Ruth Chamberlin


Mrs. Chamberlin on everyday adjustments during hard times


Mrs. Chamberlin on respecting politicians

Born in 1921, Ruth Chamberlin, an astute and kind woman, was eight years old while living in Waltham Massachusetts during the Great Depression.  Mrs. Chamberlin’s father lost his job as a station planner for the Shell Oil Company.  This demoralizing event made life tough for the Chamberlin family, causing them to have to live “primitively” in their small rented bungalow.  While Mrs. Chamberlin experienced many hardships throughout the Depression including grasping onto the chimney of a roof as a monstrous wave crashed over her and her friend, she still says that she only remembers good times.  Mrs. Chamberlin emphasizes how the Great Depression brought her family closer together through nights playing games, or huddling next to the radio listening to WBZ.  Mrs. Chamberlin struggled through the Depression, but transformed her struggles into heartwarming memories.

This is Andrew and Andres Interviewing Mrs. Chamberlin on May 7th, 2008

Q: Do you know how old you were in 1929?

Ruth: 8 years old.

Q: And where did you live during the depression years?

Ruth: In Waltham.

Q: So you’ve lived around here your whole life?

Ruth: Yes, all 87 years.

Q: What were your parent’s names and what did they do for work when you were small”

Ruth: My parent’s names were Harry and Helen Tidmen.

Q: And what did they work in?

Ruth: Well in those days women didn’t work, but my father was a station planner for the Shell Oil Company, cause automobiles where just getting really popular then and gas wasn’t around so they were building gas stations and he used to go around and survey these places to see if they were suitable, if there was enough traffic

Q: Did he keep his job during the depression?

Ruth: No.

Q: How many brothers and sister did you have?

Ruth: One sister.

Q: Older or younger than you?

Ruth: Younger.

Q: What was her name?

Ruth: Gloria.

Q: How was your mother role as a home maker impacted if at all by the Depression?

Ruth: Well, she was always frugal, but it became more so as the economy went down. The first part of it wasn’t so bad, but in about 1932 then it really took the toll on everybody cause dad held his job for a while and we were o.k. but a lot of things happened after he lost his job. It was demoralizing and terrible times, but not so bad.

Q: You kept your house right?

Ruth: Well we were renters.

Q: In an apartment or house?

Ruth: No, it was a small bungalow.

Q: And did you manage to keep it though out the Depression years?

Ruth: Yes we did. Sometimes it was questionable, but it’s a time I don’t think you guys can even think about, you can’t possibly relate to it because we were so primitive in so many ways as compared to what you have now.

Q: Well we’re in a recession now there might be another depression coming on.

Ruth: Well it’ll be a different kind, I don’t think you can ever compare it because of the conveniences of the things that we have developed in our life time which has been a privilege to see and be a part of, but its going to be different, I can tell you that. And I think it may be happening, I don’t know.

Q: So you said your home life changed, how did it change, was there less food available, did everything have to be cut back?

Ruth: It certainly did, when Dad lost his job, we were o.k. as I said for a little while, but it was hard to buy food hard to plan, mother became very creative in what she did. Everything was home made and we always had a meal on the table no matter what. It was a very demoralizing time because it’s very hard for a man to lose his job. And I went through a lay off in 1965 when the golden mile up here began to crumble, but it came back. It wasn’t so long but its demoralizing, and that what happened to him, but he did go to work for the WPA, are you familiar with that?

Q: Yes, what did he do for them?

Ruth: They made him a foreman on a road crew where they were cutting roads through and it was in conjunction with the CCC, that’s the younger group the civil conservation core and he worked with the WPA. I think one of the most touching things I can say about his experience is that it put him outdoors, which was a good thing and he was creative and he loved nature and he was always checking brooks to see if he could find water crests, so he enjoyed the outdoors and it was tough when it was storm. One night he came home and he was almost in tears and mother finally asked him what’s wrong and he said, “there’s this one man that came to put his time in with me and he only had potato peeling for his lunch,” and my mother said we’ll see that he eat tomorrow, and we did. I think she made him eggs or something, but I think it was the most touching thing and I think it brought it home to my sister and me. But I want you to know that it was a really warm time we didn’t have money enough to heat the house but there was a coal stove, a big black Maria and we would get enough coal to put in the stove so that the heat was in the kitchen and that’s where we spend our time, in the kitchen and around the table. And I talked to my sister because I wanted to make sure I got these things right and she said “I only can say that it was a very warm time” and I said, “Isn’t that funny that’s the same thing I said.” I don’t have bad memories of it I just have good memories of the things we did as a family, we did homework, and let’s see I was 11 by then so there was some homework, not a lot of it because we went mornings and afternoons to school, we came home for an hour at lunch, which was a long walk.

Q: How long was it, like a couple miles?

Ruth: It was, let’s see to grammar school was an hour there and back but you had to go home and grab lunch and come back before the bell rang, and then you’d be two hours more till 3: 30 or sometimes quarter of four if you didn’t behave yourself. But we always tried, discipline was different in those days, you just didn’t move, we weren’t really creative in those days. I guess some of them where, but it was a good time in that respect because the families were together and the neighborhood was together because almost everybody was affected, because you know, there were 8 million people unemployed at that time, which was really awful and the fact that we could eat and have warmth. Mother would heat irons, metal irons in the stove before we had an electric iron and she would heat those irons up and put them in the beds so we wouldn’t have to sleep in the cold, and this was interesting.

Q: So did your Dad’s WPA job pay as much as his old job, or much less?

Ruth: No, no, no, it was much less. He earned by the hour and it was very, very small, but it was enough to put some food on the table and we could stretch it.

Q: How long did you stay in school?

Ruth: I graduated high school in ’38 when I was 16

Q: Did everyone graduate high school at 16 then?

Ruth: No, I skipped a grade. I had what was called a double promotion and that was one of the worst things that could have happened because I missed out on basic long division and multiplication. I got half of each. You can’t do it with half of each, so that’s always been a sore subject with me.

Q: Can you recall what you ate as a kid; did you eat any spam?

Ruth: No, that came with the war; spam was very popular in the time of the war because you could stretch it, but none of that. It was the only thing that wasn’t home made but tuna, you could stretch it into a casserole.

Q: Did you jar your own fruits?

Ruth: Ya, mom used to can and I learned to do it with her, peaches and pears. I remember putting the fruit in the jars to make it pretty in the outside, they were gorgeous things piccalillis jellies jams that sort of things, but no everything was home made.

Q: When you went to the stores what sort of things did you buy and what did they cost?

Ruth: Penny candy for a penny and that was it.

Q: Those ere the good ol’ days.

Ruth: Well you know everything was relative. What seems like the good lo’ days, well they were good ol’ days but it’s in proportion. You stop and think what your paying for what you get know and a penny then was as big to us as a dollar would be to you right now. I don’t think that’s an exaggeration to the way things are, not with the sort of money it took me to buy a candy the other day, good grief.

Q: Did your family own a car?

Ruth: No Dad had a company car at that time, he did own a car actually I have it in these pictures. There’s a picture of the car we had in the 30’s early 30’s before 32. But he had to turn the company car in when he lost his job so it was public transportation, but there was a lot of public transportation so that you could get anywhere you needed to get, and it was a big thrill to go to Boston when you had enough money to do it. But it was a good time I really have to say that, I really have to emphasize that.

Q: Where the roads paved at all or was it just dirt roads?

Ruth: well, we lived on a dirt road but there were paved roads. When I was smaller than I guess it was I think I was 7 or 8 I still remember a plow coming in the winter with a horse, but you know it wasn’t as primitive as that. Waltham was a city so it did have paved roads and Waltham was paved.

Q: How much did it cost to take the bus?

Ruth: I think it was a nickel or a dime depending on where you where headed, but I think it was a dime.

Q: Can you remember what type of clothes you wore in comparison to today’s clothes?

Ruth: Actually not all that different. It was more conservative and more practical, I mean if you watch dancing with the stars then, o’ well, but, no. Speaking of that we did have these special sessions where we learned to dance and it was ballroom dancing.

Q: Actually I did that when I was like twelve.

Ruth: Well one day you’ll be grateful.

Q: That’s what my parents said I’m still waiting though.

Ruth: Listen when I was being courted, and that’s an old fashion word, we used to go to the Totem Pole Ballroom used to be over in Norembega which is where the Marriott is now on the Charles River and there was this big big ballroom and all the big bands came. It was Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey and Harry James and we went every Saturday night over there and it was the most wonderful thing.

Q: What did you do for fun as a child?

Ruth: Well, we played, we made up games to play. We were in the woods, Dad had created a camp, he placed some seats with a group of trees so we would have all kinds of things and hopscotch, jump rope, and rollerblading, that sort of thing. It was very simple just nothing very elaborate, because you couldn’t do it.

Q: So always outside?

Ruth: Yes, or if we played inside it would be card games or things like that. You know something that mother would make up because she was very creative, so yes it was a quiet time because the radio we had I guess the 3rd radio we had was a Filco radio one of those with the dome top and that was the fancy radio. My dad started us with the crystal radio and I could remember the antenna and it was gold and green and it was strung all the way around the room. And the day he got New York on that thing we cheered and we listened to the opera because he was a musician and he loved music and he played a lot. He played cello and piano. So music was important to him and he was thrilled to death when he got the opera in it. And that was the background for me with the music because he gave me the knowledge of how to listen.

Q: Did you become a musician?

Ruth: No, I didn’t in those days, there was no money to go to school and it wasn’t important to go to college, you were either brilliant or rich or you were a secretary, a stenographer or you could be a nurse, or you might be a teacher if you could get educated. There were sort of set jobs that women did, so that I started out as a stenographer and I had 5 girls under me and at the time that was 1939. But in ‘39 I went to work and I got 12 dollars a week and that was considered good pay for a beginner and when I left my job in 41 I got ‘35 dollars an hour. I was the highest paid girl in the whole place. And I’m sure that doesn’t seem real to you, but it was very real.

Q: Do you remember what the radio shows were like? Did your family all get together and listen to the shows?

Ruth: O ya, that was a big deal you listened to Amos and Andy and I think Fibis Maggie’s Closet was on at that time too, which was a really funny show at that time.

Q: And do remember how many channels there where at that day? 20:08

Ruth: Probably two if there were that many. There was WBZ was the first one, then WHDH was the second one. But it was enough to get some good broadcasts in it. There was a lot of entertainment kind of things and you used your imagination. Then there came a time not long after that that there were draws and if you heard a poky show or something like that then you could imagine it. And it had its advantages because you used your head and you used your imagination, I think it was good for you.

Q: Were you a sports fan?

Ruth: No, back then sports weren’t very popular. There were some, actually I don’t remember sports being a big thing.

Q: Did you listen to sports on the radio?

Ruth: No, sports weren’t that important, it was entertainment primarily, and always a news cast, somebody would be doing the news, it must seem like a very dull time to you, but we were enamored to have all of these wonderful things, you could hear from far away, it was o.k.

Q: Did they have movie theaters back then?

Ruth: Yes they did. You could go in for a quarter, and matinees were a dime, but we didn’t go very often because there wasn’t enough surplus money. But if we did go it was a real treat, and there would be big production shows, masses and masses of people and, you know very different. There was some spooky stuff too and that was just about when cartoons started, so you got two movies and a cartoon, and the coming attractions, but that’s later than the early 30’s that’s closer to the late 30’s and the 40’s that that started to be up, and of course all black and white.

Q: Who was your childhood hero?

Ruth: I don’t think I had a hero, probably my father, but no I can’t think, I did try to figure that out, a mentor perhaps, that would have been the neighbor that I had in back of me. One of the first jobs I had to earn money was to work for her when I was 11 or 12 and I was going to junior high school and I had afternoon sessions and she worked then, she and her husband worked, and there were no children, and I used to go over to her house, and this was every morning, and she would leave a list of things for me to do like do the sheets and clean the bathroom, wash the kitchen floor, vacuum, start our lunch which was dinner, a full dinner and I’d have to start it from scratch. That or make a chocolate cake or something like that. And it was a great thing for me and I really learned so much from her I learned how to cook, because on weekends, she would teach me something else she would want me to do. And for that I got the total sum total of 50 cents per week and half of that I gave to my parents because we needed all the nickels we could get and I was allowed to keep 25 cents of it, but I worked very hard, but I learned very much and she was a great counsel to me and a great mentor in my life as opposed to a hero or heroine.

Q: Can you elaborate on community life? you said it was much warmer and everyone knew their neighbors, can you talk more about that, like how is it different today than back then?

Ruth: Well, we did a lot of things together. The church was very important and the church community was very important. And there were about 12 of us that stayed pretty much together through out this time, I remember all the guys getting their licenses and I thought O halleluiah. It was very very important to anything you did, especially in the group that I had. We were together. My sister started school with a group of seven girls and they stayed together until 2 years ago when the first one died which was incredible, so they were together. But that wasn’t my kind of life, mine was boy, girl and we had parties, frugal to be sure, but it was fun and you could have fun with a very little bit.

Q: What chores or responsibilities did you have growing up and how did they change during the Depression?

Ms. Chamberlin: I don’t know that they did change. We were responsible for cleaning the dishes, we were responsible for cleaning the house every Saturday. If we were home when the laundry was to be done we would help with that and that was in the days when you hung everything out on the line even at 5 above zero and see them freeze solid. Oh yeah, then you had heat in the kitchen and there was a thing that looked like this it was wooden bars and you hung the frozen things over the wooden bars. I tell you nothing ever smelled so good as those things from out doors that had been dried. But you know, you bring them in and bend them over. But of course in the summer time they just flew in the wind, it was wonderful. There’s nothing better than picking something off the line, the smell is so good.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about how school was like back then?

Ms. Chamberlin: It was one classroom and let’s see, grammar school was one classroom with one teacher and occasionally another teacher would come in. Or the two groups would meet but it was always one grade per classroom. And no team teaching or anything like that. When we got to junior high school there was a gym teacher and we had separate rooms which was daunting to say the least when we first hit that. But there was a north high school, junior high and a south junior high in Waltham one side of the river and the other side of the river. Charles river runs right through it in case you don’t know Waltham at all. And that was when every subject had its own room. But it was strictly row by row. And you know you got to sit where you wanted to and you got your favorite teacher which I suppose you still do. But how else to describe it? It was pretty structured.

Q: Disciplined more than today?

Ms. Chamberlin: I think so, probably a different kind of disciplined. I really think, you got sent to the principal’s office, which thank goodness never happened to me, but you were in deep trouble. And if you stayed after school you got it from both home as well as here so no, I don’t think it’s a comparison I really don’t, having watched my three kids go through school here in Wayland I don’t think it can compare with what your doing here now because what I hear, I haven’t seen it or been a part of it for a long time. The last one graduated in ’73 so that’s a while back. School was very different, most things were very different. Does that answer you?

Q: Yeah, was your school separated by gender? Or was it guys and girls in the same classrooms?

Ms. Chamberlin: Guys and girls in the same classroom. Only except for gym when you got to junior high and senior high, and the gym was divided in half. The boys would go down one staircase and the girls would go down another. Heaven help if we see anybody in shorts. We wore gym bloomers, I mean they were bloomers. When the teacher wasn’t looking, we sort if hitched them up, but that was a real thrill to go down the stairs. And look and see the guys who were over there.

Q: Were any of your neighbors really affected by the Depression?

Ms. Chamberlin: I think everyone was affected by the Depression in some way or another. People who earned livings on their own didn’t have as much of a clientele, they weren’t paid as much. Everyone was affected, you couldn’t help it. The cost of food was exorbitant in those days, not today but in those days the cost of food was exorbitant. The economy really didn’t change until after World War II began, and we used to say isn’t it a shame that to get out if this business we’re in now we have to have a war to bring the economy back and that’s really what helped us recover, isn’t that something.

Q: What was your father’s first steady job after the Depression?

Ms. Chamberlin: Well he stayed with the WPA for quite a while. And from them he was able to get some training which was completely apart from what he did, but in order to find just basic work he went back to trade school and learned how to be, well he was called a mechanic, but he worked in a factory before he worked at what is now known as the Howard Clock Products. So he became a machinist to make small parts and that sort of thing. And he hated every bit of it, he liked the people but he hated it because it was dirty and smelly and oily because of all the stuff but his solace was in his piano and in his cello when he got home, and he could work it off that way. But he did work steadily until he had to retire.

Q: You said that your church was a really big part of your community. Did you have a lot of faith when you were a young person? And how did your faith help you during the Depression?

Ms. Chamberlin: Well I think it was the support of the people. And the support of my friends who were going through much the same thing. Some were better off than others, but we were all going through it. And everyone had to be very careful with what they spent because it was very hard to get any money, it’s a situation, it’s almost impossible to describe, when you don’t have enough money to heat a house and you go, you take a pail, and you go to the nearest place and you walk to get it, and have it filled with coal and get it home. And try to think, how long can I make it last in the stove in order to eat, in order to heat the kitchen, to keep that one room warm. It sounds very primitive, and maybe it was, but we thought we were very well off as opposed to some people who did not have a roof over their head or not any clothes on their back, and certainly like the guy with the potato peelings for his lunch, no food to eat. So we did alright. Mom and dad were very creative and I think that’s what happened to everybody, they got creative. I hope we don’t go though this again, you can’t imagine, you can’t pay the electric bill. Heavens when I stop and think of the electric bills.

Q: You were talking about the potato peelings guy; do you have any other recollections of any other people who were in those tough circumstances too?

Ms. Chamberlin: Not that tough, because dad saw the tougher ones, we were shielded. In those days young people, especially girls were shielded from the realities of life. I was married before I was ever allowed to go to a funeral because dad didn’t want me to have to cope with this kind of thing. Which I’m not sure was the best service in the world but no, we were shielded and protected and that was their goal, because with two girls, mother always felt that we really needed to be protected.

Q: How do you recall Franklin Roosevelt?

Ms. Chamberlin: Well it’s an interesting thing, my mother used to say there was no good Democrat, it was a strictly Republican family, and we only voted republican, and those were the only good people in the country. But what I do say is that we were taught respect for the people in authority. Like him or not, like his politics or not, you respected him, not like you can hear now with people like Jay Leno talking about Bush the way he is, and the political candidates, they badmouth them all the time, how can you learn to respect the authority of the office? You don’t have to like what he does, and you may not approve of it, but you’ve got to respect it. I think it’s one of the biggest things that’s happened in this world, that respect is not a part of our lives. It’s awful to listen to, I get to the place where I have to turn off the television because I can’t stand it because I think that poor man, so he didn’t do a very good job, and he’s not very smart, but he deserves your respect for taking it on. And I don’t know who in the world would want to be president of this country, or governor, or mayor, or selectman for what you go through.

Q: Do you remember the first lady Eleanor Roosevelt at all?

Ms. Chamberlin: Well she wasn’t a dominant figure in the days that he was the president. You didn’t really know her until she became a very important woman in doing some very important things for women, and for the world. That would have been later on, in the ‘40s, it would have had to have been in the ‘40s and into the ‘50s. But as being the wife of the president, I don’t remember that being a dominant thing. Because men prevailed. Women were not heard of very much, I mean we did have the vote, but not until I was 22 was I able to vote.

Q: 22 was the voting age back then?

Ms. Chamberlin: It was 21, but I didn’t get registered until I was 22, which was right after I was married.

Q: Are you familiar with Hoovervilles?

Ms. Chamberlin: I don’t know what a Hooverville is, I questioned that.

Q: It’s when people lost their jobs, they would cluster, and search for jobs.

Ms. Chamberlin: There was some of that I think, but I never heard it called a hooverville. Wasn’t Hoover president before Roosevelt? That must have been something he created, but I must have been 11 or so and I was much involved with school and the church and everything else so. And newscasts, and the media was not very important in those days, not like they are now. You can’t listen to them now without this one was killed, that one was killed, someone shot somebody, the media takes over now.

Q: You said your dad worked for the WPA, do you think the CCC or AAA, do you think those were good programs?

Ms. Chamberlin: Yes I do because they gave people occupations. It was creative, and it was a way to get a solution. And I think it was in the New Deal that said sort of like take a chance, but do something. You know if there was some kind of suggestion or some kind of program, do it, try it, and see if it would work. And it created, I think for the young people the CCC was a great thing because it helped with our conservation a great deal as we went through our lives.

Q: Did your mother think they were good ideas, or innovations?

Ms. Chamberlin: She thought that they were necessary, not necessarily good. But necessary in order to get through it.

Q: Would you say that Franklin Roosevelt did a good job with the New Deal? Do you think he ran the country well during the Depression?

Ms. Chamberlin: I think so, I think so, I think he did the best he could do with what he had to do, and I think we all benefited from it because certainly there was some creative things that happened.

Q: Were any of your family or friends part of new deal programs? I know your father was part of the WPA?

Ms. Chamberlin: That’s the only thing I can think of that would have any relation to him. I don’t remember New Deal programs unless perhaps his schooling, but that’s only a vague memory with me

Q: Do you remember any of the big constructions of that time? Because back then the Golden Gate Bridge, the Empire State Building, all those were being built up, do you remember those?

Ms. Chamberlin: Well what do you have for years on that?

Q: Well they were built during the ‘30s, around there.

Ms. Chamberlin: Well I knew they were there, but I don’t think I was particularly inspired by them. I had no idea what a tall building was like. The closest I’d seen was Boston and there were no tall buildings in Boston at that point, but they did come along after a while. But I don’t really remember them per se because during the Depression days, we were lucky if we got a newspaper, and that was a penny apiece, but that was a luxury, and magazines, no. We just didn’t have the contact or media to look at, and that’s how you’d head about it. I guess when we got to junior high and senior high we learned more about those things. But we were detached because we had no idea what it was like, what it looked like, and it wasn’t real, and sometimes things have to be real in order to experience them.

Q: So there wasn’t much traveling, you didn’t travel to New York or those places?

Ms. Chamberlin: There was no money. There was no money, first time I went to New York was my senior year in high school. So that would have been ’38, ’37 or ’38. And I had a cousin who came to visit, and she took me to New York for three days. And I just walked around just like you see in the cartoons, oh my, you think they’re gonna fall. I couldn’t conceive of this stuff, and I did go to the top of the Empire State Building, I remember that, but that was the only time it got real for me.

Q: Do you remember the World’s Fair in New York?

Ms. Chamberlin: I knew about it, the neighbor I told you about I worked for went to it, and brought back all kinds of pictures and I was really impressed by what she had, but it was way beyond what I could imagine. Some of the exhibitions she photographed and everything. Oh my, I thought that was the most wonderful thing. They went down to New York in their Ford coupe, and it took them a whole day to get there.

Q: From Boston to New York?

Ms. Chamberlin: Yeah, little Ford coupe, put put put put put.

Q: Do you recall the rise of Hitler in Germany and Japanese military advances during the depression?

Ms. Chamberlin: Yes I do, but it was in ’37 that it really began to take effect, and that was when you began to hear more and more about it. And I remember being a cocky senior in high school saying that war was inevitable, I don’t remember whether I had heard that or not, but I was convinced that it was going to happen, and of course it did.

Q: The United States joining the war, or just the war in general?

Ms. Chamberlin: The war in general to start with, because we never thought it would happen to us personally. I remember, this is not part of the Depression, but I remember listening on December the 7th of ’41, Pearl Harbor, I remember hearing that. And that was after I had been working for a couple of years, and I was able to buy my first small radio. I had it in my bedroom, I’ll never forget it. But there are things in life you never forget.

Q: Did you work in an ammunitions factory or anything during the war?

Ms. Chamberlin: Well I worked in the Waltham Watch Factory. And that’s where I got my first career, it’s also where I met my husband who was in the navy. And he used to have to come in to inspect watches and clocks for the navy, and made sure that they met the naval criteria… That was a big deal; they got more girls to work at that place after they found that out. That was where I made $35 a week, and I was the top girl of the place. But I worked in the custom parts department which was to supply parts to different things that were made there, and there were a lot of instruments made there at that time. A lot of clocks, certainly not the grandfather clocks that you see from there. But I remember having to wear, as a test watch, the first watch that was the size of a dime, it was a ladies watch, and you could put it on a dime, and you could see the dime around it. I wish I, I don’t think I still have it, that was a big deal.

Q: Do you think we’re still affected by the great depression today?

Ms. Chamberlin: I don’t think anyone but people my age have any idea what it was like. It probably, well you tell me. When you think about the Depression, do you have any feeling for it?  Could you understand it? Could you relate to 8 million people being out of work? And no money to buy anything? Not even to heat your place? I mean, that’s why I don’t see how it can effect now. Maybe if it had been 20 or 30 years ago it could have some influence, but I can’t see there’d be any influence now, except for goodness sake be cautious. And think.

Q: How would you say kids today are different than kids in the Depression?

Ms. Chamberlin: Way more sophisticated, we were way more innocent. We were really innocent people, for the most part, I don’t remember some of the things, the language, we had no computers, no pods, no television. Can you imagine life with no television? Or a phone in your hand as you drive the car, I hope not. But can you imagine it? That’s why I don’t see how it can be influenced because even your father and mother didn’t live through this. I don’t know that they were the product of it either. Because my kids, my oldest boy would have been 59 this year, which seems impossible to me.  I don’t see how the Depression could influence, unless by studying the history of it, it can become real, but I, I don’t see how it could. I think a way to compare it is when you hear some of these disasters overseas, with the storms, like this cyclone that wipes out 50,000 people, and you see the devastation after that. Can you relate to that when you see the pictures? I don’t think so. Or with Katrina, I think you need to see it and experience it.

Q: So you think kids now a days were nothing similar to kids back in those days?

Ms. Chamberlin: No I don’t think so, emotionally probably. Because you guys grew up, and I grew up, and emotions don’t go away, emotions are much the same kind of thing. At least I think so. I watched my three kids go through the growing up period, through their teen years. You grow emotionally, but many other ways, it’s a different world. I mean, our junior prom was in the high school gym, we had punch and cookies, there was no dinner, we did have fancy clothes. We had a dress, a long dress, that was the big deal. But the guys had their best suit, usually a navy blue suit or a navy blue blazer and white pants, and white bucks if you could afford them.

Other Interviews