Life in the Beardstown ‘Vanity Beauty Shop’ during the Great Depression
In 1929, with the Depression going full swing, my mother used her “Mother’s Pension” given to her from the railroad to go to Beauty school in Quincy. While mom was in school, she stayed in Quincy during the week with friends, and then came home during the weekends.
Granpa Riley fixed our house up so Mom could have her Beauty Shop on the front porch, which he glassed in. We had no running water, no bathroom, and no electricity, but the electricity was put in for the shop. She called it, “Vanity Beauty Shop.”
People had none, or very little, money for going to beauty shops. Ladies, however, always found a way. Lots of people were on Relief. It was a program put to work by President Roosevelt to help feed people. Some ladies would use some of their food for money to get their hair fixed. I remember especially the big two-pound cans of grape jelly they would trade my mom. We loved it, and I still do to this day.