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Personal Legacies: Surviving the Great Depression Charlotte/Mecklenburg 1929-1939

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Personal Legacies: Surviving the Great Depression Charlotte/Mecklenburg 1929-1939.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Robin A. Edgar(Author),Jessi Godoy(Illustrator)

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Personal Legacies: Surviving the Great Depression explores ordinary histories during extraordinary times. Adding living color to the black and white facts about that era, it focuses on how individuals from various walks of life survived and how that survival shaped their lives.

Stories are the lifeblood of our families and communities, connecting us, keeping us whole. This collection of stories about surviving economic hardships is priceless. --Susan Wittig Albert, founder of the Story Circle NetworkIn this inspirational collection by Robin Edgar, the children of the Depression remember the hard times with nostalgia because they enjoyed a family cohesiveness often lacking in today s comparative good times. --Ellen Scarborough, former reporter/feature writer, The Charlotte Observer & The Fayetteville TimesRobin Edgar has a flair for helping people reveal big histories on a personal level. Her work is informative, the stories are uplifting, and the process is inspiring. --Eric Davis, Director of Production, WTVI Going into this project with the ups and downs of our economy in mind, I hoped to discover a few secrets to financial security. During the interviews, I listened for the types of business that succeeded and real estate that retained its value. The wisdom I gleaned from the participants turned out to be something quite different from what I expected. Although I heard good advice about work ethics and sticking to it, the prevailing common thread to survival turned out to be something you could not buy, much less accomplish on your own.             What appeared to hold everyone together through the lean times was more about values than things of value. The ability to survive came from extended families, close-knit communities, and neighborhood churches. I also learned that survival was not about accumulating wealth but, as Katie Grier put it, sharing what you had.             Perhaps, with roots in rural farming, the greater Charlotte area already had established the sense of camaraderie and community, so sharing and watching out for each other was second nature. Even those that lived in the city knew the importance of looking out for others. People everywhere respected each other, particularly their elders.            Of course being practical and learning to do without helped a great deal during that era, too. (Who does not have stories about their parents walking for miles and saving pieces of soap and tin foil?) Although some of the participants advised to avoid spending what you did not have and to save what you can, most of the advice for future generations centered on the importance of family, church and community ties. As they all pointed out, the neighborhoods were small and everyone knew each other. Everyone looked out for one another's children, so there was truly no child left behind.             In our modern society, it appears that this strong sense of community, where everybody knows each other, is being mowed over with rapid growth and bigger-is-better attitudes. I do not know about you but, after listening to these stories from my elders, I am convinced that the best investment I can make is to bank my time and efforts in my family and my community. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Review Text

  • By Richard Sharp on March 13, 2012

    Robin Edgar concludes the introduction of "Personal Legacies: Surviving the Great Depression" with the words, "Everyone has a story to tell. Hopefully, this book will inspire others to tell theirs!" What better review, then, to give this book than to say that it did exactly that?The outline of my recent novel, "The Duke Don't Dance" began to take form after reading Personal Legacies in 2006. When that book was written,the human drama of surviving the Great Depression was being lost with the passing of so many of that generation. They were called the Greatest Generation, moreover, not so much because of their fortitude as survivors of those times, but the subsequent triumph of World War II. The first chapter in their story received much less attention than the second and without skillfully compiled and interpreted oral histories such as Robin Edgar's work on the Depression experience in the Carolinas, our ability to understand those times would be severely compromised.Six years after her work, my own generation, the so-called Silent Generation of those born too early to participate in World War II but before the Baby Boom is also beginning to pass from the scene. Like the survivors of the Depression, the story of the Silent Generation has been substantially overlooked (hence the name applied to it). Accepting Ms.Edgar's challenge, I modestly addressed that oversight in fictional form. Hopefully others, perhaps including Robin Edgar herself, will develop the definitive oral histories.Personal Legacies is an important contribution because it inspires the reader not to turn away from understanding a past era because the situation was painful and involved defeats, or its victories were personal and undramatic. There are many dimmensions to being a survivor,and wisdom is only one of them, as well illustrated in the volume's four chapters. After reading Personal Legacies, you should be convinced that most of the others -- persistence, community,sacrifice, faith in the future -- are also highly positive and contain lessons for our contemporary world.Richard Sharp

  • By Story Circle Book Reviews on December 8, 2008

    Robin Edgar's compilation of remembered histories from those who survived the hardships of the Great Depression gives us a very satisfying look into the memories of those who lived in and around Charlotte and Mecklenburg, North Carolina, during the years of 1929 to 1939.Realizing that the youngest of these survivors are now in their seventies and that their stories about these years will soon be lost forever if they were not recorded now, Edgar interviewed about ninety people. She edited their comments into stories about their families, their occupations before and after the depression, their lessons for survival and their advice to future generations. They share with us the stories of the grit, determination, and work ethic of the families who lived there during those years and who opened their hearts to those even less fortunate than themselves. Abundant are the stories of loyalty to family and friends during times when even food was scarce.There is recurring mention of feeding strangers who came to the door asking for food. The men patiently waited for the availability of work of any kind, for any length of time. There are repeated memories of mothers using washtubs, washboards, boiling wash pots, bluing and Octagon soap. Families walked to church together and prayed together. Faith and caring for those in like circumstances were the only things remembered by all in abundance.Edgar's experience as a creative non-fiction writer and in teaching reminiscence workshops around the country helped her isolate the heart of twenty-five of these stories of guidance, wisdom and self-worth. The book will serve well to inspire other writers to gather and record their own family or community life stories to share while we still have time.by Peggy Talleyfor Story Circle Book Reviewsreviewing books by, for, and about women


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