Deb's Lake Conroe Real Estate & Stuff! : THE GREAT DEPRESSION (and just what was so great about it)?

THE GREAT DEPRESSION (and just what was so great about it)?

I'm so glad I have my Active Rain friends and co-workers surrounding me. These times they are a hurtin'. I believe that a rose displays as much beauty on a cloudy day as it does on a sunny day. It is all in how you look at the rose. Of course, there's the famous saying, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" and Shakespeare knew his writing. That's about all he knew but hey...we are not all good at everything.

I flashed back to one of the stories that meant so many giggles when my mom use to tell it to me and I decided to share it with you today.

THE GREAT DEPRESSION (and just what was so great about it)? 

The Great Depression was an economic slump in North America, Europe, and other industrialized areas of the world that began in 1929 and lasted until about 1939. It was the longest and most severe depression ever experienced by the industrialized Western world.

Up until 1931 my Grandfather and his family consisted of Grandmother and 8 children living in Alice Texas. My family owned 400 acres, a home and farming equipment when the Great Depression hit. My Grandfather was unable to pay his balance to the bank before foreclosure to the tune of $300.00. Yep, that's it. $300.00. He could have paid all monies owed back if the bank had allowed him to harvest on time. But, they said, "sorry, gotta go." So, off they went.LeavingLILASPRINGS_ABT1928.jpg picture by dabydoll

They loaded the 1920 Model T Ford converted to a truck with all their personal belongings that would fit and 8 (eight) children. My mother being the youngest at age 3 had a mouth that never stopped!

What a chatter box.

Just like me. The traveling was slow and painful of course but they were headed up north to find work in factories and decided to pick cotton, fruit, and anything else they could do along their way.



They experienced flat tire after flat tire, hunger, and were spending the night on the side of the roads.


 thegreatd4.jpg picture by dabydollThey finally came to the Red River to cross from Texas to the state of Oklahoma. Grandaddy was excited because the fields were full of work for them on the other side. He sat down with the children and explained what was about to happen.

The Red River had a toll bridge. Each vehicle that passed had to pay 10 cents per person to cross. "whew"

For them that was almost all he had. He explained to the children that they simply didn't have enough money to cross the bridge if they didn't hide and be very, very quiet. He arranged a tarp that covered all of the children in the back with their belongings and Grandaddy and Grandmother sat proudly in the front of the Model T.



76db.jpg Great Depression image by before2006

All children were settled and they began their journey across the Red River.

MOTHERS PERSPECTIVE: It was so hot. I could feel the sun beating on the tarp and smell something that wasn't so good and I just wanted out of there. I had to go potty and I was thirsty. I waited and I waited and I was certain it had to be over...

GRANDPARENTS PERSPECTIVE: We were in a start and stop line of cars. We finally got there. The man asked us how many and we answered TWO (2). He said, "that will be 20 cents please."


At that moment, my little mother threw the tarp back and screamed, "Daddy, are we there yet?"

Needless to say, the man at the toll bridge scratched his neck looking puzzled then asked...."and, how many children do you have back there?"

A full dollar later they were in Oklahoma. They were ready to build their future in the Great Depression. They had no money but they had love and children and a great hope for survival.

I really hope this brought a smile to your face and hope to your heart and an understanding of just how blessed we are. We are still the greatest Nation in this world and our futures are what we make them.


After thought: The land my grandparents gave up in Alice Texas is now an active part of the KING RANCH banner2.jpg King Ranch Banner image by Bluelightning_03known for its abundance of oil. The bankers knew this in the beginning and this may be why they took the land.ivegotasilverspoon.jpg Silver Spoon image by NIN_Crow_Floyd

I love my family and my life and I wouldn't change it for all the oil in Texas.

I will be bringing more of their past if you enjoyed this. Thanks for reading.

No silver spoon in my mouth! Save your change...

Later in the rain~Deb


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Comment balloon 35 commentsDeb Brooks • February 20 2009 10:18PM


Deb, my parents and grandparents passed on a lot of amazing depression stories.  It would have been "great" had it not happened, but they were better people for having lived through it.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Deb, I absolutely love this story! As bad as it gets, family and love is, in the end, what matters most, what we cherish, and what we remember. Thank you for sharing this story, and keep writing, you're good at it!


Posted by Debi Boucher, "Realtor Showcase" - Real Estate Photography/Virtual Tours ( Real Estate Showcase Photography) over 10 years ago

My Dad just told me about riding the rails.

Posted by Marchel Peterson, Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) over 10 years ago

Deb, I like your recollections of the stories of the Depression. All I know is it raised a group of VERY frugal people later in their lives. They definitely remembered that experience. Unemployment was so high too.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 10 years ago

Patricia, we must remember how good we have it even if it's not as good as we want it to be!

Debi, thank you so much. It was one of my most cherished stories told by my mom.

Marchy, I would like to hear the story myself. It's time we all grasped what we have in this time. Looking back is a good way to appreciate our time now.

Thanks you guys, Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 10 years ago

Deb,  That's a great story and I have some from my family too.  Maybe I will write them too. Hard times can bring some good times also, we must remember that.

Posted by Ricki Eichler McCallum, Broker,GRI,ABR, e-Pro, TAHS (CastNet Realty) over 10 years ago

Gary, you're not kidding...depression_f.jpg the great depression image by projeccttt Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 10 years ago

Ricki, there are so many stories out there. We are really blessed with what we have today and I don't ever want to forget that. Our attitudes were that of "EXCESS" and we should learn to be happy with the little things. I'm trying. Mom would want me to. Tell your stories my friend. I would love that.

Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 10 years ago

Deb - That was a heratwarmig story. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Carol Culkin, Overland Park (Reece & Nichols) over 10 years ago

 hi Deb, wow that kind of puts things in perspective. I know so many people from so many walks of life going thru such difficult times right now. So much has changed in the past 12 months.

 One thing I've learned is that hard times make us appreciate the important things in life even more. Nite {hug}.

Posted by marti garaughty, a highly caffeinated creative type... ( over 10 years ago

Hi Deb!  You know, I didn't eve get the true meaning of your post--I just enjoyed the heck out of the STORY!  You had me on the edge of my seat--wondering if all was going to be well under that tarp!  Isn't it funny how your mom and your grandparents remembered the story and they still managed a smile or even a good chuckle about it later on--I'm sure AFTER the depression!  OH, Yea--the GREAT depression!  I am hoping that it doesn't get any worse in '09, aren't you?

Hey, you keep sharing those stories--maybe I just LOVE history but, your stories are very captivating.  I'll bet your children love your story telling, don't they?

Debe in Charlotte


Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 10 years ago

Howdy there Deb, my friend

Folk's these day's just don't know, what real hradship is. The bank's back then, did a lot of under handed things to steal land from hard working folk's. Thank you for sharing, your family's story with all of us.

God Bless America

Posted by Dale Baker, New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information (Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections) over 10 years ago

Hi Deb, Great story!  My father was born in 1929, and has shared many stories with me of how he, along with his 3 brothers, went without food on many occasions.  Some days, all he had to eat was a few apricots he picked off a neighbor's tree.  I can't imagine what life must have been like for him.  We should all be so thankful that we are able to eat more than just potatoes every day!   

Posted by Melinda (Mel) Peterson, Curator of Happy Endings (Real Estate Cafe LLC) over 10 years ago

Carol, I'm glad you enjoyed it. If you had known my mother you would have loved her. Everyone did.

marti, it really does put things in perspective doesn't it? We may see our lives grow more and more difficult but I don't ever see us getting to that point. Let's hope things begin to change for the better in the next 12 months. Hugs right back to you.

Debe, My point of the story is simply that the hardships now are not even close to what they were back then. We need to count our blessings and know just how lucky we are. I'm glad you enjoy my stories. My mother was telling me these up until five years ago when I lost her. I hope to get all the stories that are still in my memory banks in black and white for my generations to come. This is part of the reason I started Diary of a Realtor. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Dale, You got the true meaning right off the bat my friend! I'm not sure that the banks aren't going in the very same direction as we speak. Kinda scary!

Thanks to you all. Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 10 years ago

Melinda, my mom called the meal of beans, fried potatoes and corn bread the "depression" meal. It was cheap and filling. I still like it. It is kind of a "comfort" food. I can't imagine ever having to go hungry. That is one thing I have been blessed with not having to experience. Thanks for commenting.

Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 10 years ago

We all have our "stories" of our family origins.  Great story.  Americana at it's best. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Deb, what a story you have and passed down from your mom as a child. Those stories are what cement us together. As bad as it was, folks still worked and had comfort food.They came out of it and we will too. Nah, nothing great about the depression except the values our parents and grandparents imparted to us.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 10 years ago

Deb: Amazing story! You are so right...there was nothing 'great' about it, but as so many of the other commenters have noted, it sure helped shape the "Greatest Generation."

Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Kim Southern- "Sold" with Southern Hospitality, Greetings from the North Georgia Mountains! (Century 21 In the Mountains) over 10 years ago

Your story did bring a smile to my face.  Are we passing along the stories from our past to our children like our parents and grandparents did?  I'm afraid we are not and so much family history is being lost.

Posted by Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist (Kingsbridge Realty, Inc) over 10 years ago

It really is amazing to think about what people had to go through back then. Although the circumstances are different there are a lot of folks who feel the same way right now.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 10 years ago

Melinda, My mom was born in 1928 so our parents were of the same era. What a saver she was. I could learn a lot from that.

Lenn, I know I have tons of them. I plan to try and get them written for my grandchildren. I'm glad you stopped by to read it. Thanks Lenn.

Missy, You're right about passing down the values. Our children are only aware of abundance. At least for now.

Kim, I hope our future generations do not have to experience anything like this.

Thanks for stopping by. Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 10 years ago

Deb, I really enjoyed it - keep these stories coming!

It really makes you count your blessings, doesn't it?  My parents had a 2 bedroom farmhouse in S Dakota, no electricity and a double outhouse - a valuable upgrade for a family with 9 children.

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (ERA - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) over 10 years ago

Aww what a cute story.  It appears they made out OK as you're here to tell the story.  I hope this depression doesn't last 10 years.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) over 10 years ago

My parents and grandparents can share stories much the same. Back then people did not give up just continued to look forward and work hard. If it were not for them we would not be able to enjoy what we have today. We have much to be thankful for.

Posted by Carl Winters over 10 years ago

Virginia, It certainly does make me count my blessings. One of, if not the biggest, blessing was my mother herself. She was something else and I loved her stories. I have many yet to write.

Georgina, me too. If it lasts that long I could be dead before it's over. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Carl and Ceil, aren't the stories wonderful? I can still remember mom saying how she walked two miles to school...or was it three? Anyway, I know we have it much better today. I admire our forefathers for the fortitude and endurance they showed us all.

Thank you all~Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 10 years ago


What a captivating story....sounds like you are blessed in life with a wonderful family.  Families like yours is what makes our country what it is....we times get tough we just keep goin...


Posted by Lori Churchill Cofer, Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA (Beasley Realty) over 10 years ago

Bring it, Deb!  I'd love to hear more stories of your past, our collective past.  Maybe a series?  :)

Posted by Randy Hooker, Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek (Dreamcatcher Realty / Greater Phoenix Area) over 10 years ago

Deb, what great stories and photos. Thanks for the opportunity to get to know you better.

Posted by Robin Scott, Broker, CRS, ABR, SRS, REALTOR® - Austin Texas (Robin Scott, REALTOR®) over 10 years ago

Deb - I really enjoyed reading this story.  I think that it is really cool that you know your family's history this well.  Keep 'em coming. 

Posted by Erik Hitzelberger, Louisville - Middletown Real Estate (RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes) over 10 years ago

Deb -- Wonderful story.  I really like the old stories of whatever era.  I hope you will write some more of your family history.  Your story reminded me of a couple that my mother told - I may try and write those also.

Posted by Alexsandra Stewart, Broker - Portland Oregon Real Estate (Remax equity group) over 10 years ago

I kept getting sidetracked by the contest lol and have been here three time in the past two days...oh, I am again.

The great depression and any depression teaches us wonderful learning lessons. My parents lived through that time so of course I heard the stories....many stories...going to school and then walking 3 miles to Japanese school after. Poor poor poor. So now I have to keep going to moms (when she's not there) to throw away the many broken toasters and hair dryers....because it can't go to waste. What she will make out of them I could not figure...but there sure were some antique stuff!

Bottom is what was worth everything in the world. We have that...and then some :)

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 10 years ago

Wow,what a great story Deb! Your mom was so cute and it really does put things in perspective from where were then to where we are now....

Posted by Cristal Drake, Realtor - Fullerton Real Estate (Prudential California Realty) over 10 years ago

What a great story for you and your family to have shared with us. I think we need more stories like this to get us through the times we are in now. People need to realize that our grandparents had it a lot worse, but if we don't pay attention we could be back there again.

Your families love and sense of humor clearly got them through the tough times, despite not having money, the love never left.

Todd Clark, Helping Families Home -

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 10 years ago

Deb - It's wonderful that we have a point from which we can draw some sort of understanding throughout our history.  Yes, that generation had it much worse.  Over Thanksgiving, I had a chance to read my Aunt's memoirs as a child when she grew up in The Great Depression.  It was eye-opening for sure.  We'll get through this, hell or high water.

Posted by Jason Sardi, Your Agent for Life (Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina) over 10 years ago

Hi Deb-My parents lived thru the Great Depression and it made them more thankful and appreciate the value of a dollar and they carried those lessons with them all thruout their lifetime.  Wonderful and heart warming post of the value of family and the struggles they overcame. Have a great week. :-)

Posted by Sharon Lee, Retired and loving life (Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance) over 10 years ago