The Great Depression hit everyone hard, no matter if you were rich or poor. After the stock market crashed in 1929, unemployment soared to 25% and families either moved West (where things ended up being worse) or stayed put and made due with what they had. We wanted to celebrate that strong generation by sharing some of the things that they learned during those years. They had it tough, but they grew up to be the Greatest Generation.
#1: They Learned to Make Clothes from Almost Anything
In the 1920's, flour and feed sacks were made out of cotton, and after the Depression hit, women began using the bags to make clothes. When the manufacturers realized this, they began printing the sacks with colorful inks and patterns. You can see a few of these flour sack dresses above!
#2: They Learned How to Repair Their Clothes and Shoes
They made their clothes and shoes and hats and coats last longer than you could imagine, and this was a point of pride! They not only knew how to repair everything, but they enjoyed doing so. In those days, a patched coat was a sign of handiwork and skill and not something people looked down on.
#3: The Learned to be Creative in the Kitchen.
You had to make the food you had last, so the kitchen became a place of great creativity. Yesterday's chicken would be Wednesday's casserole, potatoes could be made about 100 different ways, and powdered milk could be stretched out for months. To this day, we're not sure how they did it (or what some of the stuff we ate really was), but we are proud of how hard they worked for us.
#4: They Appreciated and Depended on Their Neighbors
During the Depression, there was a much greater sense of community. Everyone was in a tough situation, so people came together and watched out for each other. For them, neighbors not only became friends, but they became part of the family. If they were short on eggs or milk, there was always a neighbor you could ask, and they knew they could do the same down the road.
#5: They Learned to Keep ALL Containers
It didn't matter what type of container it was -- plastic, a box, a glass jar, or a bag -- they would keep it. We remember half of our kitchen cabinets being filled with empty containers! While we sometimes poked fun at this, our parents were usually right: almost without fail, an occasion would pop up when one of the containers was the perfect solution.
#6: They Developed a Love of Coupons
After the Depression eased and WWII was over, Depression parents often became expert coupon-ers. They knew the value of a dollar, and for them a coupon wasn't appealing simply for the deal, but they knew they could do something with the savings. And that's why you may have seen a parent or grandparent spend an hour or so a day cutting out coupons!
#7: They Learned How to Love Their Canning
After the harvest, you didn't splurge: you "got to canning". Depression-era parents seemed to *love* their canning, and they were proud of it when it was done!
#8: They Learned that You Can Always Have a Picnic
We remember picnics - lots of them! That's one of the things we miss most about those days: it seemed like our parents could have a picnic out of nowhere. We're still not sure how they did it, but they could seemingly make a blanket and some fruit and snacks appear from thin air!
#9: A Metal Tub Makes a Great Bath
This one needs no explaining. You remember the tub we're talking about!
#10: They Learned to Never Give Up!
It almost goes without saying, but the simply didn't give up. They were so used to hard times that they were grateful for all opportunities, and when they got them, they worked until the job was done.
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You Won't Believe What Things Used to Cost (1924 - 1983)