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. 


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