Depression Era: One Hundred Dollar Bill

California woman recalls her father getting a letter from a relative containing a one-hundred dollar bill for Christmas, during the hard times of the depression era.

| Good Old Days

One year during the depression era, Papa and Mamma told us that there just wasn't money for presents for Christmas but we would have apples, oranges, nuts and candy.

My father took two of his half brothers to care for after their mother passed away. They were now grown, one in Washington D.C. with a good job. The other never married and was a wheat farmer in Montana. He would come about every three years to spend the winter with us. We hadn't heard from him in awhile, but three days before Christmas Papa went to the mail box and came in with a letter. He said, "I guess Jim isn't coming, here is a letter from him."

Mother opened the letter and out came a beautiful new one hundred dollar bill, the first one I had ever seen. I got a very much needed warm school coat. I don't remember what the others got but I never had a coat that meant so much to me. It probably didn't cost but six or seven dollars but to me if was fit for a queen.

Viola Wilkinson Bales
Salinas, California

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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