Archive for Thursday, July 21, 2011

The good old days

July 21, 2011

We hear a lot about recession and having to cut back. Those of us who lived through the “Great Depression” back in the ’30s have lots of memories of having to “make do.”

We are so fortunate now to have fresh fruits and vegetables available in every store. Not so back then. Our parents were frugal. Our moms did a lot of canning and sewing and patching big holes in jeans. Our kids now pay big bucks to buy jeans with holes in them. To us old timers that is what our moms worked so hard to patch up.

The girls learned how to sew and darn socks at an early age. Recently Ada told a young friend about darning a pair of socks, (yes, even today), and the young lady thought that was so funny. She had never heard of such a thing.

Ada also tells the story of when her older sister was out of high school she worked at the Percy-Kent Bag Company in Kansas City. They used flowered material to package flour, grain, rice, etc. She was able to bring home enough empty bags with the same pattern, and Ada’s mom made many of her dresses with this material.

The whole family would pitch in to make a big garden. I can remember many stories of folks from that era telling of all the ingenious ways of storing food to last through the winter or summer months. Many people would lower food down into a deep well to keep it cool. A lot of the homes would have cellars where they stored the canned goods and they served as shelter during storms too.

Last week we came home and found a plastic bag of summer squash hanging on our back door. That was so nice and was quite a surprise. That sharing of goodies from gardens still goes on today. Some things never change.

Most farms back in the ’30s did not have electricity. It was common to have coal oil lamps for light in the evening. Most everyone had an ice-box and the ice man would come on a daily basis during the summer time. Growing up in Lansing, I can remember my relatives telling how they would gather up chunks of coal along the railroad tracks that had fallen from the cars coming from the mine. It came in handy during cold weather.

We were all poor but we didn’t know it. There were good times too and everyone helped each other.


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