School Lunch During the Depression Era

School lunch tasted better and D.A.R.E was unnecessary during the depression era, says an Illinois man

| Good Old Days

It was 1929 when I entered Urbana High School. School rental books were unknown so I began with about $8.00 worth of new books, which was a lot during the depression era. The most expensive book I ever bought was a sophomore English book at $2.20. Once I got acquainted, I could buy secondhand textbooks for half the new price they paid, and if third hand half of what they paid. The secondhand geometry book was a bargain being as the cover was ripped open to hold a compass and a ruler. Locker charge was $1.00 per year. The cafeteria prices were more than I was told, and the neighbor said to use the lunch line for 5~ hamburgers and 5~ half pints of milk in glass bottles. We did not have drugs in lockers, they were unknown, but two kids may have boasted to impress us claiming they were taking three or four aspirins daily.

Depression lunch room prices were 25~ for a plate lunch, and 45~ for a T-bone steak dinner. Kuhn's sold Jarman dress shoes for $4.00 per pair, dress shirts were $1.29 each and a three-piece suit was $18.00.

Emmett Kirby
Champaign, Illinois

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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