This past week my daughter and I watched a movie together called Kit Kittredge. The movie itself was fine: good triumphs over evil, as it should in a movie for a 7-year-old. It takes place during the Depression in the 1930’s, and the people in the film experience loss and lowered economic status. There were some underlying, Hollywoodish type themes – for example, is Robin Hood a good guy? Is it OK to rob from the rich and give it to the poor? (the film seemed to imply yes, and I would say no – rich people should give charity, not be the victims of theft). The mother of the main character, a girl named Kit, decides to take in boarders in order to be able to keep their house. Somehow “selling eggs” becomes symbolic of stooping low, and near the end of the film the mother does acquire some chickens so they can sell eggs as well, which Kit is not happy about (but she accepts).
What bothered me in particular about this was that my paternal grandfather sold eggs in the Depression! That was how he supported his family of seven (five children). He would venture out to the egg farms in New Jersey and bring them back to Brooklyn to sell. My father said at some point he helped with the accounting; at the end of each month, my grandfather would have no money left and need to start a new. There was never any savings, but at least they had food to eat.
What was your family doing in the 1930’s?