I think young people maybe haven't realized the full value of getting along and making do and fixing and repairing and getting along with what you have and being satisfied. You never get enough of something you don't need because it never gives you happiness. You do better enjoying the things that you have that you need. If you don't need it, then it don't bring you the joy that it would if you really needed it and appreciated it; and maybe that's what I'm trying to say. I think that we need to get along better. If we had another depression, we'd have to do more trading and getting along better and making do with what we have, and raise gardens, and raise food. You know you can raise a lot of food just in your flower garden if you had to. You could plant your flower garden to vegetables. You could do a lot of things to make do.
The Depression taught me to appreciate the things that we have. I think anyone benefits from having to go without things. Then when you get something, why you really appreciate it and you really learn how to spend your money. Just a little advice to younger generations; I would say they better start saving as soon as they get married so they'll have something to fall back on if there ever comes a depression. Savings is one of the best things you can do, save a little bit out of your pay check each month, so you always have a nest egg.
Living through the Great Depression has caused me to be tight. I don't ever want to throw anything away. My old coats, dresses and pant suits hang in the closet; well, we might need to use them again. I guess I'm not so bad that way now, but I used to be.
My advice for the future: don't splurge; be economical with everything.
I think the only way it affected our children is that we have had to work hard, and we taught them all to work hard, and to be thrifty. And maybe we taught them too much of the work ethic, to live in this day and age, because they all feel they have to accomplish so much. But we lived a good life and had a good family; they all went through school and graduated, and they all have good jobs, and I think we are quite successful. Or they were successful with us, one of the two. We've been a real close family. And I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned by the obstacles that we have to overcome and that's what a depression amounts to.
The thing that living through the Depression has done for me is to feel bad for the young people now that they don't know how to appreciate what they have, and to get along. I think they're not disciplined enough so that they don't have their own way so much that it's sad. And people just say I'm gonna have it or else, and you can't tell me no because I won't take no, you know; it's just a different . . . attitude. And in that day and age you were just supposed to help your neighbor. If he was having problems, you were supposed to be over there helping, take their horses and machinery and go and help them put in their crops, or whatever needed to be done they did. You were neighbors; and if you went to town, you yelled at your neighbor or stopped and asked them if there was anything they needed and you would get it while you were over there or whatever you could do to help them, much more than we are now. We are too self-centered now days.
If we had another Depression, I would say if you could, learn a craft that you could use even if you weren't able to go to school. Anything that would be interesting to you, like sewing or cooking. I think it's good for young people to learn how to take care of the home, how to do those things that they kind of like to get out of now-a-days.
At my age I can see that a lot of the old remedies and things that we did, for instance, like making our soap, and the young kids today would have no idea how to handle things. So I think it would be a good thing if the young kids would learn a few of these old time recipes or whatever you want to call it. Learn to do a few of these things like use herbs and what-not; people didn't have chance to go to the doctor and so I think young people can learn from a lot of these things. I think this is a great idea, to have these young kids interview us older people because they can sort of get an insight of what our life was like. I am grateful to have been able to live in that era, and today. What a difference, and I'm sure the next fifty years will bring us as many changes as the past fifty have.
If I were to give advice to today's teenagers about another depression, let's see, what would I say? Be careful how you spend your money that you have, so if there's a shortage of money you'll know what's important to buy, not buy silly things, just 'cause they're mod and in. And then, stay close to your family, stay close to your church, and hold on to religion.
I think the one thing you should do is to look ahead. Don't wait until your last penny is gone before you say oh no we're out of coal or wood. Save your money for a rainy day, don't spent it foolishly, buy what you need, save the rest. That's what got me by without too much trouble during the Great Depression.
I don't know the advice I would give to young people facing a Depression. Just make the best of it. Just watch, you can't have everything you've had. I was young enough that I didn't realize that I was missing anything. It'd be hard for kids, now because they've got the lights, they've got the indoor plumbing, they don't have to worry about any of that. They didn't have to go out and chop wood, take care of the cows and chickens and pigs. So I would say learn how to take care of a garden, learn how to take care of what you've got, and not expect new all the time.
Leo and Hazel Peterson
If we have another depression, I have said this two or three times, maybe that's what we need to bring us back to the ground. It would be hard on the children; it would be hard on the young people. It would be hard on our family, a lot of them. You need storage in both food and clothing. Even in my day when we got married, my mother said to me I want you to buy one sheet every year. If you buy one sheet every year, you will never run out of sheets. Always buy a hundred pounds of sugar in February; of course, that is when sugar was on sale. She said never buy anything that you can't pay for. I think that would be the best advice you could give anyone. If you can't pay for it, go without. As mother would say if you get that hungry, you come home and have something to eat (laughs). Don't charge in the store for something to eat. There are big things that you have to go in debt for, but you don't need to go in debt for food
I would tell the kids today to finish school, to get their education, to either go to universities or to trade schools, whatever they feel comfortable with. But I think education is the best thing that a person can do because that means a lot in looking for a profession or jobs. The more education you have, the more degrees you have, the more money you get. And I would also advise children, after they do get their education or find a job, to start thinking about the future. A lot of people didn't and that's what causes welfare, a lot of people that didn't start saving or thinking of the future. But then again, if we have another big depression, we'd all be in the same boat again. Even though we've saved, and planned for the future, this could happen. It would all go down the tube.
I appreciate life more because of the depression. Life can be wonderful. You make it what it is. Don't expect somebody else to do it for you. You have to do it yourself. I love life, I'm grateful for my family. I think you have to have hardships to appreciate the good. I think if we hadn't had that, we wouldn't appreciate what we have; you don't, unless you have something to work for. We had to work for it all our lives, I had to work for it all my married life. Things didn't come easy. I think it was good for us.
It frightens me now when I see the conditions we're in 'cause I think we're ready for another crash. I don't know whether we'll be able to handle it or not. If we faced a depression today my advice would be to stay close to the Lord. I don't know what we'd have done if we didn't have the church. To know what it is to kneel and pray, that's what gets you through. Just stay close to the Lord.
Work! Don't be afraid of work. Don't expect somebody else to do it for you. Get out and do it yourself. It will make you. If you know how to work, you'll be all right. Stay close to your parents, they're wise.
They were hard times, people were hungry. They took care of themselves. They didn't depend on the government. Now the government takes care of us a lot. In those days we took care of ourselves. We are very fortunate to have a government that takes care of us. We have to remember what the government gives us we're giving to the government, in the long run, and not to expect the government to do everything for us. We need to depend on ourselves more.
The advice that I would give young people today is they should listen to what their mom and dad say, save their money, be conservative, and cut down on their spending. I am glad that I had the chance to live during the depression because it taught me to not waste anything and to be careful about how I spend my money.
There is something I would like to tell the youth of today. Take each day as it comes, and live it to the best of your ability. Appreciate everything you have, because you never know when it is going to be swept away. So appreciate the little things, and don't expect a whole lot. Just appreciate what you've got, and love each other. Love is so important. Just remember that there is nothing more important than the love and respect of your fellow man.
William Elwood Wight
I think that if the youth of today would put aside their selfishness and work together, I think we could survive any kind of depression. Because there is enough here for us if we work together;
The best advice I have for young people today is graduate from high school and college