Share Your Story

One of the most important goals of this site is to collect stories about The Great Depression from the folks who travel through. We’ve provided the form below as a space where people can write their stories and attach their photos. We hope you’ll join us by sharing your story about how The Great Depression affected you and your family.

Thanks.

>> Click here to add your story. <<

15 Responses to “Share Your Story”

  1. David L Campbell says:

    Believe me i know what your talking about, my Mother wrote a short biography before she passed on, how they lived in tents and ate only what they could raise etc.
    How my father died so young,because of the hardships during the depression. but those who survived were stronger and better people for it,God carried them through and there faith in him.My mother went on to raise six boys , working at whatever she could get, and we were so loved we didn’t know we were poor. she sacrificed everything for her children, and her work ethic came out of the depression.

  2. Deb Kuwamoto says:

    I just have to say, I read this book and it took my breath away. My 93-year old mother has related some of these same stories. She always embraced the Hillary Clinton “it takes a village” to heart. She had so much hardship (her mother died in childbirth when her little brother was born, and mom was 2 yrs. old), a father who went through a nervous breakdown, and/or alcoholism, after his wife died, cause he didn’t have a clue as to how to raise the other eight kids. I really, really, don’t think many of us know what hardship is, and I really, really, don’t think our parents, etc. wanted to share that. You’ve given me insight into why it’s so hard to glean info from our parents, and grandparents. They truly did just want nothing but a clean slate. However, I still am persuing my ggpa’s past, since he was a stowaway on a ship. He, also, wouldn’t talk about his past.
    Thank you for the book , and God bless….
    Deb K.

  3. Anne Bennett says:

    Thank you for sharing this inspiring and thought-provoking story of true empathy and action. The tales of hardship that B. Virdot responded to must certainly have broken his heart, and reading the letters today broke mine. They’re an excellent reminder of how much I take for granted. My parents, Wayne and Dorothy Bennett, lived through the Depression in Minnesota as teenagers. I’m the youngest of their five children and, at 51, now understand how it shaped them in the best of ways. Thank you for reminding me how tough times bring out the good in us, and what we must do to bring out the good in ourselves.

  4. Cella says:

    Not my story, but I was struck by how similar what happened on this blog to the book:

    http://thebloggess.com/2010/12/my-heart-grew-three-sizes-and-now-i-have-an-enlarged-heart-worth-it/

    Heartwarming when people reach out and can give genuine help to those in true need.

  5. Edwin Wheeler says:

    I grew up in Monument Beach across the park from Sam Stone, your Grandfather. He had a summer house there. My Dad had a greenhouse and he always talked about what a great person Sam was, I was young at the time, but remember my Parents telling so many great stories about Sam. Your story brought back a lot. Thank you

  6. diane rothstein says:

    Dear Ted,
    I would like to tell you my mother’ story .She was one of three sibling born in
    Haverhill, Ma, June 25,1910. Her father died when she was two years old.Her mother Bessie Stone was left to support her three children. My grandmother
    opened a grocery store in her house. My mother had to deliver Matzoh in blinding snow storms. My mother,Sadye never had any toys, nor birthday parties growing up. There often was no money for milk or for coal. Frost accumulated on the walls. However, my mother had saved $100 for college.In
    1928 her two brothers wanted to open a wood heel factory but needed $100
    to rent the machine. They asked their sister for help. This small venture became in1939 Sterilite Corp. -the largest privately held plastic corp. in U.S.A. After I retired from my teaching career of 37 years I took on the job of caring for my mother who has dementia. I am also trying to do a genealogical study of my mother’s family-JACOB STONE

  7. Trina Cutter says:

    My dad, the last of 9 kids, was one month old when Mr. Stone secretly gave away $5. They lived in the poorest section of Canton. Since nobody talked about the hard times of the Great Depression this book helps me to understand my family–the secrets; the alcoholism–a little bit more. One of my dad’s older brothers and his wife put their 4 kids in Fairmount Children’s Home. Until a few years ago I didn’t know I had these cousins. We found out about them when my Uncle Jim (another brother of my dad’s) was working side-by-side with one of the boys–George–and everybody kept telling them, “if we didn’t know any better we would think you guys are related.” This prompted George to go to the Courthouse and find out his father’s last name. He discovered that he was working side-by-side with his Uncle! George tracked down his other brothers and sister and they reunited with the “Cutters!”

  8. Connie says:

    Dear Ted,

    The stories in your book echoed those I’d heard from my father and grandparents about the Depression here in Australia. Australia and the USA share a similar history in relation to immigration and the plight of hard working men and women.

    We’re proud of our working class traditions and I especially admire how the dignity of those people is reflected in our political and social systems today. While a long way from perfect, people can earn a living wage from the most basic of jobs, we have a fair and freely available health system, and a wonderful public education system that lets students attend university with no upfront payment.

    Thanks for sharing your grandfather’s story.

  9. Tracey Crawley says:

    Dear Ted,

    My father, the youngest of four was born in 1930. That same year his mother (abandoned by her husband) placed her four children in the Fairmontt Children’s home where the oldest two remained for several years. My grandmother, Edith, studied nursing and became the first Public Health Nurse in Stark County, living to the age of 99. She gradually got her children back from the children’s home starting with my father who was an infant when he went in. Perhaps the children had it better, because they got a bath once a week, a clean change of clothing (without underwear), shoes in the winter, and 17 sheets of toilet paper per week. My uncle could never figure that one out. Thanks for the beautiful book and stories of my hometown.

  10. Janice Billian Falvey says:

    I walked in the libary one day to drop off a book. I didn’t have any particular book in mind but thought I would browse. I saw this book and thought, “this is right up my alley: a history and a mystery.” I couldn’t put the book down.
    I grew up hearing about the Great Depression (I was born in 1953)mostly, from my Dad. He was born and raised in New Britain, CT. A city with many immigrants. I loved hearing the stories, but after reading Mr. Gup’s book, I believe the real Hard Times were spoken of. My Dad was one of 7 children and often lived in cold-water flats. My father’s family moved at least once or twice a year. I thought that my grandfather had “itchy” feet, but it is likely more that they couldn’t afford the rent, or got evicted. Dad talked about shoes with cardbard in them, going to the church to get some groceries; looking for coal; bringing any type of metal to the scrap yard to get a few cents; eating mayonaise or onion sandwiches and so much more. I believe I “romantized” this era, not really understanding the magnitude of the desperation these folks had to endure.
    My mom, on the other hand, lived in Middletown,CT where my grandfather had a job as a gardener (and all-around handy man) on the Hubbard Estate. They lived in a 7 room house rent free, were provided many necessesties of food, fruit, etc. But that was the norm!
    When I tried to get my parents to move into a one floor apartment so my mother wouldn’t struggle going up and down the stairs, my dad wouldn’t budge. They had lived in that apartment for 40 years. I asked my mom why dad was being so stubborn? She said that “I think it’s because he moved so much when he was a kid.” It didn’t really hit me then, but that was one of the first things I remembered while reading this wonderful book. My mom passed away in 2001 and dad had to move move into a one floor apartment as he couldn’t climb stairs anymore. The electricity was included, but you would never see any unnecessary lights on. Thank you for writing this book. It should required reading in the school system. Thanks for opening my eyes too.

  11. My Greatest Christmas Gift In 1957
    by
    Sarah Hudson Pierce
    12/20/2010

    Being born in 1948 at home in a house without electricity in the backwoods of Arkansas to older parents we led an unusual life. We even rode to town in a horse drawn wagon, until we moved to town in 1955 due to daddy’s declining health.
    My sister and I were taunted but Christmas was the hardest time for me as a child because we only received one gift. I slumped in my chair and had little to say at school when we were called on to tell what we got for Christmas.
    Our parents also wouldn’t allow us to believe in Santa Claus but I would slip a paper bag out on our front porch anyway because I knew he dared not step inside.
    In 1955 when I was nine Christmas Eve was much the same.
    I received one gift — a wool scarf.
    Not much for a child to get excited about and then my eyes focused on the old steamer trunk as the coal oil lamp flickered. I was transfixed.
    I begged my parents to let us look inside.
    Finally daddy relented and unlocked the trunk.
    The first thing I noticed was the old tobacco can that still contains my dad’s blonde curls that were cut around 1898. And then they began showing us pictures of our great grandfather George Washington McClellan Hudson who was a circuit riding preacher in Illinois and our great grandfather Nicholas Ritz who came from Switzerland. There was a picture of my great grandfather W.H. Morris who became a doctor during the Civil War in Keokuk, Iowa.
    On March 19, 1958, my dad died in his sleep, in the bedroom which was then known as the front room, the same room where I looked inside the trunk.
    The sadness and the hunger set in as our meager assistance check dropped to $87.00 per month after his death.
    We always went to bed and school hungry. I’ve often wondered why the people at church didn’t notice.
    Most often we didn’t have heat in the winter because mom wasn’t able to cut the wood.
    Then finally when I was fourteen a neighbor stepped in and asked me if I wanted to go to an orphanage.
    I felt guilty leaving mom but I had to help myself.
    My sister came later.
    It was a sterile existence devoid of caring. Hugs were never given and I would turn my back when I saw a child being hugged in public.
    I cried myself to sleep with my head under the pillow for many months.
    I was shocked at the abuse in this Christian orphanage. I did report the abuse and even caused a house parent to finally be fired for beating a child black and blue. Perhaps my raw courage kept me from getting as many beatings.
    My saving grace was bonding to my speech teacher who helped me have many public speaking privileges that helped me grow.
    Now they home school the children making it more difficult to report the abuse.
    Somehow I knew it was going to work out to my advantage.
    Those pictures planted a seed of self-esteem that helped me grow as I’ve located many long lost cousins from what was inside the trunk.
    It is the struggle that helps us develop but children should never be teased for being poor. At this stage of my life I treasure the unusual childhood because I wouldn’t trade the joy I feel as I make some dreams come true!
    At sixty-two I know my greatest Christmas gift was on December 24, 1957 when I got to look in the old steamer trunk and knowing that God will pull me through all of the tight places. He always does!
    Sarah Hudson Pierce
    President
    Ritz Publications
    Post Office Box 29182
    Shreveport, Louisiana 71149
    Telephone: 318-996-0419
    Web: http://www.ritzpublications.com
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Hudson-Pierce
    http://www.sarahhudsonpierce.net
    http://www.sarahhudsonpierce.com

  12. John C. Collins says:

    I recently came upon a cache of letters from my father to my mother written during the height of the depression, 1934-1940. They lived in Illinois across the river from St. Louis in samll farming communities of Troy and Lebanon. My father was 20 and my mother was 16 when they met and began dating in 1934. They married in May of 1937.
    The letters are rife with comments about the lack of employment and the suffering that it caused. My father had gone to Rankin Trade School in St Louis and my mother worked as a hair dresser. Both found it difficult to get jobs. My father did anything he could to put two nickles together. Worked in a cola mine with his father, worked on farms taking in hay, just any sort of menial labor because that’s all there was.
    The similarities of what they went through with the people in your book are amazing. I never knew what they suffered through because they never talked about it other than to say it was pretty tough. But they did talk about the good times they had going swimming, dancing, etc.

    It wasn’t until I read the letters that I had any inkling of just how bad it must have been. this helped me enjoy your book all the more.

    Thanks for finishing what your grandfather Sam started. You gave it a proper conclusion.

  13. John C. Collins says:

    I recently came upon a cache of letters from my father to my mother written during the height of the depression, 1934-1940. They lived in Illinois across the river from St. Louis in samll farming communities of Troy and Lebanon. My father was 20 and my mother was 16 when they met and began dating in 1934. They married in May of 1937.
    The letters are rife with comments about the lack of employment and the suffering that it caused. My father had gone to Rankin Trade School in St Louis and my mother worked as a hair dresser. Both found it difficult to get jobs. My father did anything he could to put two nickles together. Worked in a cola mine with his father, worked on farms taking in hay, just any sort of menial labor because that’s all there was.
    The similarities of what they went through with the people in your book are amazing. I never knew what they suffered through because they never talked about it other than to say it was pretty tough. But they did talk about the good times they had going swimming, dancing, etc.

    It wasn’t until I read the letters that I had any inkling of just how bad it must have been. this helped me enjoy your book all the more.

    Thanks for finishing what your grandfather Sam started. You gave it a proper conclusion and I appreciate it for having read my fathers letters.

  14. betty frank says:

    I havent had the privilege of reading this book yet, but my mother, born in 1914, told me many stories over the years of not enough money, her dad working midnites building roads with bricklaying thru the govt. program, the wpa, grama putting newspaper in his wornout shoes to keep out the cold,then when I was going thru the letter writers, since we are from Canton, OH. I spotted my grandpa’s name.
    CLYDE A VOLZER.
    Is anyone out there related?

  15. dick lennard says:

    The most moving book I’ve ready…probably ever. I was born in 1933 so experienced only the trailing edge of the Great Depression but it was enough to leave searing memories. “Bums” at the back door looking for any little job and a sandwich..which they always got. The Catholic Church being forced to lock up at night for the first time since 1917 because of the overnight sleepers. A grown man crying while talking to my Dad on the front porch because they had no food. Dad would always call the grocery store to arrange some help…but would not give them money. 5-cent movies at the Roxy theater and the kids who didn’t have five cents waiting at the door for friends to come out and tell them about the movie……and on and on.
    After about 50 pages I quit..I couldn’t take it! Talk about being depressed, but the book kept calling me back,,,,about ten times and I’m so glad I finished it. I would like to see this book made a mandatory reading requirement for every spoiled brat slave of the internet in the country. That goes for Congress too, but I would require them to write a Book Report on it before taking office. Looking at the country now I remain depressed but slightly hopeful for change.