We had little in those days and got along with minimum needs, and were reasonably contented. My thinking is today, looking at the past and today, that the more one amasses, the more one can lose his freedom--that one can become obsessed with fear that he may lose what he has, or may not get what he wants.
In 1936, I was graduated from Rossville High School in Rossville, Indiana. And, at the time of my Dad's death was about ready to begin a year's commitment in the CCC--the Civilian Conservation Corps. Millions of people were out of work following the stock market crash on "Black Thursday," October 24th of 1929, and during the Great Depression that lasted until we entered World War II in 1941.
Civilian Conservation Corps
The Civilian Conservation Corps, was one of President Franklin Roosevelt's projects, and was signed into law on March 31, 1933. It was a depression era public works project, controlled by the army, and the members lived in camps like soldiers. Each camp had a commanding officer, a mess hall, laundry, and tool house. Many camps had a recreation hall and a canteen.
Our CCC commander was a Captain Love, who claimed to have been a college roommate of Thomas Dewey. Dewey was the one-time Governor of New York. They had attended the University of Michigan. Captain Love told us that Thomas Dewey could have been an opera singer if he had not gone into law and politics Dewey also ran for president twice and was defeated, by Franklin D. Roosevelt, and then Harry Truman.
The Corps was supposed to promote environmental conservation while getting young, unemployed men off the streets. The recruits did things like planting trees, building wildlife shelters, stocking rivers and lakes with fish, and clearing beaches and campgrounds. The CCC housed the corpsmen in tents and barracks, gave them three meals a day, and paid them a small salary. The enrollment period was for six months, and each recruit could re-enlist for six month increments, not to exceed a total enlistment of two years. Each corpsman was expected to work a 40-hour week.
In October of 1939, I returned to Rossville, Indiana, where my grandparents lived. From then until Januaary of 1940, I managed a small restaurant in Cutler, Indiana, until I left for Evanston, Illinois, to enter Evanston Collegiate Institute, a junior college which was founded in 1934 by the boards of two Methodist Theological Seminaries. In 1950, it became Kendall College, a four year institution. While there, I worked for money and keeps from February, 1940, to July, 1941, went to school, and played basketball on the starting five as a guard. The two restaurant experiences helped when I was assigned to be mess officer as an extra duty in Sicily, and has carried over even to today. And, even now, I piddle in the kitchen, helping the better-half, most often.