My friend Lynn is guest posting for me today and the topic is Learning From The Great Depression (she no longer has a blog).
When we think of the Great Depression years (although many of us did not live in that era), what does it make you think about? Although I have no remaining grandparents, I do remember talks with my grandmother. Many of us have someone in our lives who lived in that era or has stories about that time in life.
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Some have compared this financial recession to that time period. I don’t believe that we have even begun to realize or acknowledge just how hard most people had it back then!
Learning From The Great Depression
Today, how many Americans live on just a few vegetables with few extras? Imagine having to cook back then! You were considered lucky if you had meat or meat fat to use in cooking. Having fresh fruit was a treat. We are so spoiled these days, with our packaged foods, treats, meals out, coffees and gourmet goods. These are things that many today call “necessary”.
People made their own entertainment and they actually spent time with each other, imagine that. They didn’t need to be entertained. They made do with everything they had and used everything up before they bought anything new (something I am working on in my own life). They used their creativity!
There was no such thing as a “credit card” back then. People did everything possible to live within their means or they went without. If they wanted something, they saved for it. Personally I don’t think that many have learned the lessons yet that perhaps they need to learn. Yes, there are many who have lost their jobs and homes. Budgets are tighter than ever. All you have to do to realize the difference though is to look at what most of us have today versus then. We are blessed with so much – the list is endless.
Why is it important to look back to our history? I believe it is because learning from those who have walked before us teaches us things we may never experience. We are able to stop for a moment to step into shoes that we will probably never step into in real life. It helps to keep us grateful instead of ungrateful, humble instead of prideful.
Like many, our budget is squeezed tighter and some days I think it can’t get much more squeezed. Yet truly I feel thankful. How can I not be? I have food in my pantry, fridge, and freezer. I have a home and a comfortable place to lie my head upon at night. I could go on and on…and so could you I imagine.
I often wonder, why sometimes when things are tough we look to those who have more and feel sorry for ourselves for what we do not have. Instead we should look to those who have had less or have less so we feel blessed and encouraged to keep moving ahead. By doing so we are not self-focused and perhaps we could reach out more to those who have less than we do.
I’m afraid though that many have become a bit selfish. Do we hold onto what we do have with dear life – or do we open up our hands and share abundantly instead? Do we sit with worry and fear, and by doing so, forget about others in need? The most wonderful thing that encouraged me about people in the Great Depression, is that they gave freely to their neighbors and to those in need. Even when life seemed bleak, they opened up their homes. They welcomed strangers in for meals and made that pot of soup stretch even further. No matter where we are financially, we can all do something! Whether it is giving material items, money or our time. These are lessons we all need to be reminded of.
Even with all the challenges that these present days hold, there is much to be appreciative for. My mother had told me that my great-grandparents lost everything during the Depression. After losing their home, they rented a place to live and never again were able to own. I never had the opportunity to know my great-grandmother as she died shortly before I was born. I wish I could have had time with her to learn all that she had been through.
I do wonder how many today would survive as those in the Great Depression did. Could you survive it and overcome such a time? I have so much respect for those before me who came through stronger and with much wisdom.
*For some Great Depression recipe inspiration, visit Clara, a 94-year old sweet lady and her YouTube videos here Great Depression Cooking Episodes.
*Recommended reading – “Stories and Recipes of the Great Depression” by Rita Van Amber
Read or listen to actual stories Survivors of The Great Depression Tell Their Stories