Monday, August 8, 2011

Lesson From Grandma About The Great Recession

Do you know this famous Grandma?
Grandma: "Hello?"

Me: "Hi Grandma! Its me, your best Grandson in Arizona!"

Grandma: "Well hi there! How are you sweetie?"

Me: "Just fine Grandma. Just calling to check in with you."

I try to call Grandma at least a few times a year.  She's getting "up there" in her years and I need to get my "Grandma fix" every now and then.  She's so motivating with her kindness and wisdom.  She's the quintessential arms-open, give Grandma a big hug, gray haired Grandmother.

Born in 1927, she seen her share of life's experiences.  She was raised on a farm in Hennessey, Oklahoma with both parents and three siblings.  She married my Grandfather and had four children of her own.  She insisted on taking care of her husband for over a decade after he came down with Alzheimer's inside their own home.  She bathed him, fed and clothed him every day until he passed.  That was almost 17 years ago.  She has helped raise three Grandkids and even took meals to an elderly woman on her street for several years.

I don't know what it was about her generation but they sure seemed to have learned something.  Something that I'm not sure was passed down to the Baby Boomers.  Both my folks are on their third marriage.  Finances are a struggle and I wonder If I might be taking care of them someday.  But not Granny.  She has worked herself into owning 400 acres of farmland.  She rents it out to other farmers and lets them put cattle on her land.  She has oil wells and crops that still go to harvest and produce an income.  She doesn't rely on food stamps or government hand outs...and she's 84 years old.

Did the Great Depression affect YOUR family?
I harvest every bit of knowledge from her I can get.  In our recent conversation, I boasted that we were learning the old skills: gardening, sewing, knitting, canning, etc.  She was pleased and I could feel the joy in the tone of her voice.  I wanted to learn a little more during this I asked her some questions.

Me: "Grandma, do you remember The Great Depression?"

I wanted to see how she would compare The Great Depression to what our American society is going through today.  Was it worse, was it easier today?  I expected stories of soup lines and hard times.

Grandma said: "No. I don't really remember much about it."

Huh? Is Grandma starting to lose her memory? How could anyone of that time period NOT know the Great Depression?

That's when she said: "You see, we were farmers.  So it didn't affect us.  We always grew our own food and took care of ourselves.  I knew it was going on but it didn't really affect our family."

And there it was...the plain obvious truth that so many "sheeple" can't see or understand.  Self sufficiency breeds self reliance.  Use it up, wear it out...make it do, or do without.  Much of America has forgotten this old saying.  In today's world where "it's cheaper just to buy a new one that to fix the old one" is a common phrase, but we've forgotten the main point.  It's cheaper to buy a new one than to PAY SOMEONE ELSE to fix it.  But why not fix it yourself?  Or just do without?  Or trade with a neighbor that knows how to fix it?

Take care of your land and it will take care of you.
I ask same question, the one I asked my Grandma, to anyone patient I get in my department at the hospital who was alive during the Great Depression.  The last time I asked a 90+ year old patient, they said "It didn't affect us, my Daddy owned the grocery we always had what we needed."  I'm sure the grocery store didn't sell tires, or clothes, or kitchen sinks.  The only thing we NEED is food and if you control your own food supply (ie., farming/gardening) then you are going to be okay in rough times.  Is owning a grocery store really that much different that just being prepared and having a years' worth of food in storage? Don't we kind of become our own grocer when we prep sufficiently?

I just intended on sharing Grandma's wisdom and I went off on a little detour.  I'll end it here.  I think you know what I'm saying.  And if you don't by now...I'll be praying for you...and all the other sheeple out there.



  1. My mom, born in 1925, says the same type of things. Her family, mom, dad and 8 kids, lived on a farm. Not sure if you are a country fan or not but Alabama has a song "High Cotton" along the same tune

  2. My grandma will be 94 next month. It is a shame that the greatest generation is dying off and the current generation won't ask them for a history lesson. To too many people, the greatest generation just belong in a cheap nursing home until they die so they can get their money.

    Is that Betty White?

    My grandma isn't stupid, she sees what is going on and what is about to happen. But she can't prep at 94 and knows it.

    I'm afraid when she goes, so does a wealth of knowledge and experience. Not that most of my family would have used any of it.

  3. Ok I am having somekind of weird dejavu moment. I swear I commented on this article but something is different about it now and no comment from me.

    Either I am getting Alzheimers myself or well... what was I saying?

  4. @Mudbug Yup, Betty White. Nice catch! Its too bad we can't video our grandparents displaying their knowledge and skills and upload it to youtube or something for everyone to learn from.

    @PP I got the idea for this post after leaving a comment on your blog. You probably commenting on that post and not here?

  5. My Grandma is about to be 90. I asked her back in 2008 if she thought this was worse and she said yes. She grew up on a farm and my family was fine but she thought with so many people working at desk jobs and getting laid off, that there would be a lot more suicides this time around.

  6. I didn't realize that was Betty White until Mudbug said it. That WAS a good catch!

    I'm glad your grandma and her family were not greatly affected by the Great Depression. However, I'm not sure that will be the case for us. It seems that a lot of our problems today are weather-related, and farms and gardens are suffering because of it. Maybe that would be considered "famine" instead of "depression."

    Are you worried at all by the big dust storms you had recently in AZ? I remember about five years ago when I was in grad school, two of my professors were talking. One was saying that they ran 5 computer models, and four of the five predicted that within 40 years, the western third or so of the US would be a dust bowl. I hope they are wrong!

    I wish more people would realize the great resource they have in the older generation. One of the things I'm thankful for about being born to a young (16!) mom is that I got to know my grandparents as well as my great grandparents. I was past my teens by the time my last great grandparents passed. Some of my grandparents are still alive. My granddad is one of my favorite people on the planet.

  7. I do not know if your Grandma still lives in Hennessey OK or not, but it is a fine little town. After I was born in Enid, OK., I spent the next 32 years being raised and starting my own family there. Dad always told us kids, he remembered chopping wood all day long for fifty cents a day during the depression and was glad to get it. Thanks for sharing.


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