Tuesday, September 15, 2009

That's Depressing

It was 1932 during the Great Depression. I, a nine-year old, was shocked to read 

in the newspaper that mother had filed for divorce. In 1933 my father died. I 
was outraged to hear mother calling herself a widow.
     "Liar! Cheater!" I raged, silently. "You're not entitled! You were divorced!"
     Years later, after her death, I mentioned to her sister the scorn I felt that mother, 

a divorcee, adopted the socially preferable label of widow.
     "Oh, my dear," said Aunt Helen. "Your mother was never divorced. She filed 

but couldn't pay the fee. The Depression, you know."

Phil Jerome 
The Depression was far more depressing than our current downturn. Then, I lived 
on my grandparent’s horse ranch. Grandfather conducted business by a “handshake” 
and when the depression hit, a lot of “handshakes” failed to pay up. He lost the ranch.
     He was too old by the 1930s to earn his living by the “sweat of his brow” and
employers had their choice of applicants for the jobs he could do. They hired younger,
stronger men. Grandfather had to face the fact: age, economic times, and 

industrialization had erased his work qualifications.
     Time on his hands, he went for a walk and was struck and killed by a car. It 

cost fifty borrowed dollars to bury him and my grandmother paid it back at 
fifty cents a week.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.