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The Great Depression: Life on the Farm


Ralph's Slingshot

"My goodness, it looks like you've been crying. Fighting over a toy? You have so many. How could that be a big deal?"

"Didn't you ever fight with your brothers and sisters, Grandma?"

"Did the stories I've told you make us sound like a bunch of Goody Goody Two Shoes? Well, we were never called that! My mother used to call me "Dottie Peaches", which always caused my brothers and sisters to start chanting "Dumpy, Doll, Precious, Doll Heart, Goofy"! Isn't that a silly list of names? I heard it so often that I still remember it. I know they thought I was a bit of a pest. Since I was the youngest, I always wanted to tag along.

Once, my brother made me cry. I do remember that. He was playing with his slingshot and ... slingshot? You don't know what that is? That was a toy we made for ourselves, cut from the branch of a tree where it divided into a shape of the letter Y. Then we cut open a strong rubber band and tied the ends to the two top points. That made it a slingshot. For ammunition, you took a piece of paper and chewed it in your mouth to form a wet ball. That was called a spitball. When you held that at the back of the rubber band and pulled it tight; that spitball really went flying!

One day, my brother aimed his sling shot at me, and that spitball hit me right on the cheek. It really hurt and I started to run into the house. My brother told me he was sorry and hadn't meant to hit me. He never did it again.

My mother did something really funny once. I shared a bedroom with one of my sisters. I like to keep everything very neat, but my sister was always leaving her clothes scattered all over the room. I complained to my Mom and she asked me to do her a big favor. Instead of picking up after my sister, I was to leave everything just where my sister dropped it for a few days. Then one morning, we were outside playing when someone raised the window of our bedroom. There was Mom, tossing all those clothes out the window. They scattered all over the yard! My sister ran around picking them up, carried them up to our room, and put them all away where they belonged. From then on, she was very neat. Well, once in a while she would forget. Wasn't that clever of our Mom?

Invented in 1935
The Game of Monopoly!

There were times I got in trouble, too. One day we were playing Monopoly and I had just purchased a valuable piece of property. One of the others managed to take it away from me. I was so mad that I was banging my fist on the table. My mother overheard and said: "Dottie, you will have to go to your room until you can put a big smile on your face and be a happy part of the family."  That's what we used to have to do when we got into trouble. I really wanted to get back to the game, so I came right back down with a smile on my face reaching from ear to ear! Everyone laughed and welcomed me back.

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