We Never Went to Bed Hungry
Based on an interview of Ruth Hansen
I was born January of 1919 in Rexburg, Idaho. We were one of the few families that didn't have a mortgage on our home and the things on our farm. We had radios in those days, and you had the newspaper but it didn't come everyday, but we heard about the Depression on the news, and in the paper, but it took a year or two for it to really get to where it affected us a great deal.
The banks closed, of course, and people had money in the banks; some of 'em lost their money and never did get it. Others had their farms mortgaged, and the family had to move off their means. We happened to be fortunate in that we had enough food and our farm pretty well kept us. We had all the vegetables and fruit and potatoes and milk and eggs and most everything we needed.
My folks were optimists: we could make it, we don't need to worry, we'll just work a little harder and do a little more and manage, and we were good managers. We didn't really go without anything; we didn't have electricity at that time.
We didn't have running water and all those things we have now days. There were three telephones on the street and we had one of them. And the kids took messages to the neighbors and they used our telephone, a lot of them.
I wouldn't say we were affected that much when the stock market crashed. We didn't have money in the stock market; ours was all in land and animals.
Farmers are not people who take things hard; they just bow their back and work a little harder and help their neighbor a little more. I think of all aspects of life, farming industry probably was hit one of the hardest, because of what it did to prices. But they weren't people that just gave up and said "Oh, we'll have to go on welfare." We're just not that type of people. We just helped one another.
The Depression didn't really affect my parents' income because we were better off than a lot of them because we had enough to get by. Some people just gave up. But we didn't have everything. I can remember some of the prices and you kids now would think we were out of our minds to even talk about them: thirty-two cents for a bushel of wheat, and maybe fifty cents a hundred for spuds, and a loaf of bread, ten to twelve cents, and gasoline twelve cents; but the time that I got a little older when the depression was really bad, we were paying about twenty-five cents for gasoline. But most people didn't have carsa lot of them didn't; we did.
We had a car and we had a truck. We didn't have a tractor till it was nearly almost over. I remember when we bought our first tractor.
We never went to bed hungry. I should say not! Our parents were just good managers; we always had eggs and we had milk and mother baked bread two or three times a week, six or eight loaves. We never knew what it was to go hungry. We didn't have lots of fancy foods, I guess you could say, but she did lots of canning so we always had fruits and vegetables. We churned our own butter. We weren't really affected that way.