The Great Depression and World War II Shaped My Grandma's Life

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The Great Depression and World War II Shaped My Grandma's Life

My grandma, Alma Jean, was born in 1935 in Silo, Oklahoma, just outside of Durant. Her birth certificate says she was born in Durant because Silo was too small to be considered a real town. She lived there on a farm with her parents, Orval and Maggie Dale.

It was the middle of the Great Depression, and they were a farming family at a time when it seemed like no one could make a living off the land. To supplement their income, Orval and his father worked for the Works Progress Administration (WPA). President Roosevelt set up the WPA the same year that my grandma was born (Divine 760). The WPA was similar to other work relief programs such as the CCC, PWA, CWA and NYA. All were established to provide jobs for the unemployed. However, the WPA was unique because it was the first program to also address the needs of artists, writers, and actors. These people were employed by the WPA to capture and portray the culture and events of the United States at that time (761).

As a result of the Depression, Americans learned to be resourceful. People would make clothes out of flour sacks and homes out of cardboard and metal scraps (Conlin 686). They grew gardens and hunted for their food instead of buying it at the store. Some people even sold apples in the city streets to earn money (Current 731).

One of the weirdest things about my grandma is that she likes to eat squirrel brains. But it makes sense. When she was little they didn't have money to buy meat, so her dad would go hunting all the time. He'd catch jackrabbits and squirrels and whatever else he could find, and that's what they ate. So my grandma grew up eating squirrels (and their brains). It was normal to h...

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... of the war. The day the war ended she was in school. When they found out it was over, they let all the kids go home early. Everywhere she went, she said she could feel a sense of relief. Everyone was happy and excited.

My grandma grew up and married Henry Fordge. They now have six grown children and a lifetime of wonderful memories. Her first memories, though, were shaped by two of the greatest events in American history: The Great Depression and World War Two.

Works Cited

Conlin, Joseph R. Our Land, Our Time: A History of the United States. Orlando: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1991.

Current, Richard N., et al. American History: A Survey. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983.

Divine, Robert A., ed. America Past and Present. Illinois: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1987.

Jordan, Killian, ed. Our Finest Hour. Time Inc. Home Entertainment. 2000.

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