and again, but I don't.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jul 08
I am sorry I think you missed my point ZigZag but that is okay.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jul 08
So what is your point that you think I missed then?
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jul 08
ZigZag have I offended you? I am not looking for heavy debates in this discussion. It is something I felt I needed to post because of a few things that I have run into, I had no intention of rubbing anything in your nose if you did not have an interest in reading it. Really I am sorry.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jul 08
I haven't seen those discussions that you've mentioned. But, I highly recommend anyone who romanticizes that time period to read The Grapes of Wrath. It illustrated, pretty well, what the average farming family was going through during that time. And, for all those who want to get rid of social programs, they should be reminded of these times. I know that, before these programs were implemented, some seniors and people unable to work were pretty much left out to die because they didn't have a family member to look after them for food and housing. Disabled people weren't really cared for unless they had someone to pay for their care. The church took up some of these issues, but they couldn't handle everyone. And, there were some people that the church would refuse to help.
• United States
12 Jul 08
Oh, I see what started this now. I didn't pay much attention to Graham's statement because I just figured that he's just another rich guy who is not threatened by what's going on because he's secure in his own little world.
1 person likes this
@cjgrooms (4456)
• United States
12 Jul 08
The people that survived the depression were strong, but i am like you i don't see anything romantic about watching your children dying from starvation because you can't feed them.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jul 08
Howdy Cj, how are you? I hope your family is enjoying the summer. Thank you for your words here :)())
@Snipe617 (13)
• United States
12 Jul 08
Yes I know about the American depression because I did a reserch over it. The part I did is the dust storms; how it affect farmers and people. Farmers were plowing so much wheat causing the dust to go up from the ground, causing a jetstream or windspeed to increase forming a dust bowl. A lot of farmers lost theor land because they couldn't take care of it. believe me I know about American Depression
• United States
12 Jul 08
Snipe, Welcome to mylot :))) The history behind the dust bowl and how it happened is pretty interesting isn't. As terrible and sad as it is, it makes fascinating study. One of the good things that did come out of the Depression is the lessons we learned agriculturally. Hey have a great time here :)))
@mommyboo (13191)
• United States
12 Jul 08
I have no idea why anybody would have the gall to romanticize such a terrible time in the history of our country. There is NOTHING good about the great depression, in fact there is nothing good about depressions in general, whether it's economic climate, unemployment, or people's own state of mind. While it did certainly separate the strong from the weak, I see nothing good about having to dig in trash cans for food, stand in line at soup kitchens, and whatever else people had to do in order to survive. In fact, having to reduce yourself to things like that is like letting society go back to barbaric principles. There is no reason whatsoever that in this day and age, food, water, shelter, clothing, necessities of life should be withheld to anybody. Maybe people might be without actual luxuries but there is no reason to have people starving or without clothing, without medical care, etc.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jul 08
Hi there Mommyboo :))) unfortunately there are people that would have us live our lives with blinders on or at best wearing rose colored glass to the point that all we see is good thereby leading us by our noses into ignorance. I only wanted to remind us that things were not as starry eyed and romantic. The weak were often children and the elderly, the farmers who did not have anything left. I so appreciate your input here.
• United States
12 Jul 08
Why wouldn't we glorify our grandparents for surving this dark time? There is nothing romantic about the Great Depression, I agree. Tt was so easy to die of starvation, or sickness. Barely making enough to make ends meet. Its certainly not a time you would have wanted to live it, let alone possibly repeat, but I will certainly respect and admire those who came out of this era, living to tell about it. Because they managed to live through it, means we are here to live in am easier time.
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Jul 08
Hi there Ci-SUVFAN Welcome to mylot. Oh there is certinly nothing wrong with celebrating survival, what I meant by glorify in this instance (maybe it was the wrong word to use) is to play up the eras romance and the good things that came after at the cost of forgetting what happened and the horrific time it was to have lived through. So many people did not make it but that does not mean they were not brave, strong and full of courage. I hope you enjoy mylot as much as we do! :))) again welcome.
• Philippines
12 Jul 08
Hi there Angelwhispers. I am not an American so I marked your discussion as something that I become interested in. I only read the Great Depression through history books, and seen it in the movies so my ideas about this was not clear as any non-American, I guess. Pardon my lack of knowledge but I didn't know that it lasted 10 years. That's too long for poverty and hardship to strive. I am glad some people were able to survive it and my respect goes to them because we'll never know (I hope so) the hardships that they've endured. Your country has such rich history but this is among the sad ones. I hope most of the youth in your nation will remember so that they'll have respect and admiration for the old generations.
@Hatley (164169)
• Garden Grove, California
12 Jul 08
angelwhispers I was a little kid, born ``1926 and was about ten when the depression wasin full swing, we did not suffer from lackof food as we had a farm and raised our own veggies,fruits, meat eggs and milk but a lot of people went hungry and people wereout of wo rk, my dad was a doctor and we did not have a lot of moneythen as others did not either, often paying himin chickens or beef or whatever they had to trade. no it was far from romantic at all.mydad hit it really rich durint the second world war as he raised honey bees and sold honey. he became a millionaireby the time the war was over.but I remember going to school in home made clothes along with everyone else. nothing faintly romantic in that era at all. we just survived.
• United States
12 Jul 08
Survival seems to be the key word Hatley. As much as I have read world war 2 seems to have been the turning around point.
@skinnychick (6906)
• United States
13 Jul 08
It's about time someone did this and educated the people. Nice one, my dear friend.
• United States
13 Jul 08
Howdy SkinnyC :)))) Why thank you :)))
• United States
13 Jul 08
Your quite welcome! :)
@twoey68 (13651)
• United States
16 Nov 08
It was a horrible time and I don't see any reason to romanticize it. There were alot of ppl that toughed it out and survived through it and many that just couldn't take it and ended their lives. I don't know if that's what we're heading for again but hopefully the programs put in place by President Roosevelt will see us through if we do. [b]~~MY OWN PEACE WITHIN~~ **STAND STRONG AND BELIEVE IN YOURSELF**[/b]
@ElicBxn (61143)
• United States
24 Aug 08
You are so right about the Depression being a very bad time for many people. My mother's father had a job as a lineman for the electric company during the Depression, so compared to many she and really her entire family did all right. Even then they had a garden to grow veggies and her dad shot the rabbits that tried to help themselves and her mom cooked the rabbits for dinner. My dad didn't fare as well, but there's the story that you always eat if you own a resturant and his folks ran a series of resturants during the Depression in Atlantic City. I know people who's families didn't fare as well as either of my parents, and whenever I hear people talking about things, I'm quick to remind them how bad it was.
@Adoniah (7515)
• United States
22 Jul 08
If you killed your spouse during a dust storm, you were not prosecuted for murder. Everyone knew it was insanity. My Dad's family had a farm on the outskirts of town and people passing thru somehow always knew that Grandmother would feed you something if you stood at the back door. Dad said one year it got down to just cans of peachs left. She would stand there and open cans of peachs and dump them into bowl. The little children would eat until they were full and then the parents would eat any that were left without asking for more. They just wanted their kids to live. Shalom~Adoniah
@mummymo (23707)
16 Jul 08
Well said Angel my darling! I have to say that anyone who survived the horrors of that time not to mention those who stayed strong through such adversity deserves everyones respect but there is NOTHING in the least romantic about it. As for people who say it should be forgotten or put to the back of our minds and only look forward I just cannot agree - we have to remember in able to avoid the same things from re occurring! Thank you for such an interesting , if sad and educational post! Hugs xxx