Thursday, July 11, 2013

Learning From History

Library of Congress, Great Depression

Here are five random things I learned while working on my book:
1. Six months after the crash, the President of the United States was already saying the Depression was over and there was nothing to worry about. Yet, the road ahead would be much harder than he made it seem. May 1, 1930. At a dinner of the Chamber of Commerce, President Hoover said, 

“While the crash only took place six months ago, 
I am convinced we have now passed the worst 
and with continued unity of effort we shall rapidly recover. 
There is one certainty of the future of a people of the resources, intelligence and character of the people of the United States—that is, prosperity.”

2. I was surprised at the the variety of people's experiences. It makes sense, because America is so vast, but some people lost everything and other people seemed to even benefit from the Depression. A lot of people said that it made their family grow closer together. But sometimes families suffered too much. One family had to send their two oldest children away because they could not support all five of their children.

3. If there was little money to buy food, I know I would be praying that my garden was a success that year. But many people in the great plains suffered a drought. The Dust Bowl was a tragedy that occurred while people where already suffering from financial distress. I cannot imagine suffering from hunger and also being worried about the dust outside. The dust was so distressing that people would get a dust pneumonia. The drought and erosion of the dust bowl affected 100,000,000 acres of land.

4. It has been difficult to see people suffer in recent years from the recession, but this hardly compares with the suffering during the 1930's.  The economic decline during this time was -26.5%, where during the recession it was -3.3%. 

5. I recently visited Pocahontas State Park and found a CCC Museum there. In efforts to improve the economy, the national state parks were built. The program was for mostly young men, who would keep a small portion of what they earned ($5.00), and the rest ($25.00) was sent home to their families. It helped young men feel needed, and gave their family the help they needed.


Kandy Howard said...

Interesting facts. The picture kind of breaks my heart. I remember my mother talking about how little they had when she was growing up. My dad too. I think living through such meager times really affected them for the rest of their lives. My mother felt the need to save almost anything that she thought might be useful somewhere down the road because "you never know when you might need it!" And my dad I think learned to live a very simple life, never wanting for much. The basics were all he cared about. I'd like to get a copy of your book. Maybe Kurt could bring it to me?

Linda said...

My Mom and Grandma were deeply affected too. The experiences really do affect the rest of their lives. It seems to be a powerful lesson, to only desire the basics of life. A good example to the rest of us. Yes, I will have Kurt bring a book for you.