Surviving the Years of the Stock Market Crash

A comment on Monday’s post said, “It must have been awful,” talking about the years of the stock market crash. Yes, it was rough. Dad moved us to Beaver Valley, where we “could live off the land.” He had a permit from the game warden to shoot out of season, so that we had moose meat, grouse and deer. We grew our vegetables, and we picked wild berries. Mom was a great cook, and was able to “make do” with whatever we had.

Brother-in-law Al Campbell haying

There was a barter and trade system … where you traded what you had for what you needed. I remember sitting around the dining room table, sifting oat seed in order to remove the wild oats that were black. Dad got a better deal when he took CLEAN seed in to trade. Sometimes he would trade eggs for the baking supplies that Mom needed. Don’t forget, she made everything we ate. Baked all the bread, made all the cakes. For a Sunday dinner we might have roasted grouse … with stuffing. We each had a whole grouse, even the kid, me. The nearest store was in Horsefly, sixteen miles away. Or in Williams Lake, fifty miles away.

Many times we didn’t have ANY money. Not even a red cent. Taxes were paid by Dad and my two brothers doing road work … hauling gravel and filling in the pot holes.

Funny thing was that there would come a time when we had to have cash for something … and it always came. Don’t know from where, but it was always provided!

The boys had a trap line … that was in the days when fur was acceptable. Winter time I would go with them on snow shoes to check the traps. Almost ashamed to admit it now, but the few dollars that it brought in were really needed.

Young men who couldn’t get jobs in the winter would stay with a family and work for their board.

I was just a kid, and loved every minute of it. I’m sure it was very difficult for my parents, but we never went hungry. Never! And there were no food banks where we lived!

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12 thoughts on “Surviving the Years of the Stock Market Crash

  1. Thank you for posting these memories, Norma! The title drew me in because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what the future might hold, and feeling like we’re heading toward times that might not be all that different from the Great Depression. I’m only 31, so the idea of it is new to me. My grandparents lived through it, though, and it was clear it had its impact on them for the rest of their lives.

    Your memories seem a combination of challenging and rewarding. I’ve moved myself more toward the poverty side of things in recent years, by choice, and I have to say that I’ve been able to carve out a life of farming and simple living that I really enjoy. There’s still a lot I’m working on, but I like where I’m at. And I figure the bonus is that I have less far to fall if there is another crash.

    Anyway, thanks again for the memories, as well as your post a couple days ago talking about your life back then. It’s fascinating to read. I want to find more sources of what life was like during that stretch of history.

  2. Worse part is Norma, there is no guaranty a very similar time will not come this way again. The world is very close to a major stock market melt down now…

  3. I worry about our young people who have no survival skills. Youngsters who cannot bake without a mix, fix a meal without a microwave, or even know what a can opener is. There are those who cannot add and subtract without a computer or a calculator. I fear that we have done an exceptionally poor job of educating them to withstand adversity of any kind.

    Our mothers and grandmothers sewed, cooked from scratch, canned, gardened, preserved, and had all kinds of survival skills and knowledge. We could take a page from their book.

  4. Hi Joel. Thanks for stopping by. Like I said, times were tough, but folks knew how to survive. It bothers me that some of the younger generations would not know how to survive if there is another crash. We didn’t have fancy stuff, but we ate a plain diet It was a bit more intesive work, took longer to make food, but Mom was able to do it… then when it was my turn to feed my family on a low income, I knew how, Lots of home made bread, biscuits cookies and cakes. Home made soups.
    We worked hard, but we made it. I don’t like to see the amount of food that is wasted around here.
    I hope you will come back and visit often.

    • That’s what most bothers and worries me too, Norma. We’ve outsourced so much of our existence to corporations and political structures, I don’t know what people will do if those start to collapse–or if the price of that existence becomes out of reach, either due to rising prices or falling incomes. That’s why I’ve been farming the last few years, trying to learn how to grow my own food and raise animals, gain homesteading skills, and so on. Tonight, I had my first knitting lesson! I’m not too good at it yet, but I think I’ll get the hang of it before long.

      I still have a lot of skills to learn, though.

      I think most of us need to work harder, anyway–or work hard in different ways, perhaps. More physical labor, more crafting and providing our own living, less sitting in front of various kinds of screens (I write, ironically, on the internet) and less distractions.

      I’ll definitely continue to visit. I’m going to go look at your new post now.

  5. Thanks for coming by, Jean. Put the kettle on and join the conversation. Did anyone warn you that you would have to put the kettle on? Anyway, I guess they will just have to learn how to survive if a melt down occurs. You don’t really need McDonalds, Tm Hortons, Etc.

  6. Welcome back, Judith… did you pour your tea? Some cookies over on the counter, so bring some with you. I’ve thought all along that these food shows on TV should be teaching basic skills in preparing food….. and I don’t mean lobster, crab , scallops, etc. Just basics .

  7. I think the older we are the more we recognize what values were important in our upbringing and that of our children. On the TV news today they evaluated the five top educational toys of all time, and said the list hasn’t changed much in 40 years: a stick, a box, string, cardboard tubes and dirt. They offer opportunities for creativity and imagination, qualities that our parents or grandparents sometimes needed, too.

  8. Thank you for sharing another photo of grandpa Campbell. And to think he did all that work with one hand. To have a chance to eat grouse now you really have to work at it. But I know you could not eat your chickens because that is were your eggs came from.

  9. Fascinating to read about these times in your life. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the world enter into a similar phase – but I suspect solutions will be very different for most. Thank you for sharing your wonderful world!

  10. Careann, welcome. Tea or coffee? I should know that. It’s coffee, black, right? Glad you could join us. I can believe that list of the top educational toys… they let the child use his or her imagination, and that’s the best way to learn.
    Rob, your grandpa was quite a man, Yes, he only had one hand, but he had the wrist and a “stub” on his other hand. He would put a strap on that wrist to hold a knife when he needed to have the use of the hand. He was a very smart man, too. I loved him dearly, as my brother in law. He gave me my first cameras… a box brownie. In later years I gave that camera back to his daughter, Elsie.
    Thanks for coming back, Rob.

    Heather,Will you plug in the kettle and make the tea for us, please. And you brought cookies, I see. Those peanut butter ones are really good, aren’t they? Thanks for your comment. You wonder just when the crash will come… prices keep climbing, and people just can’t afford some of the things they really need. Thanks for coming by.

  11. Even though times were tough back then it seems people were so much happier.There wasn’t much money or none but you always had a full stomach and warm bed to sleep in.You appreciated what you had.It takes so much more today to make us happy.That really is quite sad.

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