Dear Friends of my era,
This was in Sunday's (July 23) 5 Doves LDLs. Maybe you have seen it already - if not you really should. This is the kind of memorabilia that I really enjoy.<< I was born 2 years after the "crash">>.
With me, I estimate that I could remember and/or identify with over 95% of what Pastor Riley recounts here. Barbara B., with what you shared with me previously, your percentage may well be higher.My dad was a Denver City fireman so we always were fortunate to have a house to live in and plenty of food on our table. But we rarely had the money to go to Elitch Gardens; Lakeside amusement park or the likes of such.And, Barbara, we never seemed to have noticed any class discrimination or snobbery at our High Schools (Skinner and North) or did you? Not me.
So here goes - enjoy the memories with great thanksgiving for how the LORD brought us through!
In closing: Good Preaching Pastor!
Loving Jesus More Each Day,BoB
F.M. Riley (23 July 2017)
"The Great Depression”Posted in July 23, 2017, edition of Latter Day Letters - edited & enhanced by BoB
Yes! I sure do remember
The Great Depression.. By Pastor F. M. Riley July 16, 2017
"God that made the world and all things therein.......hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their [mankind's] habitation," Acts 17:24-26.
I am 83 years of age. I suppose it is because of my age, that I was asked if I remember anything about the Great Depression, which began in 1929 and extended through the 1930's and 40's. Yes, I sure do remember that period.I was not yet born when the entire world economy collapsed, beginning the Great Depression in 1929. I was born nearly five years later in 1934.
After the end of the First World War, America as a nation and people, expressed their gratitude to God for giving them victory by turning away from the Lord, and descending into wickedness and depravity. The years following the First World War were the years of "the flapper girls," prostitution, national prohibition, bootlegging all across the nation, organized crime, [the beginning of the Mafia], gangster wars, political corruption, and worse.
Now that I have had 83 years of life in which to observe the whole world system, I have come to believe that the Great Depression, was likely one of the first warning "signs" given to mankind, of judgment to come, by our long suffering and gracious God who created us all.
After I was born and was old enough to understand, I was told that my Father was a prosperous farmer when the Great Depression came upon the world. My Dad had owned 160 acres of good farm land, which was a big farm back in those days, due to the farm land having to be plowed with horses or mules. Tractors, as used in farming today, were just being invented, and still being perfected, back in the late 1920's and 30's.
My Dad told me that he raised fine mules on his farm to sell to other farmers. When the Great Depression came, my Dad had 50 fine mules ready for sale, which before the Depression were selling for $100 to $150 per mule. After the Depression began, my Dad took those mules to the livestock auction, where they brought only $5.00 each.
My Dad's farm was mortgaged, and after the Depression began, he was unable to make the mortgage payments and lost the farm. He was forced to go into public work in order to live and support the family. From that time on our family was regarded as one of the "poor" families in our community. Jobs became extremely scarce after the beginning of the Great Depression, due to many businesses and factories failing and closing their doors. My Dad worked at whatever he could find to do. He had no "formal" education, and so was forced to do hard manual labor the rest of his life. But due to his love for his family, and his desire to provide for us, I cannot remember ever hearing him complain about the hard manual labor he was doing.
My Own Memories
I was born in 1934, the year that historians now call the worst [hardest] year of the Great Depression. At the time, my parents and family were living in an old shack in the country south of Higgins, a small community in the Panhandle of Texas. We were living there because, at the time, my parents didn't have the money to afford anything better. Not long after I was born, more work became available for my Dad, then we moved into town.
But financially times were very hard. Some of my earliest memories as a baby were watching my Dad and my older brother leave the house every morning before daylight. They were going rabbit hunting, in order for the family to have meat to eat during the day. Yes, the grocery stores sold meat at that time, but we didn't have the money to buy it. So my Dad and older brother took their "22" rifles and went rabbit hunting every morning before my Dad left for work, in order for our family to have meat for the day.
Times were so hard financially, that the government back then brought in "commodities" for the poor each month. I don't remember the day of the month the "commodities" came, but I do remember that nearly every family in our little community looked forward to, and depended on, receiving those commodities.
Among the "commodities" was cheese, flour, sometimes bacon, applies in season, canned goods, etc. Sometimes loads of clothing, both new and used, was also brought in on the "commodities" truck.
My mother was an excellent seamstress, even on the old pedal sewing machines. She looked forward to receiving the flour, for she used the flour sacks to make shirts and underwear for us children, and to make curtains for our windows, and hand towels and dusting cloths for the kitchen, and our home. There were no paper towels back in those days. They were invented many years later.
Our Home Life
What a wonderful loving Daddy and Mother me and my older brother, and my sisters were blessed with. My mother was a devoted Christian, and as I was growing up, we had Bible study and prayer in our home on a regular basis. We didn't have many material possessions in our home, but our home was always filled with love.My Mom and Dad truly loved each other, loved us children, and we all loved one another. Praise the Lord!
My family always attended Sunday School and Church services. In my early life we often went to church services in a wagon harnessed to a mule, due to not being financially able to own a car. I was four years old before my Dad bought the first car I could remember us owning. It was an old beat up used car that wasn't all that dependable, a "Chevie," the best I can recall. But my Dad was good at keeping it running, until we were able to afford something better.
Many people in the 1930's did not own cars, while some who did own a car, had put their cars up on blocks in their yards, because they could not afford to buy the gas to operate their car. I am talking about gas costing ten cents a gallon back in those days. It was this way for several years into the Great Depression.
Clothing and Money
Most people today have been born since the Great Depression, and have no idea of how bad it really was. There simply were few jobs and next to no money for people to live on during the Great Depression. I am not exaggerating the truth, when I tell our readers that if one had the money they could buy a fine pair of new shoes right out of a store for a one dollar bill. Yes, I do mean just $1.00. Yet thousands of Americans during those years were cutting out cardboard inserts to put inside their shoes to keep from walking on the ground, because the soles of their shoes were worn out, and they didn't even have the one dollar to buy more shoes.
In our family each child had two pairs of shoes. One pair was special, to be worn only when attending church on Sunday. The other pair was to wear during the week. The rule was strictly enforced. On Sunday we put on our good shoes to attend church services. When we got home from church service, we immediately took our good shoes off and put our old ones on. If we forgot, a paddle across our bottom would remind us. There was no money to buy new shoes, so we carefully preserved what we had.
Yes, we children did wear clothes with patches on them. I remember watching my Mom sewing patches on our clothes many times. A rag was never thrown away in our home. Rather, it was washed and used for patching our clothes. When I started to school, I was sometimes snickered at and made fun of by other children whose families had enough money that they didn't have to wear patched clothes.
A Home of our Own
I was six years old  when we were able to stop living in rent houses all over our little community. My Dad found an old abandoned wrecked house, that was for sale. Literally wrecked!
The renters who had previously lived in the house were very poor. During the previous very cold winter, they could not afford to buy coal or wood to heat the house, so their whole family moved into the front part of the house [two rooms], then took an axe and chopped the floors out of the two bedrooms on the back part of the house, and burned the chopped up flooring boards for heat. They didn't bother to tell the owner of the property what they had, but as soon as warm weather arrived they moved. When the owner of the property saw what had been done, he just put the property up for sale "as is."
The old house was located on a half block of city property, and the owner was asking $100.00 for the whole thing. Of course my Dad did no have a hundred dollars, however we did have several milk cows. My Dad traded six milk cows for the property. This will give our readers some idea of what milk cows were worth at that point in time.
Anyway, we finally had a home of our own and didn't have to rent anymore. My Dad set to work on the old house, and over the next six years, he transformed that wreck of a house into a nice home for our family to live in. But then tragedy struck.......
The Great Tornado
The date was Wednesday, April 9, 1947, a warm Spring day. It had been cloudy and humid most of the day. Then that evening at 7:28 p.m. a terrible tornado came roaring out of the southwestern sky, and made a direct hit on our little community. It only took about three to five minutes to pass through the town. But it left 46 people dead, nearly every home in town destroyed or badly damaged, and our home completely gone.
Fortunately, my older brother and sisters had already left home and gone into public work. A few months previously my brother had bought an old house in Higgins, and my parents and I were able to move into it temporarily. A few days after the tornado, I found my Dad sitting on the porch crying like a baby. All of the years of hard work he had done in building us a home had vanished in the wind in three minutes time. This was the only time in my life that I can remember my Daddy crying, and it like to have broke my heart.
But the good Lord has promised to take care of those of His people who have placed their faith in Him for salvation, and He always keeps His Word. The American Red Cross came into our community. Those home owners in our little town, who had lost their homes, and were financially unable to replace them, were given grants from the Red Cross to build new homes. After a few months we moved into a brand new house, courtesty of the American Red Cross. We praised the Lord Jesus who had moved on our behalf, and to this day we support the American Red Cross when we have money to donate.
Jobs and Wages
Oh yes, the wages being paid to those who had jobs during those Depression years? I can remember my Daddy, in the dead of winter with snow on the ground, crawling into the back of an open truck with other men, and being driven fifty miles to work on the new highway being built across the northern part of our county by the WPA. He sometimes was worked twelve hours a day in the cold of the winter, and arrived back home after dark. His wages? Fifty cents an hour! If I remember correctly a couple of the men that rode in that open truck with my Dad, came down with severe pnuemonia and died. But the times were so hard, that there were men waiting to fill any vacancies for the jobs.
Yet people today gripe if their working conditions are not just "so so," and they are not making at least guaranteed minimum wage. Today, in most states, the minium wage is now $7.50 an hour. Many worker's today are making far more money than minimum wage for their work.
But dear readers, it was after the Second World War, in the late 1940's before wages were finally raised to $1.00 per hour. I know, for as a fourteen year old boy, I was working on a hard manual labor job, side by side with grown men, making just seventy five cents an hour. When I went to work one day, the foreman on the job announced to all of us workers that our wages were being raised to $1.00 per hour. Our group of about fifty men working on that job that day shouted and praised the Lord. From that exact time, the economy in America began to gradually improve. Factories began opening to produce the new products, many of which had been "discovered" or invented during the war years, and retail stores began opening to sell these products. I never had to work for less than $1.00 an hour on any job again. The year that wages gradually begin to improve was 1948**
A Very Significant Year
1948 was the year that Jewish leaders re-established the nation of Israel. This occurred on May 14, 1948. What never seems to occur in the minds of many of the American people, is that the American President at that time, Harry Truman, was the first President of any nation in the world to extend congratulations and a welcome to the newly established nation of Israel. Now let our readers consider this Scriptural truth.......
In Genesis 12:3 the Lord God in speaking to Abraham and his seed after him, explicitly stated, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Dear readers, do you suppose that President Truman's blessing upon the new nation of Israel, has had anything to do with the prosperity of America and it's people over these past nearly seventy years? Well...??
The other part of this promise from God is that His "curse" will come upon "him" who curses Israel. Let every American give this some serious thought! What is your attitude towards God's chosen people; the nation and people of Israel? Be careful how you answer, for the Lord God is listening, Matthew 12:36-37.
There is much more that I could write about on this subject of the Great Depression, for I certainly remember much more, but this will do for now. Someone once said, "Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past, are destined to repeat those mistakes themselves."
Have the American people learned anything from the Great Depression, and from the departure of Israel in past centures from loving and living for the Lord God of the Bible? As I look at America today, with all of the sin and wickedness being perpetrated in our country on a daily basis, I am made to wonder?
If any reader has not been genuinely saved from their sins by placing their personal faith in Christ Jesus, or if any reader lacks the assurance of salvation, please read, believe, and act upon Luke 13:1-5, John 3:16, 3:18, 5:24, 14:6, Acts 4:12, 16:30-31, Romans 10:8-13, Ephesians 2:8-10, and Hebrews 11:6.
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A final note: How many readers remember that 72 years ago today, the first Atomic Bomb was exploded in the desert just north of Alamogordo, New Mexico? "72" is the number in the Bible which signifies, "a sign; a token; a warning." Remember???
Permission is granted to any true believer or Bible believing ministry to reproduce this study to share with others, or to quote from it in context as written.
Thank you dear brothers and sisters in Christ for your kind expressions of love for this old preacher. Please continue to pray for me, and above all, meet me in glory.
Please address all comments, questions, and correspondence to:Pastor F. M. Riley, 14275 County Road 8120,Rolla, Missouri 65401.