The Great Depression

I wonder what it was really like to live through the Great Depression. Oh, yes, I’ve read about it… seen movies about it… heard my grandparents talk about it… but truthfully, I have no concept of what that would be like.

As I’ve been going about my daily routine the last few days I’ve been wondering… Would it save money to hang the laundry out to dry on a clothesline rather than putting it in the dryer? What about growing a garden? Is that really cheaper than grocery shopping? And I know sewing my own clothes is not cheaper than buying them ready-made, the way it used to be.

Our grandparents had to work very hard for all those daily necessities we take for granted. Sure, we work to pay for the things we have. At least most of us do. But I honestly don’t think we work like they did!

My grandparents, as a young married couple, lived in a tent most of one year around 1940. Not because they were down on their luck, but because that was part of their business. Granddaddy and some of his relatives had a sheep company, and so they lived out in the field and took care of the sheep that year.
I have heard lots of stories about that experience in their lives, but I never heard them complain about it. It seemed to be just an exciting adventure that they remembered fondly.
Makes me wonder if I’m too accustomed to the “finer things in life” to adjust to living like that if I had to.
I like to think I could, if worse came to worst, but I just don’t know.

Could you?


  • Edi

    I hope I’d be able to handle whatever living situation we might be faced with. Some of my happiest memories are spending summers in a small cabin with my family growing up…that cabin setup is exactly how I wish my house was. Thing is – what if it was my only house…small log cabin…kitchen/living room combo…bedrooms without full walls…no indoor bathroom.

    I think if a person choses to accept their circumstances – they can do it.

    It sounds fun to think of how the pioneers lived…live in a cabin, live off the land, hang up laundry washed by hand, bake everything from scratch etc. etc. It sounds like fun when we read accounts of stories like “Little House on the Prairie” – but that doesn’t quite give us the full experience. All the babies dying in infancy…young mothers dying giving birth…starvation…bitter cold in the winter…unbelievably hot in the summer…danger…simple diseases killing…working literally from sun up to sun down.

    I am convinced that I could live a simpler life…my prayer would be that I could do it all with the right attitude.

  • pse

    Very interesting and thought provoking post. It would be hard to give up many of the things we are accustom to, including this computer and the instant communication we have. I think that is what I would miss most, will my children all living in other states.

  • Melissa Wertz

    My grandmother lived thru 2 depressions. She was a tomboy and hunted and trapped with her brothers. Everything they caught went on the the table to eat or was sold. Nothing went to waste. As all girls had to, she learned how to sew, quilt, crochet, etc. She was in her 20's when she married Granddaddy (unheard of in that area & day to be that old and unmarried.) and he was younger. That always bothered her. Never was a good cook. But Granddaddy was.

    My grandma lived with us. My mom and grandma were/are pack rats and thrifty. The difference is, my mom hoards my grandma recycled and used up everything or gave it to someone who would use it. She did not hoard it for a rainy day. That was wasteful.

    Grandma was not afraid of hard work and preferred plowing a field or skinning a coon to dusting and mopping, but she would do that to if it needed to be done.

    When all her chores were done, she would sit with a cup of coffee (strong, sweet w/milk) and her latest quilt or crochet project. Idle hands are the devils workshop she always said.

  • Carrie

    Your post is a sobering wake-up call…I too wonder what it might be like to go through such hard times… As it is i naively think I’m going through hard times financially right now. But, looking back to the depression, gives true perspective.

  • Farrah

    I really liked this post, because you mentioned that they spoke almost fondly of those days. Makes me less apprehensive about how things would be if we went through something similar. 🙂 Of course, I know that Jesus would take good care of us. He always does!

  • Manuela

    I can vouch that it’s cheaper for me to hange my clothes out than to dry them. Yes, starting a garden is a bit of an expense and I think it all depends on whether or not you have a good available source for fresh veggis – like a farmer’s market. I just like the idea that I can grow my own stuff so I’m not dependent on a grocery store.


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