California woman honors the resourceful parents who raised her through the depression era
Recalling the events of the depression era, I have remembered most of all the courage of my parents. As a child, I accepted everything. As an adult, I realize not only how difficult the years must have been, but how resourceful people became in their struggle to provide for a family.
After his job on the railroad was eliminated, my father worked any job available. He raised chickens, planted a garden, cleaned school rooms, hauled garbage, shoveled snow, whatever the season required, he kept busy. He raised beautiful chickens and took good care of them. He remembered, from his working days on the railroad, the grain that remained on the floor of the box cars after they were unloaded. He asked, and received, permission to sweep up the grain, which he brought home for the chickens. He cooked peelings from the vegetables prepared for the family and fed those to the chickens. He gave names to several of his favorites. One particularly large white rooster was father's pet. He cradled him in his left arm on occasion, and brought him into the kitchen for a brief visit. They were fun to listen to as well. Dad spoke to him, as one would to a friend, and the rooster made little noises that seemed like a response. When the time came to sell chickens, he took them to our neighbor who owned a poultry business. He traded live chickens for dressed chickens. Needless to say, his pet rooster was not sold. We enjoyed our chicken dinners, knowing we were not eating "our friends."
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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