The Era of the Survivor
218 views | +0 today
Follow
The Era of the Survivor
Illustrates the suffering and decrepit conditions of the 1930s and the Survivors of this Decade.
Curated by Shyam Raman
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Shyam Raman
Scoop.it!

The Dust Bowl of the 1930s

The Dust Bowl of the 1930s | The Era of the Survivor | Scoop.it

The most visible evidence of how dry the 1930s became was the dust storm. Tons of topsoil were blown off barren fields and carried in storm clouds for hundreds of miles. Technically, the driest region of the Plains – southeastern Colorado, southwest Kansas and the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas – became known as the Dust Bowl, and many dust storms started there. But the entire region, and eventually the entire country, was affected.

The Dust Bowl got its name after Black Sunday, April 14, 1935. More and more dust storms had been blowing up in the years leading up to that day. In 1932, 14 dust storms were recorded on the Plains. In 1933, there were 38 storms. By 1934, it was estimated that 100 million acres of farmland had lost all or most of the topsoil to the winds. By April 1935, there had been weeks of dust storms, but the cloud that appeared on the horizon that Sunday was the worst. Winds were clocked at 60 mph. Then it hit.

"The impact is like a shovelful of fine sand flung against the face," Avis D. Carlson wrote in a New Republic article. "People caught in their own yards grope for the doorstep. Cars come to a standstill, for no light in the world can penetrate that swirling murk... We live with the dust, eat it, sleep with it, watch it strip us of possessions and the hope of possessions. It is becoming Real."

The day after Black Sunday, an Associated Press reporter used the term "Dust Bowl" for the first time. "Three little words achingly familiar on the Western farmer's tongue, rule life in the dust bowl of the continent – if it rains." The term stuck and was used by radio reporters and writers, in private letters and public speeches.

In the central and northern plains, dust was everywhere.

Shyam Raman's insight:

The author's purpose within this article was to show the severity of the dust bowl and highlight the key components of its effects. The dust bowl refers to the massive dust storms which occurred during the1930s. Avis Carlson states, "The impact is like a shovelful of fine sand flung against the face," (Carlson). This exemplifies the severity of these storms and how much people suffered during this era. The dust bowl mainly affected those in corn belt due to drought-like conditions drying the fields. Carlson also states, "Three little words achingly familiar on the Western farmer's tongue, rule life in the dust bowl of the continent – if it rains." (Carlson). Thi shows that the people hurt the most during this era were the farmers, logically because of the horrible weather conditions. Overall, the author's purpose was to highlight the extent of the dust stormsand the people who were affected.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Shyam Raman
Scoop.it!

Great Depression Survivor: I Worked for Shoes

Great Depression Survivor: I Worked for Shoes | The Era of the Survivor | Scoop.it

Earlier this week, I received an incredible letter from Florence B. Cochran, who was born in 1925 in a small community called Bowlingtown, in Perry County, Kentucky. For research for an upcoming story, I had been looking for people who remember living through the Great Depression, and Cochran, now 83, offered to share her story.

She writes:

I grew up in Appalachia during that period of time, and here are some of the things that I remember about how we survived. Of course, everyone had to work hard. My father lost his job when the crash came, so we moved to a small farm which he bought from my grandfather.

Wages for men were about $1.00 and some times a meal or two per day. For women, the wages were $.50 per day. If children worked, it was on the family farm or for a relative for whatever that relative wanted to pay. I remember one time I hoed corn for a week for my great uncle and my pay was a pair of my cousin’s shoes. They were like new, but they did not fit.

Sometimes, work was traded for items that were needed for the family. It fell to my mother to make ends meet which she did by working for other families and cutting corners at home. She made clothing for the girls in the family. She could look at a picture of a dress in a catalogue and make a pattern, cut the garment out and sew it to look almost exactly like the picture. She also made sheets and pillow cases for the beds.

Our pillows were made of heavy ticking material and stuffed with feathers which were saved from the chickens that were used for food. Only the softest of the feathers were saved. Also, instead of mattresses, our beds consisted of what we called shuck beds and feather beds. The shucks (corn husks) were saved from the corn when it was harvested and stored for feed for the animals. They were torn from the hard part of the husk so that only the softest husks were used. When the covering for the feather beds wore thin, the still good part was used to make more pillows.

Everyone knows about patchwork quilts which we used for bed covers. The tops of our quilts were made of scrap material left from my mother’s sewing projects. The patterns varied with the colors and sizes of the pieces. Patterns were obtained from relatives and neighbors-often copied from quilts or magazines. The tops were quilted by hand to muslin linings through cotton batting.

My mother made our night clothes from flannel for the winter, but we generally slept in old dresses or slips in warmer weather. We usually had about two or three dresses each for everyday and one for Sunday. I remember one time, I had gotten all my everyday dresses dirty and my mother allowed me to wear my Sunday to school on Monday which was wash day... As I was crossing the creek, I fell in and got my dress wet and muddy and I had to go back home. I missed school that day because I had nothing presentable to wear to school.

Since there were very few cars, trucks or other vehicles in the community we walked wherever we went. Consequently, our shoes wore thin. Our parents would repair our shoes by half-soling them with leather they bought in squares and cut to fit the sole from the front to the front of the heel-thus half-soling. This was no easy task as the leather was stiff. The shoe had to be fitted onto a last and the sole attached by hammering small tacks called sprigs through the leather into the sides of the sole of the shoe. Sometimes the sprigs did not bend properly and the ends would stick into our feet. They could be very uncomfortable. We usually could get one pair of shoes a year. Of course we went barefooted during the warm months.

My mother or my father cut the children’s hair which was an ordeal for us because the clippers did more pulling than cutting. Our medical help came from a community nurse associated with the Frontier Nurses Center which had been started in the 1920s by a lady by the name of Breckinridge. These were nurse-midwives who provided prenatal and post natal care to babies and mothers. The fathers were expected to pay a small fee. If they could not pay the fee, they were allowed to work at the center helping care for the horses that the nurses rode, and other animals, gardens and chores around the center. They also provided some medicines such as salves for a very small fee or free.

There is one thing that people tend to forget about that time. There was a severe drought which meant that gardens and fields did not produce enough to provide food from one growing season to the next so rural people suffered along with the rest of the country. To summarize this, you can see we worked for what we had, but what we could not afford we did without. Our philosophy, although not articulated until World War II, was “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Shyam Raman's insight:

The Great Depression affected everybody, especially those who were in a less-than desirable conditions in the first place. Florence Cochran states, "Wages for men were about $1.00 and some times a meal or two per day. For women, the wages were $.50 per day" (Palmer). This shows the extreme conditions and wages these people were subjected to in this era. Cochran also later states, "It fell to my mother to make ends meet which she did by working for other families and cutting corners at home.". This shows that though women held a lower role in society in that era, some of the most important priorities fell to them. Overall, the Great depression affected everyone and was even tougher on those in already bad situations.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Shyam Raman
Scoop.it!

Survivors of the Great Depression speak | SeacoastOnline.com

Survivors of the Great Depression speak | SeacoastOnline.com | The Era of the Survivor | Scoop.it

Growing up in rural Maine during the Great Depression, Betty Powell was not aware of how tough times really were.

"If you were poor, you didn't know you were poor at the time," Powell said. "I don't remember meat on the table. I remember when we had strawberries, we always had to eat them with bread and butter because there was not enough to go around." To this day, Powell said she always eats strawberries with bread and butter.

"That's why I don't think the young people today could not survive a depression; they can't eat just bread and butter," she said. "They have so much."

The Hampton woman attended a one-room schoolhouse and didn't think much of things like catching fish for dinner or the fact that she only got watermelon, a luxury, on the Fourth of July.

"I remember wearing hand-me-down clothes or clothes that my mother made for me," she said.

Powell doesn't think the current economic situation in the country has reached the level of what she and others lived through during the Great Depression.

"I think they're overreacting a bit. I don't think a depression has really hit this area, but it's coming," she said. "I do hope that people will face up to it and not consider the government has to pay for everything."

During the Depression, Powell said people took odd jobs to get by, and today's generation might have to do the same.


"It's going to be a learning process for those that are really hurting and there are people out there who are really hurting," she said. "I think people today, if they lived within their means, they would be fine."

Powell credits her upbringing, though tough at times, with preparing her for the current situation.

"I don't regret any of these things. I think it builds character for later on," she said. "You can put up with a lot of things people can't put up with today."

 

Shyam Raman's insight:

Another insightful view on the Depression is made by the poverty-ridden citizens of Chicago, who in fact didn't know that they were poor. The fact of the matter was that in some areas around the United States, poverty was so evenly widespread that if you were poor, you didn't even know it.Betty Powell, who had just turned eight years old in 1929 states, "If you were poor, you didn't know you were poor at the time,". This simply puts into a first person perspective of the situation among most families in this time period. Powell also states, "You can put up with a lot of things people can't put up with today.". This shows the steadfast mentality that is common among the generation as a whole to be able to survive on very little. Overall, the purpose of this excerpt was to exhibit the fact that the generation that arose from this generation has been and continues to adapt to any situation.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Shyam Raman
Scoop.it!

Making Ends Meet in the Great Depression - NYTimes.com

Making Ends Meet in the Great Depression - NYTimes.com | The Era of the Survivor | Scoop.it
As many Americans seek ways to save, people who lived through the Depression tell stories of life without luxuries.
Shyam Raman's insight:

The author's purpose within this article is to simply bring to attention the fact that the "organic" products we live for today were all they had during the Great Depression. Thomas Moon, from Huntsville, Alabama had just turned 7 in 19298 and recalls the creative ways his family used the resources they had. Moon states, "You’d fill that tub full of water in the morning, the sun would heat the water. I found a valve somewhere and I had a valve in the bottom of the tub, and that’s where we got the warm water. It held about 20 gallons." (Wadler). This shows the ingenuity behind using your surroundings to your advantage and that generation's ability to make do with what they had. Annie Moon, Thomas's wife, was  also 7 in 1929 and explain how her family got by in the depression. Moon states, "For Christmas we got fruit — maybe a case would break and my father gave us a piece of it. We never, ever got a present" (Wadler). This shows that the state of the middle class had sunken very low and the cheap thrills of life were fruits. Overall, the authors purpose in this article was to elaborate on the severity of the degredation of the middle class.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Shyam Raman
Scoop.it!

Great Depression Survivor Jerry Stiller: ‘If You Loved Roosevelt, You Will Love Obama’

Great Depression Survivor Jerry Stiller: ‘If You Loved Roosevelt, You Will Love Obama’ | The Era of the Survivor | Scoop.it
We talk to a celebrity who actually remembers what life was like in the bad days.
Shyam Raman's insight:

The Great Depression impacted many people. In fact, there was not a single person in the world who was not affected. Jerry Stiller, a critically acclaimed acotr says, "There was no money. No money. " (Yuan). This shows the severity of the situation by also showing the fact that if you were poor, you knew it. Stiller also states that "It brought out the worst in families — fights because the money controlled what people thought of themselves." (Yuan). It is interesting to see that fights occurred in families as this was a time in most families during which togetherness was exemplified. Overall, the author's purpose was to expose the truth about the struggles that many families faced and that this time brought out the bad in some people.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Shyam Raman
Scoop.it!

Survivors Of The Great Depression Tell Their Stories : NPR

Survivors Of The Great Depression Tell Their Stories : NPR | The Era of the Survivor | Scoop.it
With the economy in shambles, people are worrried about going through another Great Depression. In the 1930s, unemployment was as high as 40 percent in some areas of Chicago. A few who lived through it tell their stories.
Shyam Raman's insight:

The Great Depression was a harrowing time in the history of the United States. Many families found new respect for money and though the older generation has long since past, the children of this generation still live to share their stories with the world. Les Orear was thankful during the Great Depression, as he was already in college and the depression only set him back to a factory job in the mills. In an interview, Orear states "It was a wonderful time for me because here I was this young fella, and radical ideas are coming nowadays" (Orear). This shows one very biased view of the depression, while Orear found a new meaning for himself, many families went into poverty and had no means of coming out. Another survivor of the Great Depression, Wanda Bridgeforth, shows her experience during the depression as an African-American. Bridgeforth states, "In the Depression, the men could not get jobs, and especially the black men...Here was my father with a degree in chemistry, and he could not get a job." (Bridgeforth). The obviously shows not only the horrible situation among normal people, but also the segregation against blacks. Overall, this was a horrible time period for the economy, the state of the world, and the people.

more...
No comment yet.