Depression Era: Growing Up in the Thirties

Missourian recalls growing up in the thirties and wasting nothing during the depression era.

| Good Old Days

This is of my own recollection of the Depression era as I grew up in the Thirties.

Those years were hard. CCC Camps, WPA work, etc. helped us survive. Most people followed the motto, "Use it up; wear it out; make it do; or do without." Outgrown clothing was passed on to the next child or to neighbor children who could use it. Newspapers and magazines were shared. Anything needing repaired was patched, darned or mended. New articles of clothing were made from old.

Feed sacks and flour sacks were valuable. White sacks were bleached by boiling with lye until letterings came out. They were then used for sheets, pillow slips, tea towels, underwear, and handkerchiefs. I used ten-pound sugar sacks to make our boys' training pants. Printed sacks were used for dresses, blouses, children's overalls, curtains, and quilts. Heavy clothing was cut into blocks and made into comforters. Fabric scraps were used for quilts. Rags were torn into strips and then crocheted or woven into rugs.

Mothers gave their children hair cuts and often their husbands.

We saved waxed paper from cracker and cereal boxes and there weren't very many kinds of cereals. Sometimes a loaf of bread was bought and the wrapper was re-used.

One time I papered my pantry with newspapers - at least it was clean.

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