Growing up in the Vanity Beauty Shop during the Great Depression
My dad worked on the railroad, and was transferred to Burlington, Iowa on the bridge gang. So Mom and all six of us kids had to move from Beardstown to Burlington. We were there about a year when my dad drowned. He was working on top of the railroad bridge when his safety belt broke, letting him fall about 300 feet into the Mississippi River. He tried to swim but didn’t make it, so we all had to move back to Beardstown. Luckily my dad had bought our house that grandpa had built; so home it was. The railroad fixed it so mom only got enough money to go to beauty school and each child got enough to go to school (very little).
This was 1929, and the Depression was in full swing. Mom had no job and no schooling past Freshman year in high school. She was born in 1900.
I remember the Depression even though I was only 5 years old. Mom started her beauty shop ,but people had very little money for things like hair appointments. If ladies wanted a perm, or just to get fixed up, they would find a way. With the Depression here, most folks were on relief. We were not, as Mom had enough customers to keep us going. But I know we ate a lot of relief food like two-pound cans of grape jelly that some ladies paid mom with for hair appointments instead of money. Mom took food for pay. It helped us and others too.