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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the past year I have been reading about the Great Depression and the reaction from ordinary people had to this extraordinary time in our history. I believe we can learn a great deal from the lessons of our recent past.

My parents lived and survived the depression. In many ways I believe they were far more equipped and prepared when tshtf in their era than we are today. They were closer to the land and were used to doing without. I believe the more we can learn from their experience the better off we will be to deal with the psychological aspect of survival.

I found this little story and thought it was interesting, hope you like it!

http://www.alpharubicon.com/illogic/illogic10.htm

As a child of the "Great Depression," I learned about survivalism at my mother's knee. A large flock of chickens, huge gardens, large enough to provide excess produce for four small children to load into a little red wagon. We sold tomatoes, corn and eggs door-to-door. Our milk, butter and cheese came from our cow and goat. (We spent the early years of the Depression on family land in a small town.) Fresh produce was always desired by those not smart enough to dig up their lawns (if need be) and plant their own gardens!

Mom bartered with the local bakery and swapped ONE dozen eggs for a gunny (tow or tote, in the South, I think?) sack full of day old bread and he always threw in some "goodies" for the children. And when our cow was dry, she traded eggs for milk from a neighbor.

Harvest-time was a VERY busy time. The little boys (2 and 3 year olds) weren't much help... They pushed the little red wagon (no wheelbarrow) while my big brother, Sandy (8 years old), would pull it. I wasn't much help, either. I tried to help Mom and Sandy with the picking, but I'm sure I was a royal pain in the .... you know what

One of the secrets of survivalism: teaching children early and giving them real responsibility (and praise for work well done.)

We watched Mom in action when she threatened a would-be housebreaker with my father's handgun, chased a man from the utility department away with a broom when he was going to turn off our water... We didn't even have the power on. (Burning kerosene constantly can get pretty smelly) Bedtime came early!

But I also watched Mom prepare HUGE Sunday dinners for 20 or more family members - every week!!! And they'd take away a week's worth of food at a time when they left. One thing, though, Mom and we kids were left with ALL of the clean-up detail. Mom finally got fed-up and threw
them all out!

However, one uncle was handicapped and couldn't even get work with the WPA. He and his family lived with us. At meal time, my uncle would find a reason not to eat... He really cared that there be enough for the children!!!

Mom finally persuaded him that watching the very active, mischievous kids was a more than adequate compensation for what he might consume!

So there's another secret of surviving: teamwork

Mom's words of wisdom on surviving with little or no resources other than what you have on hand:

Use it up; wear it out...Make it do; or do without!

...And she practiced what she preached. Clothes were made from curtains, flour sacks, sheets and re-worked fabric from larger garments. Shoes were worn with cardboard over the holes in the sole... And if they were beyond wearable (or it was summer) we went barefoot. And, yes, we walked everywhere. Gas was too precious to use. Once my father got out of the hospital (where he had been for several years with a serious spinal injury), he found a job, so he needed the car for transportation to and from work, anyway (Mom never did drive.) For us, the Depression was over in 1935!

But the habit of being prepared was deeply instilled in all of us. Even moving back to San Francisco didn't break the habit.

We always had a year or more's worth of supplies on hand... just in case. When rationing started during World War II, we were glad to have the produce from our little "Victory Garden." We also brought produce home from the farmers' market (that no longer exists), making sure we got there when the farmers were setting up for early morning sales... How do you say "middle-of-the-night" produce shopping? But it all got canned in our teeny-tiny kitchen or dried on the fire-escape.

more on the link if your interested............
 

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LASSIE! (I did it again)
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Your experiences reminded me of those that my father told us. He came from a family of twelve and sadly their Mother died young, leaving the father, Poppy, to make do with his surviving 9 sons and one daughter. Dad was in charge of the family garden which fed them. They then sold the surplus or gave it to neighbors.
One of my earliest memories growing up is of Dad working in the garden and having us help him. One of our punishments if we got in trouble was to go pick a gallon of beans. Back then it seemed to take forever, now I can it in 5-10 minutes of course.
Thanks for bringing back the memories. I am preparing to expand my own vegetable garden. I work in it for an hour or so after a long day at the office and all my cares and tensions melt away.
 

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Geronimo!
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Old Relic, the guy that wrote that, is a good guy. He and I have spoken before about that exact same subject ... my grandfather and grandmother often telling me about what life was like in the twenties and thirties in El Paso, TX and in Olive Branch, Mississippi.

The fact of the matter is that I honestly sort of feel like they had such an influence in my life, preparing me for the day it would come again, that it probably made me a little obsessive about prepping.

... but it seems to be paying off now.

Don't overspend. Work hard, save money. Lay off the credit. Pay off your bills. And keep some things back for the rainy days ... it works.
 

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Tested in the Wilderness
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I loved hearing stories of the Great Depression from my grandparents. The main problem was they would hardly ever want to talk about it.

My mom and dad were born in the early 1930's and remember growing up with no electricity, with wood and coal burning stoves. My Dad remembers gathering coal from along railroad tracks to burn, getting his first gun at 10 and hunting rabbits etc., knocking over outhouses on Halloween with him and his "gang" etc. etc.

And my Dad's mother did tell me some true stories such as they almost never ate eggs, but saved them to barter at the store and usually only gave someone an egg if they were sick.
She also said her mother once went out of the house with a shotgun with her large mean dog. Her brothers had come into the yard with some booze, they were bootleggers. And she told them to leave holding the shotgun. They were all about half Indian and lived deep in the Ozarks at Thornfield, MO which I would be surprised if anyone has heard of that spot in the road. I went there in the early eighties and saw one aunt who was over 80 then.

And no one was harder workers, more frugal, learned to do without many things and survived many hardships such as losing a son - my Dad' brother - to dust pnemonia in Phillipsburg, Kansas then moving to Colorado to escape - Bug out = to a better area to survive and thrive.

I don't have a pic on my computer and I don't have a scanner to scan some old pics of my grandparents and great-grandparents but here is one pic that looks similar to my great-grandmother >



My great-grandmother, named Dora, was small with glasses and her hair was like that and did own a shotgun etc. etc....
 

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My Grandparents were born around the turn of the century, my parents in the 1930's. Much of what I learned from my grandparents were from visiting them as a child and listening to my Mother talk about how she grew up.

My grandparents lived in a rural area in central Texas on a place that Mom quotes my grandmother as saying, "Whoever lived there before intended to live well." The place had fruit trees, a well and a spring and grapevines.

I remember in the 1970's my Grandmother still kept her garden and canned vegetables. The house was surrounded by pomegranite bushes and she had a favorite fig tree for her fig preserves. Mom is also convinced they had a date tree. The old house had two cisterns tied into the a gutter system for the roof. No indoor plumbing and a wood burning heater.

Mom talks about grandma making grape juice by cooking the mustang grapes down, adding sugar (but not enough to jelly) and canning in jars. She said when they were ready to drink it, her mother would take one jar, add to a pitcher of water and serve.

Also, according to my mother, my grandfather was crack shot with a .22; as were most of her brothers. Her brothers also worked the surrounding farms at whatever was needed to earn anything extra they could for the family, including breaking and training horses and mules.

Mom says my grandfather was also one that knew the local plants and how to use them. He also knew how to find beehives. He also knew how to play the fiddle and harmonica; while my Greatgrandmother and one of mom's sisters played the piano. My Greatgrandfather was a blacksmith (I have his anvil!).

It is always fascinating to get her to speak of those days - but she was the last child, and even she admits she probably doesn't remember 10% of what they did.
 

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My mother once told me that it was a huge deal when her mom was taking the kids into town to buy a sack of flour. That flour sack was going to be the print design on their dresses and skirts for the next two months. There would be huge arguments between her and her sisters about which flour sack to buy. The boys always wanted a plain white sack, but when it came to a pretty floral print, the girls were relentless. :) Even the binding that was sewn at the top of the bag to keep it shut tight was used for trim. Nothing ever went to waste.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My Grandparents were born around the turn of the century, my parents in the 1930's. Much of what I learned from my grandparents were from visiting them as a child and listening to my Mother talk about how she grew up.

My grandparents lived in a rural area in central Texas on a place that Mom quotes my grandmother as saying, "Whoever lived there before intended to live well." The place had fruit trees, a well and a spring and grapevines.

I remember in the 1970's my Grandmother still kept her garden and canned vegetables. The house was surrounded by pomegranite bushes and she had a favorite fig tree for her fig preserves. Mom is also convinced they had a date tree. The old house had two cisterns tied into the a gutter system for the roof. No indoor plumbing and a wood burning heater.

Mom talks about grandma making grape juice by cooking the mustang grapes down, adding sugar (but not enough to jelly) and canning in jars. She said when they were ready to drink it, her mother would take one jar, add to a pitcher of water and serve.

Also, according to my mother, my grandfather was crack shot with a .22; as were most of her brothers. Her brothers also worked the surrounding farms at whatever was needed to earn anything extra they could for the family, including breaking and training horses and mules.

Mom says my grandfather was also one that knew the local plants and how to use them. He also knew how to find beehives. He also knew how to play the fiddle and harmonica; while my Greatgrandmother and one of mom's sisters played the piano. My Greatgrandfather was a blacksmith (I have his anvil!).

It is always fascinating to get her to speak of those days - but she was the last child, and even she admits she probably doesn't remember 10% of what they did.
Thanks for this....that was great!

I hope you pass that anvil down to future generations...nice reminder!
 

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Geronimo!
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I had another thought that really brought back a good memory ... it was of my grandpappy and me back in the sixites, sitting around early morning campfires in the woods not a half of a mile from home, cooking squirrels in an eight inch skillet he used to keep in the back of his truck ... an empty ovaltine bottle of flour, some bacon grease and some salt and pepper and we were in business. Dad even went some times and I'd hear stories after stories.

Northing like fried squirrel in the woods ... then taking the drippin's and make gravy with a spoonful of flour. He'd talk about how they practically lived on that through the depression.

People wouldn't know how to act these days.
 

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I hope you pass that anvil down to future generations...nice reminder!
My son already has his eyes on it. I told him he needed to be patient.:D:

I had another thought that really brought back a good memory ... it was of my and my grandpappy back in the sixites, sitting around a campfire not a half of a mile from home, cooking squirrels in an eight inch skillet he used to keep in the back of his truck.

...

People wouldn't know how to act these days.
That's the thing. In the 1930's that generation that was alive during the westward expansion was still around and still had the knowledge of how to survive off the land. My grandparents lived nearly penniless for a few years scraping enough money together to pay the taxes on the house. But they raised 8 kids that did well for themselves on that place.

Fastforward to 2010. I find myself relearning that lost knowledge. Imagine all the people that have NO connection to those times, and not a clue where to start.
 

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my parents grew up in the depression, which pretty much slid right into the War and rationing. My in laws also, so I got plenty of the stories. Luckily, my kids grew up around them and we were real poor, so they had a good start. Once we had a bit of money, it didn't take them long to get spoiled! Now, they are looking back and are thankful they aren't going to be lost in the dark when things get bad.

My mother-in-law used to tell me that most of the meat was salt pork. I'd only had salt pork in beans, so I didn't know how many ways there was to fix it. They had salt pork and a flock of laying hens...when one stopped laying, it became Sunday dinner. lol
Here's a great free cookbook called "Food that will win the War". It has all kinds of tips put together from the Depression and War rationing that will help you take cheap food and make it taste great and also how to strech food and use food items that may seem strange. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15464...-h/15464-h.htm
 

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Survivus most anythingus
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I had another thought that really brought back a good memory ... it was of my and my grandpappy back in the sixites, sitting around a campfire not a half of a mile from home, cooking squirrels in an eight inch skillet he used to keep in the back of his truck.

Northing like fried squirrel in the woods ... then taking the drippin's and make gravy with a spoonful of flour. He'd talk about how they practically lived on that through the depression.

People wouldn't know how to act these days.
My Dad was the same way. I was born late in his life, he was 43 when I was born and he died when I was 13. Fried squirrel or rabbit, or either roasted over an open fire, is indeed something that cannot be beat as far as I'm concerned. Fried potatoes and onions, collard-turnip-or other greens with some onion in them and catfish, perch or shad as well.

He used to trap beaver, muskrat, **** and fox and club skunks when he was a little boy which paid for .22 ammunition and he would hunt everything he could with that. Including whitetails. They lived on a farm so they could barter a bit for certain things they needed but as far as money was concerned, they had very, very little. But they had food and trading a bit of food for the occasional pair of shoes or a shirt or pair of pants is how they lived for years.
 

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Survivus most anythingus
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My Dad used to say to me, "They called it, 'The Great Depression,' but it wasn't really all that great, Son." :D

You had to know him to get the humor in that.

My Mother was born in 1938 and she was born in Fleming-Neon and lived in Jenkins, Kentucky. All the same to me, I spent more time over on the other side of Pound Mountain when I lived down there for almost a year. Hard country and the people really are survivors at their core because of the way they were raised.
 

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::As I sit here with a few tears running down my cheek::

I would just like to say thank you to all of you! Your words have brought back Memories of my Grandparents who raised me on there small Illinios farm during summers. I turn 52 last month and it sure helps me to know I turned out all right as a person. I looked back and realized I have tried very hard to become my Grandfather. No not in everyway but pretty darn close. I simply hope that my Grandfather would be proud of the way his Grandson has turned out.
Again Thanks to each and everyone of you for your stories and thoughts of your Parents and Grandparents.

With Deep Love and Admiration,
Hoss
 
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