No DreamsJust Get Through It
Based on an interview of VaNiel Taylor
Trees cast shadows over the decaying, brown earth. A young girl walks over the ground, pondering if she will have enough food to fill her up tonight. She has lived in numerous houses in the Salt Lake Valley. Frequently eating bread and her mom's water gravy, she slowly but surely lived through the Great Depression.
I was born in Moroni, Sanpete County, Utah in the year 1920.
We lived very common and simple lives. We didn't do the big wishing because we didn't have a lot of money. We just lived very humble, simple lives. The depression was not quite in full whack. It's recorded in the encyclopedia that the Great Depression was not until 1929 to 1932, but it took a little warming up before the depression really set in. I was nine when the Great Depression was recorded in the encyclopedia.
There were five of us in the family, and we were all girls. I have never had a brother. But there were five of us girls in the family to provide for. As I look back on if we had enough clothes to wear and think about it, we managed; but compared to today's world, the kids today have so much! I am grateful for that experience because it taught me something. We didn't really have enough food either. That was about the time when we were eating bread and water gravy. We usually managed to survive, but we didn't have the best.
I remember my mother did not have a lot to cook with, but she fixed our meals and she was a good cook. Our main meals consisted of milk, bread, and sometimes beans. We didn't have a garden, so we could not grow any of our own food. We had to buy it. I remember my mother used to make water gravy and it was good. The depression was good for me because it taught me a valuable lesson about making the most of what you have and seeing the good in having the least. As I look back in my history, I can remember writing about how I was glad that I could live through the depression. The way people waste food today makes me mad. So now I am thankful with whatever I have, and each day I count my blessings.
I remember very well the silent movies. I remember going to the good movies that cost twenty-five cents, and those movies really meant a lot to me because I rarely had twenty-five cents.
I was a little too young for the stock market and we did not have any association with it because we didn't have any big money. I can't recall anything about the stock market.
During the depression, I did steal something. I was just like any other kid. Most people back then thought it was a normal thing for a kid to do. I used to go downtown because we didn't have much money, and I was like most other kids. I don't encourage kids to steal, but I remember going down to the five and ten cent store and walking through that store and dreaming of having all the things that I saw. Everyday that I left that store I would walk out with a few little things in my pocket. It makes me ashamed now, but that's what I did. There were pawn shops that would buy things from you if you wanted to sell them. In our home we didn't have really anything to steal and the next door neighbors didn't either. So I don't remember anyone ever stealing anything from us.
I can't recall any banks that went under when I was young; but I was reading an article about some banks that went under in Salt Lake, and it was just drastic.
All we did was rent houses. We would move into a house and it would average about thirty dollars a month. The houses were not very big; we had to squeeze together in the beds in order to sleep. I think we just about lived every place in Salt Lake. We really moved around a lot. During the depression we always had animals because we were an animal loving family. We always had a mother cat, and she would have kittens very often. My parents weren't active in the church, so I really didn't have any religion until I was about twenty-six years old.
My mother always liked people, and she always liked the sick. So she got a job down at the county hospital. She got a job down there as, well I can't quite remember what she was, but she worked down there and she brought home money for us. My older sister used to go down to the Sweets Candy Company and buy candy for us; and then she got a job there, and she helped to put bread on the table. I used to baby-sit and work for a lady cleaning her house.
As I look back now on the depression, I am very grateful that I had the chance to live through it. Our church advises to get storage and save food and water because someday there could be another depression.
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.