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Old 08-18-2018, 09:48 AM
BASS BASS is offline
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Both sets of my grandparents raised large families through the depression. My parents were too young to remember much about it other than being very poor. But the lifestyle they were raised with followed them throughout their life. Being frugal, learning to make due, cooking good foods from whatever was available, etc. Mom always had a garden going, and home canned a lot of foods.

To his dying day, my dad would pick up scraps of wire or a loose nut or bolt as he ran across them. He had bins full of "junk" as my mom called it. But sure enough, when something around the house needed fixing, he could almost always browse through his "junk" and find the parts to fix it.
Mike,

I sit here laughing. I am "guilty as charged" as doing the same thing even today at 74.

I was in construction, carpenter and supervision and often had a big magnet on a string. I was amazed how much "extra hardware" was thrown away after some specialty items were assembled and finished. I had a lot of screws and nuts and bolts. Still do.

I have some plumbing stuff such as: copper pipe and fittings; soldering equipment and what I need to solder copper; sink traps and some washers for kitchen and bathroom; toilet tank flappers; a lot of drywall and lumber screws; most sizes of nails; electrical items and tools; roof repair items and various other items too many to posts. Sometimes you "need it now"!

I know many here maybe "guilty as charged" also!
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Old 08-18-2018, 10:12 AM
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My mom's family fared well in the depression. They lived in a small town in southern Ohio.

My grandfather owned the local bank and the car dealership. His bank did not lose a dime when the market crashed. Only one farm failed in the area. This was because my grandfather saw this coming and divested before the crash.

He would not allow the farmers to over-invest against crop futures and all but one listened to him. The one who didn't, lost his farm and my grandfather bought it and then hired his family to run the farm but not the finances.

I never knew my mom's folks as they were both gone before I was a year old. My grandfather's sister, however, lived with us until I was 12, passing away at 96. She watched us go from steam power to space flight. She taught school for 63 years and was an amazing woman. She was my best friend growing up.

My dad's family did not fare as well. They owned a general store that catered mostly to railroad families in Upstate New York. They allowed folks to buy on credit when things started getting tough and ended up losing everything. My dad and his oldest brother ended up in an orphanage for several years. My grandma, whom I only met once, had a nervous breakdown after the family lost the business. When she got back on her feet they brought my dad and uncle home.

Funny thing was that my dad never told me about the orphanage and I only found out after his and my mom's death. I have many questions that would have like to have asked him but he probably would not have wanted to answer them as the memories were very painful.

My father-in-law's family also prospered during the depression. We built a small chain of gas stations in Southern California and was able to build the first one without going into debt, just before the depression. A lot of his business came from military and government personnel. You know the old saying, location, location, location.

My mother-in-law's family were pipe-fitters and stone workers. The built bridges during the days of the WPA. The skilled laborers fared pretty well compared to the rest of the folks. They didn't get rich but didn't go hungry either.

Gardening was a way of life for both my wife's and my families, on both sides. Something that has continued on to our family and many of our children.

Stocking staples; sugar, flour, dried beans, etc. has always been a part of both of our families. This came more from the rationing of World War II more than from Depression life.
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Old 08-18-2018, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by BASS View Post
Mike,

I sit here laughing. I am "guilty as charged" as doing the same thing even today at 74.

I was in construction, carpenter and supervision and often had a big magnet on a string. I was amazed how much "extra hardware" was thrown away after some specialty items were assembled and finished. I had a lot of screws and nuts and bolts. Still do.

I have some plumbing stuff such as: copper pipe and fittings; soldering equipment and what I need to solder copper; sink traps and some washers for kitchen and bathroom; toilet tank flappers; a lot of drywall and lumber screws; most sizes of nails; electrical items and tools; roof repair items and various other items too many to posts. Sometimes you "need it now"!

I know many here maybe "guilty as charged" also!
One thing my dad would make me do, growing up, was to carefully remove nails and then straighten them for reuse. (although I seldom remember reusing them. )

He had a small section of train rail that I would use with a small sledge and slip joint pliers. Many a smashed finger before I started using the pliers.

I still have the piece of rail.
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Old 08-18-2018, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by benson56 View Post
Can you imagine cooking with a woodburning cookstove when it was 100* outside????
Wowsers..
That is why many people, especially in the south, have Summer Kitchens outside. It is usually a roofed area to shade the kitchen, with some low walls or few walls/no walls to allow any breeze to blow through.

Many people in the south, and up here in the north, cannot afford air conditioning and some people only have fans to blow the air around.

I was married a few years before I got an air conditioner. I thought I was blessed to have it.

We cook on a gas grill a lot outside in the shade of a big tree. Wife is doing that right now BTW.
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Old 08-18-2018, 12:57 PM
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Mom's family home had sleeping porches for the summer, off each of the bedrooms.
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Old 08-18-2018, 07:28 PM
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If as "depression era" we can count free market reforms in post-communist countries, if so my parents counts.

Basically '90s in Central-East Europe was definition "from bad to worse". Economy collapse in my region (20+% unemployment overall, some rural areas hit over 60% unemployment through '90s to ~2004) when government as part of "Balcerowicz Plan" liquidated inneficient PGR system (Państwowe Gospodarstwo Rolne ie equivalent of Soviet kolkhozes), industry in region was completely dependent on state orders with a poor economic calculation, completely outdated technologically and with over-employment and poor quality products. So big part of industries goes bankrupt in just few years existing free market in country.


Family lost all their savings due to hiperinflation in '80s, later lost their house after grandpa death (workers in communist era rarely own their homes, in '40s communist nationalized houses and gave them to companies who was responsible for workers housing. When workers stop working anymore in company or die, then family had to move out). How they make it? A family relative emigrate to West Germany in '80s where become co-owner saw mill. When communism ends, she bought a lot of arable land from state with house. She agree to move my parents there to oversee property. Father got job in telecommunications company in Poznan in same time. He earn "decent" money (close to 2 average salaries back them, still terrible money for any means. Average salary was ~550 zloty, for example pair of winter shoes cost close to 130 zloty) but due to housing shortages in Poznan rent was so crazy high so plan to move out to bigger city was out of reach. Mother with sister and grandma raise own animals and establish big vegetable garden (basically we was nearly food self-sufficient).

Heating during this period was big problem, coal was too costful to buy, so they "cleanses" area from waste after cutting down forests (it was quite a lot, lumberjacks machines left a lot of waste like tree crowns or large branches). As grandpa work within "State Forest Service" (institution controlling forests in Poland), so they still have a lot of contacts with officials issuing permits for collecting this waste from forests and as effect they was abutant with wood, less lucky wait for several months for "cleaning permit" to collect wood or just steal wood from forests or already stacked wood from private owners.

Another problem was thieves on farm and shady business middle in forests (rather crazy story, in forest meet up people armed with AK rifles with a few big trailer trucks at night).
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Old 08-18-2018, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BASS View Post
Mike,

I sit here laughing. I am "guilty as charged" as doing the same thing even today at 74.

I was in construction, carpenter and supervision and often had a big magnet on a string. I was amazed how much "extra hardware" was thrown away after some specialty items were assembled and finished. I had a lot of screws and nuts and bolts. Still do.

I have some plumbing stuff such as: copper pipe and fittings; soldering equipment and what I need to solder copper; sink traps and some washers for kitchen and bathroom; toilet tank flappers; a lot of drywall and lumber screws; most sizes of nails; electrical items and tools; roof repair items and various other items too many to posts. Sometimes you "need it now"!

I know many here maybe "guilty as charged" also!
Yep, I do it too. I saw the wisdom of it. I remember growing up, we always had the scrap lumber pile out back. A few leftover bricks and pavers, etc. One day dad decided to make us a nice BBQ grill. He already had enough pavers and bricks on hand and it turned out really nice. We got a lot of use out of it. And there was always lumber to repair something, build a shelf, bird cage, or what have you.

I used to do that with electronics components too. But today, there aren't all that many resistors and capacitors in the circuits like in years past.

The plumbing parts were a godsend back when we had a blue law that wouldn't let you buy anything on sunday. It seems that sunday was always when there was a plumbing emergency and dad could always patch it up with something from his "junk" collection.
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Old 08-19-2018, 03:30 AM
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I never met my father, he died before I was a year old in a car accident. My grandfather stepped in... ...

...I have zero sympathy for people who claim they can't find work. If you treat it like your life depends on it you will always, always find work. May not be your dream job, but you'll find something.
#MeToo.. Except my Father was taken on his 'Indian' (..that my GF rebuilt, entirely, after He had put a bajillon miles on it..) when I was about 1.5.. Mom did eventually remarry, and Step-Dad turned out a decent guy, always took good care of Her / us, but.. My Grandfather was that 'role model', that I'd later, deeply-wish I'd had been able to enjoy with my Father. He was an Electronics engineer / sub-assembly tech on guidance electronics that were integrated into the Apollo program (somewhere..) Wish I'd've known 'im, though my GF was a Truly Great Man, no doubt well-seasoned by living thru those hard times, and what He learned from His Parents..

..And ya, Amen re: Work-ethic.. Just Cannot stand the "homeless" that stand there all day with a Sign saying 'Will work for (whatever)'.. Well, yer not exactly impressing that on Me, for one! Anyway, times have certainly changed, eh?

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Originally Posted by MikeK View Post
...my dad... had bins full of "junk" ...But sure enough, when something around the house needed fixing, he could almost always ...find the parts to fix it.
..Pretty sure I can relate...



..Yeah, I'll admit, it's prolly a bit of a 'sickness', as I've got, uh.. a 'few' of such-like bins, but.. you'll have to pry them from my cold, dead.. Maybe I have 'too many', but.. One thing I can say for sure - can't tell ya When I'll use that (whatever) chotchkie I've saved, but.. for Sure, I Will..

.02
jd
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Old 08-19-2018, 07:25 AM
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Some people were barely effected by the great depression, some got richer, but some had there lives near destroyed as the GDP fell from 103 billion to 56 billion in 4 years.

The new deal saved a lot of lives. People were moving all over the country looking for work or just food and often failing. Although it prolonged the great depression, it stopped things getting worse which may have lead to upheaval that Russia and Germany faced post ww1.

It would not have taken a lot for a figure like Hitler, Mussolini, Castro or Lenin to have risen if things got bad enough. Look at the bonus army. Desperate times bring on despot leaders. There were pretty influential men such as Henry Ford who supported Hitler and many of his ideas.

My grandparents still grew their own vegetables when I was a kid, they never forgot what it was like to have no food
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Old 08-19-2018, 07:38 AM
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My folks went through the depression. Dad never talked about it, but he grew up on a prosperous farm in eastern Nebraska, and I doubt it affected them much. My mother grew up on a farm in eastern Wyoming. She talked about having to eat jackrabbits. She hated the government because they came to their farm and killed all their cows!!! I remember when I was young maybe in the 50s she was doing "prepper" things like keeping 5 gal cans or wheat stored in the barn.
bilmac, why did they government come through and kill all their cows??
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Old 08-19-2018, 07:02 PM
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She was just a kid and I doubt she really knew. I think I've heard that it was because of the drought, and protecting the land. I would think the owners got paid, but kind of like taking private gold, pennies on the dollar.
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Old 08-19-2018, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by BASS View Post
Mike,

I sit here laughing. I am "guilty as charged" as doing the same thing even today at 74.

I was in construction, carpenter and supervision and often had a big magnet on a string. I was amazed how much "extra hardware" was thrown away after some specialty items were assembled and finished. I had a lot of screws and nuts and bolts. Still do.

I have some plumbing stuff such as: copper pipe and fittings; soldering equipment and what I need to solder copper; sink traps and some washers for kitchen and bathroom; toilet tank flappers; a lot of drywall and lumber screws; most sizes of nails; electrical items and tools; roof repair items and various other items too many to posts. Sometimes you "need it now"!

I know many here maybe "guilty as charged" also!
slow day at the flea market means im walking around picking up whatever bits of metal i can find. sometimes its an aluminum can, sometimes its a piece of silver. every monday, off to the scrap yard i go and get whatever i can. even if its five bucks, its five bucks more than i had before i took the trip. the only job that i ever knew my grandfather had was that of a junk man during the depression....i inherited that gene. i like junk, i can make treasures out of trash. i have that mentality that if it can be repurposed into anything i can think of, it gets done. yesterday at the flea market someone had dropped a couple of crystal goblets and left them on the ground; one stem was almost broken off completely, the other partially. got a hammer and knocked them both clear off. some other vendor approached me and asked if i was somehow testing the glass to see if it was real crystal. i told him nope, but i showed him what i intended to do with the bulb part of the glass. i grabbed a pair of taper candle holders and put the bulbs into them. i told him i intended to glue the glass tops onto the tapers holder so they would now hold either a tea light or a votive. i did it today and they look great.
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Old 08-19-2018, 09:46 PM
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My parents and grandparents. My Dad was in a pack of 11 kids in rural Ky. Bourbon country, 3 room house, acre garden, critters on a homestead. Grampa had three jobs. My Moms folks lived in rural downstate Illinois, grampa and his brother owned the town pharmacy and bartered alot with what ppl paid with. Thats how they got alot of meat and vegetables. Gramma was a Chicago girl trapped in the cornfields. They never starved because someone always needed medicine and they knew they could call grampa at all hours for that sick kid or spouse.
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Old 08-20-2018, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Timbersawz View Post
Some people were barely effected by the great depression, some got richer, but some had there lives near destroyed as the GDP fell from 103 billion to 56 billion in 4 years.

The new deal saved a lot of lives. People were moving all over the country looking for work or just food and often failing. Although it prolonged the great depression, it stopped things getting worse which may have lead to upheaval that Russia and Germany faced post ww1.

It would not have taken a lot for a figure like Hitler, Mussolini, Castro or Lenin to have risen if things got bad enough. Look at the bonus army. Desperate times bring on despot leaders. There were pretty influential men such as Henry Ford who supported Hitler and many of his ideas.

My grandparents still grew their own vegetables when I was a kid, they never forgot what it was like to have no food
You can look at some New Deal initiatives from several perspectives. One of the plans was the CCC. This was a plan to move urban men primarily between the ages of 18 and 40 to the forests so they wouldn't cause trouble in the cities. They did what at the time was essentially make work building parks that 90% of Americans couldn't use at the time.

My grandfather was well placed in the Democratic party at the time so he held a position in the CCC in the area. Part of his job was to make sure all the CCC workers were registered to vote. Preferably Democrat. And made sure who they voted for at election time.

So you could call this aid and job creation or you could call this a FEMA camp with semi forced labor. Some people would not qualify for relief (welfare) if they didn't participate in the CCC.

There are a number of economists who feel the depression would have ended much sooner if not for Roosevelt's socialist programs. To some extent this is proven by examining the recoveries of previous depressions and also how the recovery was progressing under Hoover. Roosevelt took some actions (or some in actions) between the time he was elected and sworn in which many feel made the situation worse. Thus allowing him to institute more socialist programs once he got going. (Remember when Roosevelt first won the presidency the inauguration was in March. Leaving a three month span where the previous president was a very lame duck.
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Old 08-20-2018, 08:24 AM
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My grandparents and my parents lived during the Great Depression. My childhood was much influenced by their experiences and teachings. Being frugal with power, water, etc serves me well in the world we have now with increasing resource shortages.

In fact my grandparents, born in the late 1800s lived through a number of depressions with the "Great" one being the worst.

One of my grandparents had a farm while the other had various skills in a nearby farming based community. So they had it hard but did not go hungry. In both cases they owned their home. A major part of being secure in a deflating economy.
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Old 08-20-2018, 09:01 AM
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Both of my parents lived through it.

My mom was born in 1927 and her family owned a small farm, her dad worked in a shipyard. So they had some income since the demand for working boats was big and people had to eat. The farm took in baby pigs to raise and if there were 4 to raise, they got 1 to butcher. Feed was supplied. My grandmother was a butcher, she learned that in Czechoslovakia and also did tailoring. Nothing went to waste, men's suits were altered into boy's suits. Nothing from an animal went unused.

My dad was born in Brooklyn in 1917 and grew up in Long Beach, NY. His dad was the building inspector for the city and owned a dock-building company. He was a hustler and was always busy. They raised their own chickens and had a good sized garden that gave them vegetables. When my grandmother lived with us, she would can food and I saw the whole process, of course I helped.

My dad became a borderline hoarder, he would throw out nothing and the house looked like it. I tend to save things I shouldn't but have been chucking more and more lately.
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Old 08-20-2018, 09:25 AM
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Both sets of my grandparent grew up in the late depression and into ww2. The real depression stories I heard from one set of my great grandparents that lived until I was 12, the died 8 months apart.

G.grandma immigrated from Germany with her parents at the turn of the last century and g. Grandpa the same but from Switzerland. They raised 4 children on a small 10 acre farm with a couple pigs, chickens, a milk cow and a horse that the kids rode to school.

I remember g.grandma talki g alot about it. Grandpa would have a loaf of bread, and onion, and Apple (from there Apple tree) and a hunk of cheese every day for lunch. They butchered a pig every year and used every part of it. She would talk to hobos stopp8ng by the farm several times a week (They were about a mile from the train track) for food. They would have to split a cord of wood for a butter sandwich and a cup of coffee. She reused everything and was a wonderful loving woman that was strong. Grandpa seldom talked at all. They were always poor and worked until they were in their 80s.

She had a brother who farmed in western Kansas. In the early 30s he bought several thousand acres of land for $1 an acre. He sold it in the 70s and moved out the California to become an "author". Neither ever had any debt. They lived simply.

My maternal grandfather had to quit school and go to work when his oldest brother went off to war. He was 15 and worked in a flour mill for 40 years until his lungs gave out. He worked 80 hour a week all of his life and never complained. His father was I'll and he had to provide. When he dies he had saved up $150,000 and never made more than $9 an hour. He built his house, my uncle's house and helped remodel out house. He was an amazing man that I miss very much.
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:44 PM
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slow day at the flea market means im walking around picking up whatever bits of metal i can find. sometimes its an aluminum can, sometimes its a piece of silver. every monday, off to the scrap yard i go and get whatever i can. even if its five bucks, its five bucks more than i had before i took the trip. the only job that i ever knew my grandfather had was that of a junk man during the depression....i inherited that gene. i like junk, i can make treasures out of trash. i have that mentality that if it can be repurposed into anything i can think of, it gets done. yesterday at the flea market someone had dropped a couple of crystal goblets and left them on the ground; one stem was almost broken off completely, the other partially. got a hammer and knocked them both clear off. some other vendor approached me and asked if i was somehow testing the glass to see if it was real crystal. i told him nope, but i showed him what i intended to do with the bulb part of the glass. i grabbed a pair of taper candle holders and put the bulbs into them. i told him i intended to glue the glass tops onto the tapers holder so they would now hold either a tea light or a votive. i did it today and they look great.

fast followup: so this morning i was washing dishes and thought i might light a tea lite in the new holders...dropped in a candle and realized that the candles are too deep to have my lighter light them. grabbed the closest thing to me which was a chop stick and let the pointy end catch on fire and lowered it to the wick. worked beautifully. i wont spend a dime again on long matches...stocking up for free at the chinese restaurant when i take out.

btw...picked up $14.75 at the scrap yard... for saturdays junk metal
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Old 08-20-2018, 01:24 PM
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fast followup: so this morning i was washing dishes and thought i might light a tea lite in the new holders...dropped in a candle and realized that the candles are too deep to have my lighter light them. grabbed the closest thing to me which was a chop stick and let the pointy end catch on fire and lowered it to the wick. worked beautifully. i wont spend a dime again on long matches...stocking up for free at the chinese restaurant when i take out.

btw...picked up $14.75 at the scrap yard... for saturdays junk metal
..........
Country Girls Can Survive.....
I am in NJ to! I wish you well girl. You do what you can and look forward not back. You are certainly a "survivor". Best to ya, BASS
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Old 08-20-2018, 02:13 PM
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fast followup: so this morning i was washing dishes and thought i might light a tea lite in the new holders...dropped in a candle and realized that the candles are too deep to have my lighter light them. grabbed the closest thing to me which was a chop stick and let the pointy end catch on fire and lowered it to the wick. worked beautifully. i wont spend a dime again on long matches...stocking up for free at the chinese restaurant when i take out.

btw...picked up $14.75 at the scrap yard... for saturdays junk metal
We donít eat out often at all and the closest Chinese place would cost me $20 in gas. Those long skewers that you would use for kabobs on the grill work great and are cheap.
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