Life and Times: The Great Depression

Edgar and Judith Brown September 25, 2017

Growing Up During a Time of Worldwide Economic Depression




Growing up, Edgar learned to create a variety of toys with just a pocketknife and some wood from his dad’s store, the soft white pine variety that came in little wooden boxes. He had learned to craft small cars and wagons using thread spools for wheels. He even tried creating an airplane model out of air foil and a propeller. He didn’t had store-bought toys like other children. Everything that he had, he had to create on his own.

When Edgar turned fifteen, he started working in Kroger Store, one of the few self-service supermarkets in the state of Missouri. He stocked shelves, cleaned, and checked customers. To him, the best part of the job was how they created the display front of the store; it required thinking and creativity, which he both enjoyed.

Those were exciting days as a young worker, but it was also hard. As the stock market crashed, it became harder to earn money. Most families in America were poor and everyone struggled to survive. Some people had no other choice but to wait for charitable organizations that offered them food supply. One example is the Red Cross, which, with the help with the government, gave away flour, sugar, beans, and lard to local grocery stores to help the needy.

Luckily, Edgar was able to find a job that paid eighteen dollars a week. But despite it, money was still short. Like him, most people worked hard, but the money they earned was almost never enough. Some necessities turned into luxuries. They had nothing to spare even for special events like Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, or New Year.

Aside from the crash, natural disasters also added to the burden. The Midwest began to experience severe drought conditions. It was worsened by land erosion and cyclonic winds. The drought also brought dust storms that are indescribable in size.

Despite all these, people still managed to maintain a positive attitude. The people he personally knew seldom complained. Some took the time from being laid off from work to teach their children about the word of God. People learned to be practical, good manners was also greatly emphasized.

The Great Depression was hard, but it made an impression on people who belonged to younger generations like him. They learned to live simply; they learned how to thrive even in the face of adversity.

I would also like to hear from you on how you survived your own struggles. Share them in the comment section below. You can also reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. May the lessons you get from Of Raincrows and Ivy Leaves be useful in your life.

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Judith A. Brown

Edgar Brown is a war veteran who was a navy pilot in the Black Cats Brigade. After the war, he serve... read more

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