65 Pieces Of Survival Wisdom From The Great Depression (2 videos 3 pages)


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Categories: Survival

  • Missions were there to feed people but many of those missions eventually ran out of money.
  • All food was made from scratch.
  • To what extent any individual or family was affected by the Great Depression depended on large part where they lived. Not all areas were affected in the same way.
  • Hunting and fishing were major ways in which families were fed.
  • Everyone, including the kids, found ways to earn money. There was a team mentality that brought everyone together for a common goal.
  • Unfortunately, loss of income wasn’t a good enough excuse to not pay rent or the mortgage, although some landlords, in particular, were willing to extend credit.
  • There was virtually no sense of entitlement. Everyone knew they would only survive if they worked hard to do so.
  • At this time there was no such thing as “retirement”. Everyone worked until they became physically unable to continue.

  • Some towns had “welfare budgets”. Money was loaned from the town to individuals, but there was a strict keeping of books. Some towns even published in their newspapers how much each person owed and repayment was expected.
  • There was a sense of dignity in even the lowliest of jobs. One woman tells the story of a notions salesman who visited their home every few months. He looked very dapper and wore expensive looking clothing, even as a door to door salesman.
  • The Great Depression affected people in all walks of life. Only the most elite were immune from its effects.

  • When banks closed, you were left with, literally, only the cash in your pockets or hidden away at home. Everything else was GONE.
  • Many discovered strength through optimism and looked at their disadvantages as personal challenges that could be overcome with ingenuity and hard work.
  • Foods that would normally have not been eaten became commonplace at the kitchen table, such as bean sandwiches and codfish gravy.
  • Many mothers learned to “not be hungry” as they gave larger portions to their husbands and kids.
  • Food prices at that time were fairly high when compared with wages. For example, a general laborer made $2 per day. The WPA paid $1 per day. But bread was 10 cents a loaf, milk 8 cents a quart, and eggs 7 cents/dozen.
  • Meals were simpler than those we eat today and, therefore, cheaper. There were virtually no prepared foods at grocery stores.
  • Families learned to shop at the very last minute on a Saturday night to get bargains on fresh produce that would go bad over the weekend. (Stores were closed on Sundays.)
  • Learning how to forage and find edible plants helped many families fill their dinner plates. Things like nuts and wild asparagus were treats and often entire families would grab a pile of gunny sacks and head to the good foraging areas for the day.
  • Housewives were judged by how many jars she had “put up” during harvest season. Women would show off their full pantries with pride.

  • To add different types of food to their meals, families swapped produce with each other.
  • The seasons determined what you ate.
  • For many, there was no electricity or a refrigerator, so you just cooked only what could be eaten at that one meal.
  • In some communities, there were group gardens on empty lots. Everyone had their own small plot and could grow whatever they wanted.
  • Many worked multiple part-time jobs, waking up before dawn and falling asleep long after dark.
  • Those with just a little bit more than others found odd jobs around their homes or property to provide employment to others.
  • “Depression Soup” was a real thing! It contained anything and everything you might have in the kitchen or was donated by others. To this day, some say it was the best soup they ever tasted.
  • Some enterprising women would wake in the early morning hours and prepare dozens of meals to sell to workers from their vehicles.
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