Thursday, January 21, 2010

Child of the Depression

This picture was taken in 1935 and shows a tent of a migrant farm family. There is a small child in the tent. I am sure it would have been hard to raise a family like this, but at the same time I have to believe it was an incredible character building exercise.


  1. If some one set up a camp like that to day, Social Services, the Sheriff Dept, Welfare, Child Welfare and 10 other goverment services would be there in 15 minutes flat.

    Bless them for at least trying to some how make a living.

  2. Well, that they would, but you have to remember that it was the experiences of the Depression that motivated the Government to set up homeless shelters, soup kitchens, etc. That tent might not have been too bad in the summer, but I wonder how many folks froze to death in the winter?

  3. Thank you for this series of pictures.

    My mother grew up during the Depression and at one time, lived with her brother and sisters and mother in a tent out in the middle of the desert near Litchfield, AZ. They certainly didn't OWN the land, they just "camped." Luke AFB now occupies that land.

    My grandmother and two older daughters (about 12 and 13) worked in a laundry in town and the two little kids stayed "home alone."

    They put the legs of their cots into cans of kerosene, to keep the scorpions from climbing up into bed with them. And bed covers NEVER dragged on the ground. To the day mother died, she never allowed bed covers to touch the floor. (The dragging bedcovers were the first thing I noticed when I looked at this picture.)

    I surely don't know what the people "up north" did in the winter -- but in Arizona, the problem was the summer heat.

  4. Character building is a rather nebulous thing. I remember when I was a young airman, there was a discussion of whether the AF should hire civilians to do the work in the kitchen or not. Some now nameless congressman said the airmen needed to pull KP duty as that would be character building for them. Even then, my first thought was if KP is character building, it ought to be a requirement for every congressman to pull KP duty at least once a month for 24 hours. Ha! Figure the odds on that happening!

  5. It's character building if you have a character to build upon. Some people slack no matter what, some run after failure. It could be that some people in this situation ended up that way because they lacked character.

  6. It's difficult to imagine living in those conditions, but many people did so and survived.

    Let's not forget that there are many homeless people struggling on the fringes of society, even today.

    God only knows what circumstances led them to their situation. Many of them are mentally ill or have substance abuse problems, but many are victims of this terrible economy.

    It could easily be you or I.

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  8. The huge majority of the permanently homelss are mentally ill, or addicts or both. They will not seek real help. People who are temporarily homeless but able bodied usually improve their situation within a couple months and get off the streets.
    My county has 10% unemployment. Despite the economy, the homeless population is still the same - the same ragged mental cases there ever were, the same clean shaven "professional" beggers at intersections. Our local newspaper which is so politically correct they won't report anything of substance, is unable to come up with stories of families or individuals who have become homeless due to the economy. (And the paper loves to report that kind of stuff.) That tells me that people are finding a way to keep a roof over their head.

  9. My ex-business partner was swindled out of his money back in the 90's. He went from a good life with a new BMW to being a wood cutter to make a living. He lived in an army tent for two years wit his wife and three small children. But like the tough old timers, he too managed to cut his way back out of the woods - one axe stroke at a time. It made him a superb person, and someone I still have much respect for.