Depression Era: Picking Berries for Grape Jam

Missourian recalls her family harvesting berries and wild grapes to make grape jam during the depression era

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One summer morning during the depression era, an aunt was picking with mother and big sis across the road where our place joined a neighbor's. They had on men's old, ragged overalls to protect them from briers, ticks, and chiggers. They were almost startled out of them when the gentle voice of our elderly neighbor spoke, "They are nice, aren't they?" They had decided the berries were better thru the fence and were picking on her land. They were so embarrassed they could hardly answer as they got back to our side. We also gathered and used the wild grapes, hard to pick and sort (I often sorted) but so good combined with apples and made into grape jam for hot biscuits! 

Jewell Cooper 
Bolivar, Missouri


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.