Great Depression Memories
To read the story referenced, “‘Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, Or Do Without,’” click here.
As a 62 year old man, I am lucky enough not to have gone through the Great Depression or war-induced shortages, but I spent a lot of time with my grandparents growing up, and they all did. The frugality that those times dictated stayed with them the rest of their lives. As a result, my grandmothers could bake bread, muffins, biscuits, dinner rolls and etc., from scratch, and could make a casserole dish out of vegetables like potatoes, onions, carrots and cabbage. My grandfathers could perform most auto repairs, repair tools, machinery, plumbing, and all household maintenance. I remember once my grandfather and I tore apart the engine on his 15-year-old mower and hand-ground the valves and put new rings in it to get “a few more years out of it,” he said. At that time he could have bought a new one for $59.00 at Sears and Roebuck, but he rebuilt it for $12.00. I learned a lot from him. I learned self-reliance and how to maintain items, not just run out and “buy new.” This has stuck with me all my life. It has taught me to appreciate the value of a dollar. These life lessons learned from my grandparents may never be learned by the younger folk in our “throw-away society.” I feel very lucky to have had grandparents that shared this knowledge with me.
I’m 61, and like you spent quite a lot of my growing up years with my grandparents. I was lucky enough to have my great-gran in my life as well (she lived to be 102 and was active and alert to the day she died), so I had the benefit of WWI and WWII home-front reminiscences and applied lessons from those years. “Use it up – Wear it out – Make it do – Or do without” was the family motto and thanks to the frugality of my great-gran taught to her children, my grandparents and Dad were among the few relatively untouched by the Great Depression. WWII rationing made both Great-Gran and Gran laugh as they already lived that way. I’m blessed to have had these amazing people in my life and my children tell me they feel blessed I passed on the lessons learned from those amazing people.