Learning about our history and what’s known as The Great Depression can give us hope and perspective on today’s headlines.Photo credit
Not having much in the way of family stories to fall back on, I never really understood The Great Depression like I understand it today. Honestly, it sounded like one of those “once in a million years” sort of events to me, surely never to happen again.
Today I know differently.
But before I unpack that thought further, let me continue the story of The Great Depression to add context. The Great Depression might have been brought about by the Stock Market crash of 1929, but there were a great many other factors that played into the situation. I could write for weeks about it because it is so fascinating.
However, in 1932, just three short years after the stock market crash, poor farming practices had caught up with our nation. Over planting and overgrazing, as well as overplowing, stripped our farmland of precious topsoil needed to grow crops.
High winds and severe drought conditions for several years contributed to these enormous dust storms, referred to as “Dust Bowls“. In 1932, there were 14 reported “Dust Bowls” on the Plains. In 1933, there were 38 dust storms. By 1934, over 100 million acres of farmland no longer had enough top soil to grow crops!
Can you imagine? Not to mention the countless people who died of “dust pneumonia”!
I’ll admit, before I researched The Great Depression for myself, I thought that today’s homesteaders and/or preppers would have a pretty good chance of survival during that time. As we work to grow most of our own food and energy, most of that “stock market” stuff really doesn’t scare me.
Yet, when you consider the complete financial meltdown of our country, as well as the disintegration of our farmlands, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that these were truly difficult times. You can’t grow food without soil. Now what?
This brings me to my point. Survival during the hardest of times is “all in your head“. Let me explain.
Ever see “Gone With the Wind“?
“Gone with the Wind” is historical-fiction that tells the story of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era that followed.
In the movie, there’s a conversation that takes place between a mother and her 6 year-old daughter, as they ride through the complete destruction of their plantations and towns. The mother says this to her young daughter….
“She explained that all the people who had once lived in all the houses had believed they had wealth and beauty and good times that would never end. But their world did end. And it would happen again, Margaret’s mother warned. And when it did she had better be prepared. ”…all that would be left after a world ended would be what you could do with your hands and what you had in your head.”
- Gone With the Wind – The Definitive Illustrated History of the Book, the Movie, the Legend by Herb Bridges and Terryl C. Boodman
Think about that statement for a minute….”all that would be left after a world ended would be what you could do with your hands and what you had in your head”.
Skills, knowledge, community, work-ethic, character and faith…..that’s how people survived The Great Depression.
Next post: How to be ready for anything!