Birthday Money During the Depression Era: A Dime for Duckwall's

Colorado woman remembers spending her treasured birthday money at Duckwall's, on a trip to town.

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As near as I can recall it was a spring Saturday in 1933. Sometime after April, as I still had my birthday money, a dime. It was because of the dime that I was going to town. It was tied in the corner of my handkerchief and nestled in my jacket pocket where I could feel it from time to time to make sure it was still there. 

While Dad took in a sale, I was given permission to go uptown to spend my dime. Duckwall's was my destination. 

I walked up and down each aisle, examining and pricing merchandise. There were rings, necklaces, bracelets, and fancy pins each priced ten cents. I eyed them carefully and went on to the make-up counter. Here I saw creams, lotions, lipsticks, rouge and Blue Waltz perfume. Further down were combs, barrettes, artificial flower corsages, scarves, etc. Most of these were within my price range. 

Another counter was loaded with candy and gum. These sold from one to five cents. I looked at the paper dolls and leafed through the big little books also marked a nickel. I debated whether it would be better to buy two things or just one. 

After my third or fourth time at the jewelry counter I asked to try on rings. I tried on several before I finally settled for a silver-colored setting with a bright blue stone. It fit perfectly. 

Now that I no longer had money to spend I didn't feel welcome to be just "looking," so I retraced my steps along the opposite side of the street. 

Juanita Urbach
Brush, Colorado

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.