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