Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Great Depression

At the height of the Great Depression, as many as 15 million Americans were unemployed. The unemployment number was 24.9 percent!

 Being born in 1930,I experienced the Great Depression first hand. My parents were farmers, so food was not a problem. However, the things we could not grow or make from the food we produced were scarce. Our basement had racks with lots of home canned fruits, pickles and vegetables. A potato bin was located in one corner. . . . Those potatoes sure got rubbery by the time spring came around. Baskets of apples and pears were kept there and, yes, there was always a crock of sauerkraut.

Today’s poem tries to capture some of the emotion of the times. The photo was found on the internet. For some, it was far worst than the poem implies!


The scene was painfully tragic in the 1930’s USA
Tough times set in and they seemed destined to stay
Mother Nature sent dust swirling to the nation’s gut
Jobs went away, money got scarce; America in a rut

The tough times didn’t get better for many long years
Heads held high, folks carried on amongst occasional tears
These were strong hearted folks, there’s no denying
Lines for food, lines for work; bless them for trying

Many were poor, but they really didn’t know it
To survive; . . . their food . . . they had to grow it
The tattered clothes left the “well-to-do” with frowns
But, happy were the poor, with those hand-me-downs

Living at the “bottom of the barrel” it would seem
Even that barrel contained yet another broken dream
But these people had survival buried deep in their soul
And, somehow, they survived this cancerous “Hell Hole”

Great leaders did evolved with strong character and will
With visions of America like “The shinning city on the hill”
Prosperity did eventually returned to this great country
America arose! The symbol of hope, freedom and liberty


This is a copy of an old photo of the farm where I spent my early years. The photo is very faded so the copy is not good......sorry. The photo is from the early 1930's and the men in the photo are my Dad (right) and a hired man near the team of horses. This is probably before the first tractor, a McCormick-Deering 10-20, was used on the farm.

You can just make out the windmill rising from the small building behind the black horse. Notice the fancy cupola on the barn roof

Below is the house that was part of the farm.  That's my mom holding sister, Mary. Dad's on the right and that little tike in the middle is me at, I'm guessing, 3 years old.I had this photo copied a couple years ago and they did a better job than my scan of the farmyard photo....Ha!


  1. Wonderful post, Herm. Loved reading about the canned goods and food in your family basement--and the saurkraut! Healthy and homegrown, despite the depression. Loved seeing the photo of your families farm. Excellent poem, as always.

  2. Hi Herm,

    Thank you for this precious poem...so much for my generation and now Kristi's to learn from you. You stand as a beacon for all of us to listen to your words of wisdom and hope. I am so happy you are part of my life.



  3. Hi Herm,

    Isn't that funny, even though Kristi lives thousands of miles away from me she is still on top of things and posting on your wonderful blog just 19 minutes ahead of me. I love how we are all so closely connected in spirit and heart.



  4. Dear Herm, many greetings, I can see in the faces of your family the feelings of the time. Maria

    1. Hi Maria,

      Thanks for the comment. I wish the pictures were better, but they didn't scan very well.

      My dad was born in 1899 and immigrated from Germany in 1926. Maybe someone in your area remembers him and my mother from our visit in 1956. I was in the Army, stationed in France, and went with them on the visit.