The Great Depression

My first memories were of growing up in rural South Dakota during the Great Depression. The community where I grew up in the northeastern corner of the state had been affected by the depression, drought and dust storms all at the same time. I really didn’t appreciate how difficult those times were for my parents and neighbors at the time. Only on reflecting back to that time and reading the history of the period do I understand how difficult it must have been.

I was born in 1927 so had reached the age of remembering at about the time Roosevelt became president, the only president I knew during my first seventeen years. I can remember the fire side chats with the family gathered around our battery powered radio, listening to the president’s speeches as were most of the rest of the people in the country. As I remember it, as desperate as many of the citizens of the country were at that time, most were united behind their president.

 

Three short short stories (100 words or less) describe scenes from the 30’s in a South Dakota community

Depression Wedding

There is a faded picture of a young woman sitting in a wood arm chair in the middle of a farm yard. She holds a bouquet of yellow roses picked in the garden.  A young man in shirt sleeves stands straight and tall behind the chair.  Alice and Peter’s love had been frustrated by the Great Depression and a wedding became possible only after Roosevelt’s WPA paid Peter a dollar a day to shovel sand and a relative offered the upstairs of their farm house rent free. It is a simple wedding, a minister and two witnesses.

 

 

Farm Eggs

Things were difficult on the South Dakota Schwant family farm in 1934.  The economy failed and the crops dried up during the hot rain-less summer.  Esther needed floor to bake bread and loaded half a crate of eggs into the Model T and went into the town five miles away. She had no money but the eggs were selling for a penny each, enough to buy the small sack of flower she needed. Ely, the store clerk candled the eggs.

“The heat got to them,” he said.  “They’re all spoiled.”

Esther cried.

 

The Glass is Half Empty

The northeastern South Dakota farm community hadn’t had a decent crop in seven years. Persistent drought aggravated by dust storms on top of the Great Depression devastated the region. Emil, an old German farmer said it wouldn’t have been so bad if the depression and hard times hadn’t happened all at once.  Emil, a persistent pessimist, didn’t see any hope for the future. Then in 1937 the community experienced a huge bumper crop. A neighbor asked Emil if he had anything to complain about now.

“Well,” Emil replied, “That really takes a lot out of the soil.”

 

 

Alfred Wellnitz Published Book and Short Story Information at:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=alfred+Wellnitz&x=19&y=12

 

Copyright © 2015 by Alfred Wellnitz

 

All rights reserved. No part of these short short stories may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in these short short stories are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author.

Caregiver

My time is being devoted more to care giving as my wife Joan’s Alzheimer’s continues to progress. She had been diagnosed as having dementia of the Alzheimer’s type in February of 2012.  Actually I had become aware of a memory decline as early as 2004 when we moved from a single family home to a condominium. At that time she had begun asking what she should wear for an outer garment when we went outside, something she had never done before. There were other signs. Finally it came to a head when she went in for a routine physical checkup and her blood pressure had gone off the chart. She had been taking a medication for high blood pressure for years which did a good job of controlling the condition but her memory had declined to a point where she could no longer manage her prescription medications. That is when she had been tested for and diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s.

Since that time she had been taking two prescriptions which are to slow the progress of the condition. These prescriptions are very expensive and their effectiveness is questionable.

In order to take some of the load off myself we are are now attempting to make use of our long term care insurance. We are finding that purchasing such insurance twenty years ago had been easier then trying to make use of it when we need it.

I’m also learning something about myself when it comes to doing housekeeping tasks. One thing is that it is more challenging than what I had assumed. Another one is that I found I like the food preparation part of it, cleaning and laundry, not so much.

I was a real novice when I starting preparing the meals and followed recipes closely. I have graduated to doing a lot of adlibbing, substituting ingredients and processes if I didn’t have what the recipe called for or if I thought I might have a better way of doing something. There an infinite number of variations in how to prepare food.  I tend towards healthy food and try to make what is good nutritionally also taste good. I sometimes make up my own recipes. One such recipe is for a smoothie. One might wonder if we really need another smoothie recipe, there must be tens of thousands of them. Well here is another one. I call it the Frozen Fruit Smoothie. The Frozen Fruit Smoothie has the characteristics of a soft ice cream. It has to be eaten with a spoon, not drank.  This smoothie evolved from a drinkable fruit smoothie when my wife seemed to tire of the smoothies I had been making. She didn’t drink the smoothie or would only drink part of it. However I found that if I thickened it to where it had to be eaten with a spoon she quickly consumed the smoothie. This is how you make it:

Recipe for two servings

Ingredients:

½ c skim milk

1 C frozen strawberries

1/3 c frozen blueberries

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cumin

Honey to taste

3 Tbs vanilla flavored whey protein powder

1 sliced frozen banana

1 Tbsp quinoa or more for garnish (optional)

Place ingredients in a four cup measuring cup in the order listed. Wait approximately five minutes for the fruit to soften before mixing with a hand blender. Blend until it has the consistency of soft ice cream. Place in serving glasses or bowels. Optional, garnish with quinoa or similar ingredient.

Smoothie Ingridiants IMG_0163  Smoothie servings