inspiration for trying times






These are trying times in many ways. Financially speaking many people are suffering terribly.  I stumbled upon the Ohio Department of Aging/Story Projects (Stephen Andrew Jones' great state) and have been reading everything I can on the site.  Times may be tough now but wow, compared to the Great Depression they are nothing. Reading these stories really show just how luxurious our lives have become. There's so much to learn from the people who actually lived through the depression and most think they are better people because of it.  It's amazing the generosity that existed then.  I wonder what it would be like now?  In the next week I'll be sharing more of these stories.  Enjoy...



Food, Cooking and Eating During the Great Depression

"Mom could make everything taste good - or maybe we were hungry. Our meals were mostly cornmeal mush, dandelions, sybutcel (another weed), puff balls, wheat from the grainery (with permission), wild rabbit, groundhog and turtle. Vegetables, if we had a garden, were cooked in salt water - no flavorings. We used a lot of tallow in place of lard."
- Wilma Blasiman, age 88, Lake Milton
"Our menu for the week was always the same: pasta, vegetables, beans and on occasion some fish. Sundays were always homemade spaghetti and meatballs. So, when we had 'Wonder' bread and bologna, it was a real treat. That did not happen very often."
- Madge Contin Browning, age 92, Columbus
"My mother and my husband's mother both canned a lot of vegetables and we would pick berries in the summer to can and make jelly. My father used to raise his own vegetable plants in a large hot bed, and after he planted all he wanted he gave away the rest of the plants to our neighbors. We also raised chickens (mostly for eggs) and rabbits. Once in a while, my mother would roast one of the chickens for a Sunday dinner. We had homemade beef noodle soup and vegetables nearly every day for our supper. If we didn't like what was put on the table, we just had to do without."
- Irene Burkhart, age 83, Shadyside
"Almost all of the food we ate came from Mom's huge garden. We also had plenty of fresh milk and eggs. Mom would exchange eggs for a few items from the peddler wagon twice a week. On rare occasions, there would be a few pennies left over and the peddler would bring down the little box of penny candy from the top shelf... In the fall, to provide for her five sons and two daughters, Mom would begin canning. She would fill mason jars with vegetables, meat or fruit, then store the pretty glass jars on the shelves in the dirt cellar underneath our home. There was also two large bins, one for potatoes we had dug and one filled with apples from our orchard. In the city, men formed long lines waiting to buy what they called day-old bread. We grew up with homemade bread and the aroma of freshly baked bread would drift up the open stairway at night."
- Ruth Maloney Cowgill, Marion
"(Mom) became friendly with the grocery store owner, so she would go to the store when he closed and bought any meat that would not keep - there was no freezer. Unsold vegetables that would not keep, he gave to her. So, we had lots of vegetable soup. She would can what she could for later."
- Carolyn Davison, age 86, Columbus
"My husband and I, with our baby daughter, Ruthie, worked for a family in Gustavus. It was a three-generation farm owned by the Waters family. There was a grandfather, son and grandson living in the household. I was the family housekeeper doing all the cleaning, laundry, cooking, baking and canning. I baked bread twice a week. We had no freezer, so everything had to be canned. All veggies and fruits were canned. Meats that were not smoked in the smokehouse were canned also. Meals were always ready at 7 a.m., noon and 6 p.m."
- Josephine DiBell, age 103, Cortland
"My father and several other friends made maple syrup back in the woods by the creek in the sugar bush shed that housed the special equipment needed to keep a fire going under the vats holding the sap collected from the maple trees. We kids were runners with food, etc. for the maple workers. The men put metal tubes in the trees and hung a bucket from them. When they were quite full, they dumped the sap into a large tub on a large sled pulled by the horses. They took the sap to the sugar bush and placed it in vats over the fire to be cooked down several hours before it became wonderful maple syrup. My mother made large fry-pan sized pancakes for us with yummy maple syrup for breakfasts."
- E. Marie Dornbrook, age 87, Parma Heights
"Everyone farmed and raised vegetables to can and eat. If your garden was in a sunny spot and you harvested early, your family shared with others who planted in a cooler spot and harvested later in the season (when they shared with you). Potatoes were buried. Meats were smoked for the winter. We didn't have a freezer and had to preserve food for leaner times."
- Laverne Hillyer Fifer, age 92, Northwood
"No matter where we lived, my father had a huge garden. He also had rabbits and goats. We became vegetarians long before it was in fashion. My brothers worked the garden with my dad."
- Theresa Giallombardo, age 80, Maple Heights
"Food was always a problem, or should I say the lack of food. The kids were always looking for a bit of something. If one kid had an apple to eat, they would surround that one child yelling 'core, core!' Then, one person would get the core of the apple to suck out the final bits of apple and juices that were left. The rest of us just stared and hoped that someday we could have an apple or a core to eat."
- Edna Hanson, age 76, Toledo
"My contribution to the family table was turtle. Coming home from school when I was quite small, I would look for turtle tails along the river or creek bank. I would pull the turtles out of the bank, being very careful not to get my fingers snapped off. I'd take the turtles home and turn them over to my father, and the next night we'd have a delicious supper of turtle meat. Later on, we'd have turtle soup."
- Elizabeth Helber, age 87, Logan
"Our Victory Diner customers varied from young to old. But one woman's plight and desperation stayed with me for life. This little old woman came daily into our diner for months, sat in what we called one of our small (2-seater) front booths, ordered only a cup of hot water. Then she drew out a single tea bag from her satchel-purse, put it into the cup. Finally she emptied our sugar bowl into the cup. She drank that. I suspect that's all she had to eat or drink for most of the day. Her plight and desperation haunts me to this day."
- Alice J. Hornbaker, age 82, Cincinnati
"Mom would walk to the East Market on Mt. Vernon Ave., basket in hand, to seek the best bargains at the vegetable and meat counters within. As she approached the meat counter, she would eye the row of calf heads very critically. These were the cheapest items at the butchers' stand. The way she would prepare it was to embed it in a shallow pan of rice and pop it in the oven. (In leaner times, we had our share of lard sandwiches.) Other meals she cooked were pots of sauerkraut and wieners, lima beans and neck bones, and hamburger patties smothered in a deep pan of thick brown gravy."
- Alex James, age 91, Columbus
"We never bought bread. My mother and grandmother always baked homemade rye bread, so we always had food on the table and extra to help feed our help, and they truly appreciated it in that time and era. We also made our own butter. I recall how many times I had to turn the churn. We also made ice cream in the old fashioned hand-turned ice cream maker."
- Carl Krob, age 82, Bridgeport
"The owner of our farm was Bob Pickens, who had a grocery retail store in Mt. Vernon. From the store, Bob gave us a fifty-pound sack of corn flakes that had gone stale. Mom put them in the oven and warmed them up. This was a good, cheap mix with the acre of soup beans we had planted."
- Wendell Litt, New Concord

Something to think about the next time we are in the grocery store...xo

51 comments

  1. My dad went to the one room schoolhouse in our farming community. All but one child were farmers and had enough to eat. The other child would bring a few small potatoes his parents gleaned from the fields after the harvest. All the kids got together and shared their lunches with this boy so he always got enough to eat. Kids get it right.

    Pat

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    1. thanks for sharing pat. i think that was such a lovely thing that people did. even sparing a potato meant someone would do without but it seems sharing was just what they did. x

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  2. Such an interesting read, thank you. One of my grandpas is 90 and has absolutely heartbreaking stories like this. He grew up in a small town in southern Ohio called Kingston. In his generation they went from being so wealthy they had a private rail car to go see Reds games to being so poor the seven (!) brothers shared two pairs of pants. But what he focuses on most is his older sister Mary who stepped in as mother when his mother died at 10. He seems to remember her triumphant spirit more than his hardship. The other grandpa is 80 and only remembers stories from whorehouses he visited while in the Air Force. The one that still haunts him to this day was a Swiss brothel where he says the most stunning women in the world were, he often notes their exquisitely long legs. But there was a surprise in store once they got undressed. Hahaha I really should record his telling of the story, as you see genuine heartache in his eyes.

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    1. i think if you lived through to tell your story of the depression it is a badge of honor of sorts. i know my FIL tells amazing stories of what his mother did to feed the 6 of them. he tells the stories with a lot of pride - as he should. your other gpa sounds like such a character! x

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  3. Thank you for sharing these valuable and interesting (heartbreaking yet uplifting) stories. We need more oral histories and written histories of the great generations before us. Both my mother and my dad, who lived in The Great Depression of the 1930s, told me many stories of what it was like to be a kid and have not much of anything. It was actually easier for my dad's family, who lived on a farm, than it was for my mom, who was a city kid. On the farm, neighbors would share a grass-fed beef and they had a dirt cellar for canning items plus a milk cow and a vast vegetable garden (and stone-fruit trees). My city-bred mom's family had a deep-enough lot at their house to also put in a vegetable garden but their main source of protein was fish from the L.A. piers; thankfully, my grandpa loved to fish. They also kept chickens. Grandpa would periodically send away for a flat of baby chicks which they'd go pick up at the post office. So, they had both eggs and meat.

    My dad would say that his future mother-in-law could make a meal out of nothing. She had her own mom to thank for that. The biggest fear was if they'd be able to hang on to their home; Mother grew up with such unease, listening to the adults, if indeed the electric bill could be paid that month. Til the day she died three years ago, my mom could pinch a penny like no one, but it was a direct effect of how she remembered living when she was 5 years old til she was a teen (deeply ingrained)...and, then, of course, facing WWII right on the heels of the Depression, WWII having its own food shortages (and other supply deficits) for Americans, with resources going largely to the men fighting overseas.

    I did not like growing up myself with ultra-frugal parents even though, as I aged, I understood where they were coming from on it. As a young adult, I went a little wild with spending as a result, as I was tired of hand-me-downs and thriftiness. I liked new & shiny, and I liked to party. 'Champagne taste and a beer pocketbook'. I made a lot of financial mistakes that appalled my folks. Thankfully, as I've aged (although it took awhile), I've pulled it back around and honor so much how my parents lived and raised us. I try hard to follow their example now. Extravagance runs its course, especially when it leaves you broke! Oftentimes, especially lately, I have questions still for my folks on how their families got by in the desperate 1930s but, of course, they're not here now to ask.

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    1. For a time in their childhoods, with everyone being in the same boat financially in the Depression, both of my parents said they almost didn't realize they were poor or disadvantaged. It was the same for everybody around them (so, it's not like they stuck out as being different). But Dad did miss having toys. He loved chocolate candy at Christmas, even as an old man, because he said all they ever had was hard candy, if they even had candy in the first place when he was a kid, usually just a couple of pieces in a Christmas stocking, with maybe an orange. Mom later was embarrassed by her clothes, so she learned to sew. She bought fabric from the little-bit of babysitting money she earned until she was old enough to work in a 5&Dime store. Both spoke of having no shoes; kids rapidly change sizes as they grow, and there was no money for shoes. They'd go barefoot in summer. At other times of the year, as soles got holes, they'd insert pieces of cardboard over the holes. But they did do things to earn a few coins as kids, collecting soda bottles and the like. A tough bunch of people. We can learn a lot.

      My great-uncle would wait hours and hours for the streetcar (in L.A.) because the streetcar guy who collected the money would let him ride home for free on the last run. It made for a yet-long night after my uncle had already worked his 12-hour-a-day job and would have preferred to get home earlier, but he did it to save the nickel or dime for his family. That one coin made a huge difference. It fed them. It paid the doctor bill.

      Another uncle of mine had a grocery store in the 1950s and, at the end of the day when he closed the store, like 9pm, he'd bring Mom whatever fruit hadn't sold. Big flats of fruit like strawberries. I can remember in summer, even though she was dog-weary from working a job all day, and the kitchen was so hot (no air conditioning), Mom working into the wee hours, maximizing every bit of that overripe fruit, sterilizing her jars, lining them up, stirring a big pot of jam, jelly or otherwise-cooked fruit...canning, canning, canning. Nothing to waste, EVER. It's how they grew, how they were formed; don't waste anything: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without". (And, in these days, we often read about how much food Americans waste on a daily basis; how much of what we buy winds up in the garbage can.)

      Oh, man, I did it again; too much writing; sorry; you touched on a subject dear to my heart, Janet. Thinking of you...

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    2. Don't apologize; all these stories are fascinating!

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    3. thank you for sharing and your insight vicki. we are living in such a throw away society right now, these stories can lift you up! i love your sharing! xo

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    4. Janet, remember some time ago, you actually did a post on food waste and how you had gotten into the habit of gathering all your limp/old veggies in the frig at the end of the week to make a soup. Garbage can soup, or something like that...I need to dig thru my folder of your recipes...you should post that again; you're always ahead of the curve!! Maybe lots of people automatically do versions of same, but it's nothing I'd ever thought of, at least in my earlier years. I think I've been very lazy and self-indulgent; easier to just throw it in the garbage. Shameful. Truly!

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    5. yes i remember that vicki. one of my culinary teachers taught me that. she said in japanese kitchens they wasted nothing. their trash cans were virtually empty at the end of each day!

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    6. I've been making my own vegetable broth for years this way. I keep a gallon size Ziploc bag in the freezer and place all the peelings, bruised bits, stems, etc from the veggies I use into it, herbs too! They "keep" longer in the freezer this way. When it's full, I dump the bag into a large stock pot and just cover the peelings with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer covered for 2-3 hours. I usually do this in the morning and then just turn it off and let the pot sit on the counter and "steep" for a few more hours as it cools. I then strain it (using a pasta insert when cooking makes this a breeze) and the used bits go on the compost pile to turn into yummy compost for the garden. I ladle the broth into quart size Ziploc bags in 1 or 2 cups amounts and place in the freezer. A one-gallon bag of peelings that would otherwise be thrown away yields 10-12 cups of rich deep dark heavenly broth. No preservatives, no chemicals, no salt!, no waste, and absolutely free.
      ~ Martha

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    7. Thank you Martha for sharing this! The homemade vegetable broth sounds great.

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  4. Removed from the Depression, it is easy to romanticize those hard days. Those who had land or farms for gardens had a hedge against hunger and starvation. Not all were so fortunate, especially city dwellers, like the families of my parents. My father often went hungry. Indeed, there are plenty of homeless in our country today.

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    1. oh i know the past can be romanticized but i don't get that from these stories. i feel more of a sense of pride that they survived. my mom was a city dweller and she told me lots of heartbreaking stories too. and no matter what decade or circumstances, homelessness is a tragedy. thank you for sharing. x

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  5. Those stories are certainly inspiring and illustrate just what can be done when times are hard. My mother was born in the 30's and often described to me the struggles related to lack of food, lack of clothes etc. What is interesting to me is that during this time there were so many people who were not struggling at all. Sources state that statistics show that up to 40% of the population of America did not experience any impact during the Great Depression.

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    1. i had no idea of those statistics sherri, so interesting...xo

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    2. OMG, I had no idea either! All I've ever heard or read about is the hard-luck stuff, unless maybe I was reading or watching something on TV about a Rockefeller or Kennedy or some other wealthy family in America living in that time period.

      My other grandpa was a railroad foreman out in the country and SO many men were riding the rails in the Depression. Some called them hobos. They'd work hard all day, on the tracks or doing farm-property chores, just for one plate of beans to eat before they caught the next boxcar.

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  6. There is a BBC series on Youtube you would love called Wartime Kitchen And Garden. Check it out.

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    1. oh thanks lana, am looking it up now! x

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    2. I think Wartime Farm is supposed to be good too.

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  7. So interesting - thank you for sharing these stories. I read something the other day in the newspaper pointing out that while poverty levels have officially increased here in Australia, the actual method of counting people as living in poverty has changed. They were interviewing a man in a public housing apartment, who was being called upon by a charity to drop off food supplies. Next to him charging up on his side table was his smartphone. He was sitting in a reasonable quality sofa with matching armchairs nearby. The flat was by no means luxurious - and I am certain that he had difficulties making ends meet on his pension and finding food to eat weekly... my point is more that the Great Depression was another level again, and our definition of poverty has certainly changed. In a third world country now he would be considered rich.
    I always remember reading a book called "Tuppence to cross the Mersey", written by a Canadian author whose childhood was spent during the Great Depression in Liverpool. Her family went from comfortable wealth and her in a boarding school to complete poverty, struggling to survive after the stock market crash.

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    1. here in america we have agencies in place that help the poor that did not exist during the depression so i know that can help. i will look up that book as it sounds v interesting. xo

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    2. We lived in Colombo, Sri Lanka, for two years in an affluent suburb with quite a few Embassy residences (the American Ambassador was our next door neighbour) so we had no idea of the terrible poverty in our own area of the city. That is until our car wouldn't start one night and we got a taxi to a dinner party not far away. We decided to walk home - and that's when we saw them. Whole families - grandmothers, parents and grandchildren and babies sleeping huddled up in their ragged clothes on the footpaths alongside the front walls of houses all along our way home (they weren't there in the day time). It's always warm so they weren't exposed to cold - but to rain and all other dangers and discomforts of the night. Best wishes, Pammie

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    3. So there's poverty. And then there's Third World poverty! And imagine the terrible life and conditions for all those refugees fleeing even worse. We need to open our hearts. Pamela

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  8. LUSTING AFTER YOUR CURTAINS..........ADORE BROWN AND WHITE ANYTHING!

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  9. My grandmother grew up during the depression and till the day she died she was always pinching pennies. She never forgot and I think feared she would go through it all again. She would go on a trip, come back and say things like "Our meal was 13.96!" She was always quoting the cost of things right down to the penny. I used to get tickled at it and sometimes even aggravated but my own Mama said Nana was that way because she lived though the depression. She taught me the value of being frugal but not cheap. And even though she did without other things at times she always tithed at church. And I can "scrape up" a decent meal with pretty much nothing at times too ☺ I do need to learn to can and put up veggies and fruit. And grow potatoes! Thanks for this article. I enjoyed reading it.

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    1. my father in law certainly has the means to live more lavishly but chooses to live v simply. he'll duct tape his ski gloves instead of replacing them! you should see his easy chair! the arms are duct taped with the courdoroy of an old ski jacket. he says he loves living like this which i totally get. x

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  10. You might also enjoy reading "Clara's Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression." I got the Kindle version.

    I grew up hearing stories of the depression and the things people did to survive... My dad was born in 1924 and he remembers his parents giving him a sack to help pick cotton. He was pretty young and I guess the sack was almost as big as he was. My grandparents taught school, but lots of places couldn't pay them after the depression, so they did various things to put a roof over their head and food on the table. I don't think they were ever hungry, but my dad was an only child so they had a small family to feed. And I think they were always in small towns or rural areas, not cities. My dad said he had an uncle who worked for the railroad (so he was considered "rich"). His uncle had a son about the same age, so my dad got his rich cousin's hand-me-down clothes. Then my dad was voted "best dressed" in high school! My mom's family always had a small farm, so she says they always had food--whatever they could grow--and they exchanged milk, cream, and eggs for other things they needed (flour, etc.) They grew beans, canned a lot, baked bread and pies almost every day (they had a larger family with 5 kids). But they usually lived out in the "country" outside of town so didn't have all the cities amenities (utilities), and she remembers having to walk in the snow out to the outhouse, which she hated. She was the baby of the family, so they let her have a little "chamber pot" so she didn't have to go out at night. I know I only have a fraction of their stories... wish I'd started recording or documenting it all sooner. As we lose that generation, we are losing their stories and perspective. And most of the rest of us have never had to live like that (certainly not in those numbers). And sometimes I think it wouldn't hurt for more of us to do so! I hate to think that some of the younger generations won't hear these stories firsthand, or understand what it is like to have to live like that. We are so spoiled with all our "stuff"...

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    1. thank you jackie for sharing your parents stories. i've watched all of clara's you tube cooking shows but didn't know she had a book. i will look that up. i love that your dad was voted best dressed with hand me downs - that's something i can relate to! xo and boy we are spoiled! x

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  11. My grandfather's family was very poor. He lived off bread and dripping (rendered fat from a beast) during the depression. All his life he craved steak, he couldn't believe that offal and things like pig's trotters and lamb shanks turned up on menus- to him and my Grandma they were the taste of poverty.

    When Napoleon invaded Italy his troops were so hungry that they flavoured hot water with residue from their guns!! Salt was a treat...

    xxxx

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    1. thanks k. i read in some of the stories from ohio that a meal was made from fatback and flour which would be bread and gravy. i never heard that about napoleons troops. fascinating. x

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    2. All so interesting. Such different times...and hardship. We have a handful of letters from my great-great grandfather that he sent home from the American Civil War (older Confederate soldier [in his late 30s]; I guess they were taking every man who could walk; he was killed in battle in 1863; left a younger widow with a bunch of little kids, only one cow left on the farm that he was advising his wife to sell because of the destitution/poverty and his long absence...the ancient family records say she was able to hang onto the farm after his death, "she plowed like a man"...). He would repeatedly talk in these letters of how much the troops needed butter; it was like a fixation...on butter! He was giving advice on how a neighbor could cross enemy lines to get them butter and how to keep it from going rancid. (You could actually risk your own life to get somebody else...butter??) I imagine the limited amount of food they had in the trenches must have been absolutely tasteless.

      A story I always remember, from somewhere in my life (not necessarily The Great Depression), is of the penniless woman in the diner who'd only order a cup of hot water. Then, she'd take the ketchup bottle, sitting there on the table with salt/sugar as free condiments, and pour the ketchup into the cup of hot water to make some semblance of tomato soup, which I thought was inventive.

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    3. not related to the depression but i remember several years back while taking some college courses, i sat next to a young man who was def having money problems. all through class he'd sip on the to go mustard packs. he had a good attitude about it tho, saying he was broke and he loved mustard.

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    4. Oh, eeuuww, I love mustard but sipping on a lot of it? The poor man, he may have had some kind of acid indigestion as a result. If being hungry wasn't enough...

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  12. This is wonderful Janet. I remember my great aunt telling me stories. Simple things, like reusing a tea bag several, several times, and eating ketchup sandwiches, and so much more. She always told her stories with pride too. I'll be looking up Wartime Kitchen and Garden--thanks Lana!

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  13. Thank you for posting this, Janet. I've heard stories from my grandparents - one who was in the US during the depression, and another who was in Ukraine at the time when Stalin was starving Ukrainians. I learned to never take more than I could eat and to eat what was on my plate. I am appalled when I see people throw out food so nonchalantly, take food for granted, or when I go into my crisper and realize I forgot about one vegetable or another. We are incredibly fortunate!

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  14. Amazing post. I've just shared this on my facebook - I hope you don't mind.
    We live as generations that knows no hunger and it worries me how people treat food. Food seems to have little value these days, but I imagine it could one day change, but maybe not.
    i made soup the other night for tea, pealed the veg and ripped off the leaves off the beats and thought how different I would make that if times were hard, it would all go in! I was working with a Romanian who laughed at the way we cooked vegetables because we chucked away the water it was cooked in, these simple little things we forget as we have such an abundance of food!
    I'll have to add you to my blog role and I'll be back again!

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    1. Beet greens are incredibly delicious sauteed - try it next time!

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  15. It's so good and so important to remember these things. My grandmother was so thrifty due to the great depression days. She would cut the toothpaste tube in half to get every bit of it out - something we had never seen and thought was funny when we were kids. She said she didn't want to waste any of it. Now I do it myself!! It is amazing how much is left in a tube of so many different products. She canned so many things, made preserves, raised her own chickens for eggs, which we loved to help her with. Always had a garden till in her 80's. She was incredibly self-sufficient. I think she was the best cook I've ever seen! She was widowed early in life in her 40's, became a Practical Nurse. The doctors loved her to assist in surgery and said she was the best. She was really something. Thanks for jogging my memory on this, Janet. Love your post, as usual. Kay

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    1. Kay, I cut all my tubes in half too...conditioner, face products etc. It's too expensive to waste! Plus I want the tubes as clean as possible before I toss it in the recyling. :)

      Linda

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  16. What a wonderful post and such important things for us to think about and realize we are very lucky. My ex-H's grandmother was taken from her home at 19 years old by the Germans and put in a work camp where she met her future husband. After the war they were sponsored by an Armenian man (as they were Armenian themselves) and came to America. Babushka used every, tiny little bit when she cooked. She saw me chopping an onion once and was absolutely horrified with the amount I was going to throw away! To this day, I chop my onions right down to the smallest piece, so afraid to waste any of it. Good things to remember when we're feeling sorry for ourselves!

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  17. This sounds very similar to many things we did while I was growing up. I'm 45 yrs old though, so I did not live through the depression. I think many families who live in rural areas lived this way during my lifetime. We even went straight to the dairy to get our milk.... leave a dollar in the basket and fill a galllon jar with milk on the honor system.

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  18. Too much waste in out country Janet and for me this is a Great Depression, depressing to see how disposable we all are, and if we don't like something out to the trash it went.
    My grand parents would speak of the Great Depression, and how it shaped and molded them to not only share but value what you share....Waste not want not. Funny, yet not funny at all but when everyone feels the effects of something as great as times itself we all seem to feel our needs are met, not our wants but our needs.
    My grandparents on my fathers side very well to do, lived their whole life with the effects of the times we called the Great Depression so much so my grandmother went 40 years with the same bedspread, and you know something it was so comforting to me to know this was home to me every summer visit or holidays. When they bought a new car out of nesseady they ran it until it didn't run anymore, not due to the lack of money by no means but out of respect of what they had worked for and been handed in life.
    In history there has always been trying times for families and we all made due, I remember as a kid shopping good wills with my mother to clothe 4 kids and her 1 step child, fun not at all but we had clothes, and now I look for the thrill of a treasured find, and find it valued and rewarding. It by all means isn't my only means od dressing, I to love a great retail store but still value a good sale or clearance. I also remember when things were tight in the household pancakes were a staple food that filled us up for pennies, did we think we're were doing without? Heck no! We looked forward to pancakes, and never thought we were poor so to speak. We as kids learned the values of earning a buck, well maybe a quarter back then, but it sure felt like a buck :) $$

    We see far to much lack of respect for living with less and how we can out so our neighbors.... Grandpa, tell me bout the good ole days truly were good were they not? No body worried about organic this or that, gluten free, no GMO'S and preservatives they just ate what was set before them and us and we were grateful, amen!

    I am pleased that we now have choices in better health, and eating habits if we take action, but I also know that we have the opportunity to be resourceful and is this not the beauty in having knowledge and resources to express the life we chose to value beautifully. I adore the less is more concept, way of life, and living big in so many smaller ways.

    Your father in-laws chair made me smile.

    Xx
    Keep creating and storytelling the beauty you surround yourself with, it makes you that much more beautiful to me my dear.

    Dore

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    1. dore you bring up a good point re diets now vs then. people lived on lard and fatback and there was v little heart disease. they didn't have all the modern things we have today. even small things like getting up to turn the channel on the tv. opening a garage door without the press of a button. can openers, etc. etc. etc. there is so much to learn and take away from that generation. we've all become soft. x

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  19. PS!.... I too love your certains, this photo shows the strength in how beautiful your home is when one resources for great bargins and finds.

    Love this special space.

    Xx
    Dore

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  20. Hi Janet, this is a great post...especially for this time of year. We have so many things we take for granted these days. Those stories and the readers stories as well are quite a reminder how spoiled we really are! I think maybe I have mentioned this before but have you ever watched the Weird Al Yankovic video "First World Problems"? It's so hilarious but sad and so very true at the same time.

    How are your Thanksgiving plans going?

    Linda
    xo

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  21. I hope we never see another great depression. I feel so blessed even during hard times.
    My Dad's parents lost theur farm and had it so hard. Dad went to school with holes in his pants and shoes. One Christmas all he got was a 10 cent checker board.
    My Mom's father was a mailman so they were fortunate.
    They all had love and survived with gardens and hard work.

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  22. Both my parents were children during the Depression. Very different experiences. My father was the youngest of four, his father a salesman, his mother an excellent cook. According to all her children--she could take the scraps from the grocer, some flour and water and make a meal "fit for a King." I do not doubt this, but I've seen the photos. They were all skinny. My dad had one pair of pants when he was 8 years old. They got washed and ironed on Saturdays--so he had to stay home and could not play with his buddies. My mom--very different. Her mother kidnaped her and her brother away from the abusive paternal family (my great-grandfather threatened to have the children starve if grandma left grandpa.) They slept on a pile of clothes in a rental home without utilities. My mom learned at age 8 to cook pancakes and spaghetti for herself and her brother while grandma was at work. Grandpa died young due to alcohol and heart disease. My grandma put 2 kids through college during the late 40's-early 50's. No grants, no scholarships, just her own hard work and ingenuity. My Grandma Ruby Allen is my hero!!!

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  23. this is a magnificent post AJJ. I've read it plus every comment and your replies.
    it has been like reading a book! such wonderful heart warming and inspiring stories.

    America... land of the wasteful.
    seeing the sheer waste of food left on plates even in a restaurant... has always made me cringe. it's enough food to feed a village!

    I too was raised by parents who were kids during the depression... and grandparents who well remembered those times... raising them! it created tom brokaw's 'greatest generation!' and they WERE!
    my paternal grandmother mom reed was a young widow at 34 and raised three little sons. as many of said before... all on her own. they were aged 3, 6 and 9. my father was the oldest and learned adult responsibility at that tender age.
    no help of any kind... no programs. and yet she did it. like others in the same boat did. she often said this when she was older...
    "there will be another great depression in this country. and i'm glad i won't be around to see it this time because it will be different. people helped each other in the last one. in the next one they'll be killing each other."
    i don't know if she really meant that. but giving our current penchant for waste and inability to 'do without'... it's possible i think.
    posts like this one should be talked about in all the classrooms across the country!!! :)
    xoxo

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  24. I'm 49 and have always been free from want, but I grew up keenly aware of it because my parents grew up during the Depression times. Between my 2 sets of grandparents there were 18 children to clothe and feed. Both families had thriving gardens and canned vegetables/fruit. They made their own sausages and bread. My Dad remembers that one family had a brick bread oven in their yard and when he heated it once per week the neighbors would bring their doughs to bake. They would give him some bread in payment as it takes lots of wood and time to properly heat a bread oven. (I was told one of my Grandmas kneaded her dough in a huge tub, like the ones we might bob for apples in. That's alot of dough!) My Mom says her mother made homemade spaghetti every Sunday morning, laying it on a clean sheet on her own bed to 'dry' while they were at Mass. She also remembers bringing onion and egg sandwiches to school and the grease would seep through the wax paper. But the other kids with bologna always wanted to trade, which she wouldn't do. My Mom never had a doll, although that never bothered her. She shared a bed with several siblings as did my Father. My paternal Grandmother would get up early and heat the wood stove to warm the kitchen and cook a big pot of oatmeal. She would bring folded piles of the kids clothes down too and place them on the stove top to warm. The kids would run down for breakfast to the warm kitchen and warm clothes. There was no heat in the upstairs bedrooms even in Winter. My Mom learned to sew in school and became so expert that she was put in charge of sewing her younger siblings clothes. There were 6 younger siblings. Interestingly neither of them would ever have thought to complain. In fact they didn't think there was anything to complain about. They adored their parents too. I think they were the most resilient generation. Marianne

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kindness is never out of style.

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