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Heather Holt
Western Alamance High School, grade 11

Interview About the Great Depression

Interview with Ms. Adele Holt

Heather: What do you remember any thing your parents told you about changes when the stock market crashed in Oct 1929?
Adele: It did not affect us, because we did not have anything to begin with.

Heather: When the depression was the worst how did your family cope?
Adele: Did not bother us because we lived on a farm. My father raised an abundant amount of vegetables and other crops. We had everything we needed.

Heather: Many people starved during the depression; did your family ever have any troubles having dinner on the table?
Adele: No, like I said before we always had what we needed. I had an aunt who had 13 children, I remember them coming and eating with us on Sundays because they lived in the city and it was hard to pay for 15 people to eat. Also, I remember my mom, like many other women, canned all of our foods and vegetables that we may need in the future. We shared. Everyone bartered. If a man had troubles with his car, my father would help him restore it, then he would give us something we needed, like flour.

Heather: Many people have claimed part of the reason the US went into a depression was due to women in the work environment. Did your mother have a job before the depression?
Adele: I don't think so, I don't remember many women having jobs, and if they did it was domestic, like cleaning houses or helping wallpaper someone's home.

Heather: Do you remember any women, maybe aunts or neighbors, losing their jobs during the depression?
Adele: I don't remember women in the depression having jobs.

Heather: Do you remember your parents, elders, or older siblings, ever putting the blame on one person or party for this depression?
Adele: Franklin E. Roosevelt was the president at this time, and everyone thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. He set up a lot of programs for people to have jobs. My brother went into a CCC camp, which was a Conservation program. He planted trees at the lumberyard. And did things of that sort. We lived next to a railroad track, and the switch station was down the road from our house. Men would stop by and as for a job to do for a meal. My mother would give them a job, set their food out on the porch and when they were done they would eat, then leave.

Heather: Would you please share a little about the way you grew up during the depression?
Adele: In retrospect it was a happy childhood, it was simple, we didn't have anything, we played stickball and things like that. We had plenty of food, we were healthy. In fact, I think some people would be better off like that now (laugh).

Heather: Please tell me about the changes in the economy you have seen since the Great Depression?
Adele: The 2nd world war brought a boom because all of the men were not around, because they were all in the war. Women went to work. I had just started high school. My mother made mattresses out of the sheep's fur. They worked in community centers to make things for people over sees. I think the economy has gradually progressed, but too much too fast. Everyone got on the bandwagon in 1945, now its stopped and everyone is bailing!