Growing Up in the First Great Depression (209)

Janaia’s mother Rowena grew up in a blue collar family during the 1930s. The kids helped their mom in her own pie delivery business while their dad did construction odd jobs. In this cash-only society, they lived on what they could pay for. She recalls losing her only pair of shoes and envying a school girl’s daily peanut butter-and-jam sandwich. But she didn’t feel deprived: people generously gave groceries and hand-me-down clothes. Kids entertained themselves with outdoor games, and later, from adventures emanating from the home-built radio. Her frugality, self-reliant attitude and do-it-yourself skills went on to enrich the family Janaia grew up in. Episode 209.

Watch videoAudio | iTunes | Review: Sustainability Lessons from the Great Depression | Janaia’s journal: Octogenarian Recalls The First Great Depression


  1. Beautiful lady, great information. Thanks for this video.

  2. Cindy Blackshear says:

    Hi Janaia,
    My Mother would be the same age as your Mom but she’s been gone for years now. We heard some of her stories before she passed and your Mom’s really took me back! So many times I wish my Mother were still here to help me re-learn all those skills that I actually did have but have lost…canning, crocheting, etc. Thank you for such a lovely piece!

  3. Jennifiir-Lourre says:

    And Ed A.? In appreciation of what you also add:)

  4. Jennifiir-Lourre says:

    Chuckling. It was a delight to meet your mother Rowena! And kept sensing a poignant smile upon my face – these were simple yet invaluable recollections to share with all of us. Personal past experience(s) makes impending change seem much more doable – even welcome. Much to mull over here with respect to self-sufficiency – food, clothing, entertainment, community. Housing. Will surely watch this again…and pass it on to others as well. It reminds me that I look forward to being settled – and able to contribute via transcription of treasures such as this conversation. Thank you Rowena, Janaia, and Robyn.

  5. Ed Adamthwaite says:

    Hi Janaia,
    It was great to see your mom and hear of her experiences with growing up in harder times. Such level headed pragmatism is hard to find these days. It mirrored the tales that my mother and grandmother told my siblings and me. Even in my younger years down here in Aus most people in the ‘burbs had a veggie patch, fruit trees and chickens in their back yard. Hand me downs were a common thing. We used to play in the local creek and ranged far along its banks. Now the creeks are barrelled and out of bounds.
    Will we go back to that? Most likely a very modified version of it. We’ll have to tear up a lot of concrete and bitumen to resurrect land for growing food. Management of waterways in a manner that brings them back to health will be essential. More information from people like your mother should be gathered and stored to educate people in preparation for the impending hard times.
    Thank you for keeping the candle alight.

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