I lived with my grandmother during my childhood and she would tell me stories about “The Great Depression”. She showed me how to rip zippers out of clothes that were being thrown away. I joined her in snipping buttons off similar items. Her quilts came from the unworn parts of the same clothes. I was surprised when I was older and found out other people actually bought new fabric to use in their quilts. As a seamstress at a local store, she used the ends of trousers – the part she’d cut off to hem them – to make rugs. She was very frugal and wise with her money. Some of the scenes she described to me, I am seeing in today’s (2013) America, and I have been seeing them for some time.
I’ve heard today’s situation referred to as a recession, but it has many of the same elements of the depression she described. It makes me think we are worse off than anyone wants to admit.
Cars sit with “For Sale” signs on them. I see people advertising things in their homes that they want to sell. I, myself, have a practically new lady’s bicycle that I’d like to sell. I offered it to someone for $100. It cost me $165 and has been ridden twice and housed inside my house. It looks brand new. She said she’d pay me $75 for it (sight unseen) and I told her “no”. It’s a Schwinn and will last for years. However, according to my grandmother, people practically gave away things during the depression just to get a little money. The song, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” was popular back then.
I’m glad for all her stories because they give me hope now. They also taught me how to live in this era.