Week 3: Student Story from Dawn Peck

by Memoir Mentor on October 25, 2008

Oh, these troubled times we live in. It’s enough to fray the nerves of even the thickest skinned among us. Remember the days–not long ago–when we were griping about the cost of gas? Who wouldn’t return to those days if we could, before our stock market drained our retirement savings? How bad will things get before they turn around? Which of our presidential candidates is best equipped to lead our nation at this critical time? Does anyone have any answers?

This week’s story from talented writer Dawn Peck helps put all this in perspective. Dawn gives us a clear-eyed glimpse into tougher times than ours, describing how her family struggled and survived rough Depression years with grit, resourcefulness, and generosity.

by Dawn Peck

“Wow!” my youngest grandchildren say, “my teacher says we’re in a recession! Will everyone run out of money?”

“Wow!” my adult children say, “there’s never been anything like this in our lifetime. Will it get worse?”

Well, maybe it’s time for me to give a little reality to all this fear and trembling. I was born in 1929, just at the beginning of the Great Depression. I grew up in Detroit, one of the hardest-hit cities. In fact, there, in spite of some hiccups and false starts, the effects of the Depression didn’t completely disappear until the rumblings of World War II in Europe inspired the rumblings of factory retooling and rehiring in Detroit.

But how did all this affect me as a child? Some things I remember as they actually happened, some I only heard about; now I can put these memories in context. For instance, when the banks closed, people rioted, pushing and shoving against the brass gates protecting the glass doors. But I didn’t see that. My parents didn’t have a bank account. They paid cash for everything, and if they didn’t have the cash, they didn’t buy. When the banks reopened, I remember saying innocently, “Look, Mommy, the bank has its door open. Let’s go in and get some money.”

(Click HERE to read the rest of the story.)

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