Job Loss or Hard Times Now verses The Great Depression
Our neighbor called us last night and we were introduced to another "sign of the times" this time close to home where she will be lending a helping hand to family members who have lost their jobs.
We have a wonderful neighborly relationship. She knows that we watch her house for her while she is at work or on vacation. During Hurricane Ike we looked out for one another and shared what we each had to contribute. We helped rake her yard of fallen debris, she loaned us a land line phone and we ate meals together.
It was an uncommon time for more bonding between people who live close to one another but still lead separate lives. The time was short that we suffered electricity and telephone outages following the hurricane but it helped forge a stronger relationship between us. It is reassuring to know that others care and are willing to share during times of crisis.
Living here just two years after having moved from our old subdivision about 3 miles away where we lived for 28 years, we feel fortunate to have met some friendly and helpful new neighbors.
This particular next door neighbor is a very likable lady. She took in some foster kids shortly after we moved next to her and nurtured them for about a year. She did a great job and the kids are now living back with their mother.
The people who will be moving into her home are her brother and sister-in-law along with their dog and cat. They have joined the ranks of many people in this day and age who are without jobs.
Obviously hopeful that the job market is better here in Houston than where they have been living, they have been invited to live with our neighbor until their situation improves. They will not have to live in their car or join the ranks of those living in tent cities that are springing up in other parts of the country where people have no better options.
The Great Depression
My mother and I were talking about this situation at the kitchen table this morning. My mother was born in 1925 and when the Great Depression came along and the Stock Market crashed in 1929 she was a little tyke.
Growing up in the City of Milwaukee she remembered the fact of it being commonplace that many generations lived under the same roof. In fact extended families were the norm back then. Parents and children typically shared housing with grandparents and sometimes aunts, uncles or cousins. In my mother's case her widowed maternal grandfather lived with them full time until his death.
1925 Street Scene Photo of My Mother in a Baby Carriage
My mother's fraternal grandparents had a bedroom in the family home that was used seasonally. Living in California for most of the year after they had retired, they would come back to Wisconsin in the spring and live with them in Milwaukee until it was warm enough to move out to their cottage on the lake. Then in the fall prior to moving back to California they would once again join the household in Milwaukee.
How People Coped
The hard financial times following the depression necessitated some of this but families tended to stay together back then and help one another for other reasons. If there was an elderly maiden aunt she was often taken in by one family member or another. She did not have to live alone.
Aging parents were not shipped off to nursing homes but were kept at home where they still were an intricately interwoven part of that family's life.
Girls often remained at home until they would become married. There were some advantages to this.
- Resources were pooled.
- Chores were shared.
- Conversations flowed.
Family history was a living and breathing thing between several generations...one that was experienced not just related from one generation to the next by word of mouth. On the block where my mother grew up almost everyone had at least 3 generations living together in their apartments and homes.
We wish our neighbor and her new family members well. Whether it is a short, temporary stay or a prolonged visit hopefully they will enjoy a new sense of togetherness and shared experiences that will leave their lives enriched and create some good memories.
When people lose their jobs it is typically not long before savings are used up and financial obligations can no longer be met. This is happening to people from all walks of life and every educational background.
Job loss is a constant concern to many people we know. Still employed they are seeing others let go and wonder when it might be their turn to exit the door for the last time. Talk about stress! Certain industries are more prone to this than others.
Just turn on the nightly news and one can hear about more job losses. When will this end? Not soon according to "experts." Those who are impacted with the loss of a job and have family or friends that can lend them a helping hand and more importantly are willing to do so are the fortunate ones.
Hopefully this sign of the times (the poor economic indicators) will be remedied sooner rather than later. Our neighbor is doing her part to help her family members. From what we have learned about her we would expect no less.
Would you take in a friend or family member to help them financially if they lost their jobs and temporarily needed a helping hand?
Top 3 Myths About the Great Depression and the New Deal
This post was originally written in 2009. Right now in 2017 the United States stock market is at an all time record high. Many people at the top are thriving economically and yet the disparity in income for the vast majority of people seems to be widening.
A new tax reform bill has just been signed by President Trump lowering corporate tax rates so that companies can better compete with the rest of the world. Will this bring about more jobs and better pay? Hopefully it will have that effect because our national debt has been increased substantially due to this cut in taxes.
Job losses and hard times have historically happened in the past and will undoubtedly occur sometime again in the future. It is interesting looking back and seeing how people coped. We can all hopefully learn lessons from the past and employ them if it becomes necessary.
© 2009 Peggy Woods