“. . .and it hasn’t gotten better, I can tell you that. I had more fun back in the Great Depression than I do now!” His statement was emphatic, but more surprising was the unexpected, vigorous “That’s right!” from across the room.
Every clinic has elderly patients coming in, and in every clinic patients invariably share notes, get friendly, and start chatting. This being a rural clinic, topics tend to take a different slant than more urban locations. Still, in the midst of the repeated implications from the media that The Great Depression is the sort of thing to be spoken about in hushed tones and avoided no matter what the cost, it is extremely striking to have a handful of people who lived through the Great Depression saying “It wasn’t as bad as all that–in fact, it was better than this mess!”
Don’t get me wrong, some of that, I’m sure, has to do with what rural people find a hardship. Being told what to do with your property, your money, your life–those are hardships. Being poor is just a way of life. More urban areas, it would seem, consider being poor a terrible, horrible, unmitigatable disaster–but having everything dictated to you, down to what type of bed sheets and lightbulbs you can use, is just a way of life.
But part of me can’t help but wonder. . .what was the Great Depression like? The reason I say that is because it seems that anyone who dares, dares to say that it wasn’t the most horrible thing that ever befell us is dismissed as not knowing what they’re talking about. There is, I know, a certain part of us that likes to see the years of our youth in a golden light. . .but they were there. And various talking heads have summarized what they have decided has happened, and have proceeded to shove it all at us obvious fact.
And I know that the Great Depression affected different people in different ways, depending on a multitude of factors. That sorta is my point. To take one period of history, declare it horror, and apply it to all locations and all classes and all lives–is just plain silly. With the terror the Great Depression is painted with, no one, any where, should possibly be able to be discussing it in more flowery terms than the present.
For some peculiar reason, though, I’m extremely reluctant to dismiss first hand accounts.