Living through the Great Depression

Transcripts available in the following languages:

The thing is, when you talk to others of that generation, they says, you know, you felt that way too? I says yeah, we had fun. We played. But we didn’t play - we had to make our own toys, out of wood and whatever. Amuse ourselves. But we ate three meals a day. I’m not saying we got McDonalds hamburgers. We didn’t get that, you know. But we did realize that the parents were going through all that. Today it’s the same thing, the families. They’re hand to mouth, is the way they’re living. They can’t get that...if you’re working somewhere...before the week is up.

But we had cases like that, we had many times it was like this. And sometimes, that I wasn’t realizing that my brothers told me, you know, mother went over to the neighbors asking for two or three dollars? And they would turn around a week or two later and they don’t ask, I’d like to have that two or three dollars now. No. They’d just come over and ask if they could borrow two or three dollars. Like the old days, they used to talk about your sugar jar is empty so you go next door and they can give you just barely give you maybe two spoons of sugar. But those stories are true. And if you shop often enough to the neighborhood grocery store, they says alright. They’ll carry you until you can pay for it. 

Date: February 6, 2015
Location: California, US
Interviewer: John Esaki
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

depression great

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