Depression Era: Living and Working Through the Market Crash

Arizona woman remembers living and working in the twin cities after the market crash of 1928.

| Good Old Days

I was quite young during the Depression era, being born in 1921 and only 7 years old at the time of the market crash in 1928.

My father had been a successful farmer up to the time of my birth, when through an unfortunate accident he had to give up farming.

Three rooms of the second floor were rented out for income. One family of four came to rent the rooms for some time. The father rolled cigars and then delivered boxed cigars to sell to the nearby small towns.

The side lot next to the house was made up into a kitchen garden. Here were grown lettuce, tomatoes, radish and vegetables. The neighbor ladies came to buy a sprig of dill for their pickling of cucumbers. My sister and I would sell a sprig for a nickel and then run to the neighborhood grocery store for a store-bought candy bar.

My brother had a daily paper route and also delivered Reminders for the local merchants. In 1931 he saved enough money to buy our first radio. He also saved cancelled stamps and sent them away to receive new stamps. Postcards were a penny then and a letter could be mailed for a three cent postage stamp.

I was 13 years old when we moved to the Twin Cities in 1934. That year my older brother qualified for a government job through taking a Civil Service examination. He went to work for the large sum of $100 a month. Franklin D. Roosevelt was President. Government jobs were the salvation of some of the problems of the time. I, myself, took a summer nursemaid job for $3.50/week. I worked 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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