interviewed my great-grandmother, May Artz, for this project on the great
depression. She was born on March 26, 1916. She is currently 84 years of age and
lives in Brookhaven retirement home in Brookville, Ohio. She grew up in
Springfield, Ohio during which she attended schooling through the sixth grade.
She worked as a house wife all her life taking care of her thirteen children.
While living at home she doesn't remember much about the roarin' 20's, but
she does have some vivid memories of the depression in which she endured. Her
mother died of scarlet fever when she was only a young girl, but her father
remarried before she was out of the house. Her stepmother would hire her out as
help for people to assist with the financial aspect of the families needs. One
of these jobs was for a man by the name of Floy Artz. He was a farmer and needed
help on the farm, so May was hired as assistance. They grew together and were
married. He was quite a bit older then her, but they were truly in love.
Like I mentioned earlier they had thirteen children. The biggest reason for
having this many kids was they were needed as workers on the farm because they
couldn't afford to hire help. She told me that they used to buy flour in big
burlap bags since the family was so large. They couldn't afford to but cloth for
making clothes or to go to the store and buy some. With a lot a creativity she
made clothes out of the empty flour bags. The burlap made durable cloth and it
On a nice day in the fall one of their daughters was starting
school. She wanted to say good-bye to her father, so she went to the barn to
find him. She ended up getting kicked in the head by a horse and died later that
day. She said, "the family was sad, but it only made that much stronger and
closer." She spoke of people coming closer together and learning to appreciate
things a lot more.
Living on a farm was an advantage because they could
produce their own food and milk, so at least they wouldn't starve. She said they
had a hard time selling the crop though because no one could afford it or they
were farmers also and didn't need food. This made it hard to raise money. They
had to wait for hours in lines to get shoes, undergarments, and any other
clothing they could get their hands on.
Floy died at the age of ninety-six
from basically old age. He suffered a broken hip and other not life threatening
injuries that accumulated to eventually lead to his death. She made sure to get
across to me that he was a very sturdy and intelligent man that treated her, as
well as her children very well. She continued to raise the kids on her own until
they each eventually went their separate ways.
In conclusion, I would like
to say that I believe if we had a depression even on a lesser scale than the
Great Depression we would horribly fail the test of will and survival. We rely
way to much on luxuries and other technology that most people have become
dependent on machines. If a major depression people wouldn't know how to act or
survive. I think the results would be much more devastating then even the last
depression. Hard work and the ability to be self-reliant is almost an extinct
breed of people which should scare everyone to realize we depend way to much on
machines that and some businesses, and we are going to get burned when they
fail. I feel a sort of disgust almost about the today's lifestyle when the
people of the depression had it awful; yet, they almost never complained and
were grateful for what they had.