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Depression drags on

(This is a continuation of last week’s column on the Great Depression.)
But there were those who could see a light out ahead.
There was at least one man in America who refused to reflect gloom over the Depression.
That man was Will Rogers.
He was a philosopher — and a funny one.
He had a great gift of being able to make people laugh in a very bad time in the country’s history.
He told one radio audience that America, the richest of all nations of the world, was starving to death and that this would be the first nation in history to go to the poor house in an automobile.
One of every four working people at one time during the depression was out of work. Pennsylvania alone had more than a million people unemployed.
Girls were working a 55-hour week in sweat shops for $1.10.
Whether or not it was his fault, President Hoover became the goat for all of the sarcastic expressions and tags that were used to describe the peoples miseries
The Great Depression was a time of hunger.
Large masses of Americans were for the first time in the country’s history cold and hungry.
For many thousands of people, it was a miserable time.
Those who lived at the time will never forget it.
And those who came along later will never hear the end of it until those who experienced it have passed on.
Shanty towns mushroomed in city outskirts and all over, and these used lumber and cardboard towns were known as Hoovervilles.
People trying to escape the cold made quilts of old newspapers.
These were called Hoover quilts.
In some sections people who had bought fine cars in the years of prosperity found themselves without money to purchase gas to run them.
They removed the balloon tired wheels from their cars and put them on horse-drawn buggies and called these inventions “Hoover Jumpers.”
Of all of the ingenious discoveries of the Depression era, the Hoover Jumper may have just been the most graciously accepted.
It gave opportunity for many a young courting couple to get together for a good old time.

And with a large number of people without transportation, what better way to enjoy a good old country hayride.
Pulaski County people put up with many of the same discomforts as those in the rest of the countr.
But people in this area were lucky in that there were several plants that continued to operate with a full complement of workers through the entire era.
And Pulaski people seemed to be able to work and play together, helping each other through this difficult time in the county’s history
The Depression years were a time when just about everyone who owned an automobile had one of those hand-operated pumps with which to pump up flat tires.
Also, it was a time when bathing suits had enough material in them to truly qualify as suits.
And it was a time when school teachers would honor good students by letting them wash the blackboards.
Bicycle brakes were operated with the feet, or one foot to be more exact.
And every male rider old enough to wear long pants had the cuff frayed or chewed up from being hung in the sprocket wheel
Children and grownups alike played such games as Monopoly, miniature golf, Chinese checkers, old maid cards and ping-pong.
The yo-yo became the toy that just about every youngster and many grown-ups had to have, and there were some really expert people with the yo-yo.
And, for reading, it was “Big Little Books” that were about four inches square in size and were great reading, with titles such as “Little Orphan Annie” and “Dick Tracy.”
To be continued.
Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.

Depression drags on

(This is a continuation of last week’s column on the Great Depression.)
But there were those who could see a light out ahead.
There was at least one man in America who refused to reflect gloom over the Depression.
That man was Will Rogers.
He was a philosopher — and a funny one.
He had a great gift of being able to make people laugh in a very bad time in the country’s history.
He told one radio audience that America, the richest of all nations of the world, was starving to death and that this would be the first nation in history to go to the poor house in an automobile.
One of every four working people at one time during the depression was out of work. Pennsylvania alone had more than a million people unemployed.
Girls were working a 55-hour week in sweat shops for $1.10.
Whether or not it was his fault, President Hoover became the goat for all of the sarcastic expressions and tags that were used to describe the peoples miseries
The Great Depression was a time of hunger.
Large masses of Americans were for the first time in the country’s history cold and hungry.
For many thousands of people, it was a miserable time.
Those who lived at the time will never forget it.
And those who came along later will never hear the end of it until those who experienced it have passed on.
Shanty towns mushroomed in city outskirts and all over, and these used lumber and cardboard towns were known as Hoovervilles.
People trying to escape the cold made quilts of old newspapers.
These were called Hoover quilts.
In some sections people who had bought fine cars in the years of prosperity found themselves without money to purchase gas to run them.
They removed the balloon tired wheels from their cars and put them on horse-drawn buggies and called these inventions “Hoover Jumpers.”
Of all of the ingenious discoveries of the Depression era, the Hoover Jumper may have just been the most graciously accepted.
It gave opportunity for many a young courting couple to get together for a good old time.

And with a large number of people without transportation, what better way to enjoy a good old country hayride.
Pulaski County people put up with many of the same discomforts as those in the rest of the countr.
But people in this area were lucky in that there were several plants that continued to operate with a full complement of workers through the entire era.
And Pulaski people seemed to be able to work and play together, helping each other through this difficult time in the county’s history
The Depression years were a time when just about everyone who owned an automobile had one of those hand-operated pumps with which to pump up flat tires.
Also, it was a time when bathing suits had enough material in them to truly qualify as suits.
And it was a time when school teachers would honor good students by letting them wash the blackboards.
Bicycle brakes were operated with the feet, or one foot to be more exact.
And every male rider old enough to wear long pants had the cuff frayed or chewed up from being hung in the sprocket wheel
Children and grownups alike played such games as Monopoly, miniature golf, Chinese checkers, old maid cards and ping-pong.
The yo-yo became the toy that just about every youngster and many grown-ups had to have, and there were some really expert people with the yo-yo.
And, for reading, it was “Big Little Books” that were about four inches square in size and were great reading, with titles such as “Little Orphan Annie” and “Dick Tracy.”
To be continued.
Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.