Other Voices: Lessons from the Depression | TheUnion.com

Other Voices: Lessons from the Depression

At 83-plus, I’ve lived long enough to see some very disappointing and major changes in the direction we are headed.

I would like to live long enough to see a turnaround, or at least evidence that it has started and will really happen – not for my sake, since my time left is relatively short, but out of concern for our six children and their families.

I was old enough during the Depression to have some very distinct and, believe it or not, positive memories of the way things were – most of which, if not all, would be helpful today. I find I’m not alone in thinking there are some darned good lessons that a deep depression can teach.

My mother and father were at the low end of the economic scale during that time, and they, along with everyone else in the small Midwestern town where I grew up, found ways to survive without any conception of a “nanny” federal or state government to take care of them or provide “rights” as citizens.

In fact, I distinctly recall that there was a stigma that went along with accepting the government handout of food staples instituted by the Roosevelt administration. Personal debt, other than for a home mortgage, was literally unheard of, and things like credit cards were not even imagined.

Not today!!

On the positive side, everyone had large produce gardens, they hunted game, they fished, they hunted nuts in the fall, scrounged for mushrooms in the spring, etc. Most of all, they helped one another and shared. Imagine that happening today! What’s wrong with that philosophy?

Harold Wolfe lives in Grass Valley.

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