Depression Era: Cedar Chest Produces New Dress

Missouri woman remembers her mother using a dress that she had been keeping in a cedar chest to make a pretty new dress for her daughter.

| Good Old Days

As a depression-era "baby" I have no memories of being hungry or cold as we lived in the country and had a garden, a cow for milk, eggs, etc. My memories are of clothes. One always wanted to look as nice as possible.

Mother made many of my clothes from scraps she had or people gave her, also from recycling old clothes. I must have been in the third or fourth grade when we were having a program at school, and Mother decided I needed a "new dress." Money was scarce, so she looked in her cedar chest and came out with a dress of hers, a lovely pink silk. Out of that came a beautiful dress for me, trimmed in blue with little pearl buttons. The only thing new on that dress was the thread it was sewn with. My teacher said, "But Betty, you didn't need a new dress for this." I'm sure I explained how the dress came about. I still remember it fifty years later as one of the prettiest dresses I ever had.

Betty Wortman
Wellsville, 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. 


Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019


Next: April 27-28, 2019
Asheville, N.C.

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds