Commentary

Early 'recycling' started during Great Depression

This is the second in a series of columns on the Great Depression and World War II, based on the recollections of those who lived in the era.

Herbert Hoover was President of the United States when the economy began declining. He preached optimism to the people to no avail.

During the 1932 election Hoover didn't stand a chance at being reelected against Franklin D. Roosevelt as FDR won in a landslide.

Roosevelt took office in 1933 and served four terms through 1945 . While t he Depression began at the end of the 1920's the nation suffered severely from 1929 to 1933.

Production declined, as did sale of goods and services.

Unemployment lines grew, and businesses and banks closed.

Many people were out of work, they lost their homes and many of them sur vived on charity.

Back in Milam County, Texas, it was not unusual to hear a faint knock at the back door of your home.

When answering the door, there stood a shabbily dressed hungry man, who was cold and tired. Those who asked for charity were known in neighborhoods as "tramps."

If the truth were known, many were far from being a tramp, they were just desolate, trying to survive.

Word got around that if you fed these people somehow they "marked your house".

Whatever process they used, many a home in the Milam County towns had these people asking for nourishment to survive.

I never saw my mother refuse food to any who was hungry.

With no money to spend on household needs, companies began enticing customers by adding Depression glass dishes in their products.

Oatmeal was a good example, they had green and pink glasses or cups inside every container of oatmeal, the size of the container depended on what kind of product it was.

Rec ycling was not in t he vocabulary back then. However, discarded clothing was washed, cut into blocks from which women pieced and quilted into quilts.

Imagine quilting in a dimly lit room using a coal oil lamp.

Mollie Simmons and her sister Elizabeth Barber of the Pleasant Hill community, used woolen scraps from men's coats and trousers to make tied block winter quilts to keep their families warm.

Some families sur v ived by having three generations living in the same home.

Some middle class families took in boarders to make ends meet.

Research: Life during Great Depression - www.allabouthistory. org On Line 9/6/09, Dora Poole Family History, Dr. Lucile Estell 2009; Family History of Clark & Modesette; 2007 Joy Graham

marygraham99@hotmail.com


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The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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