WHAT A TIME

Ready, Set, Done – Today, write about anything — but you must write for exactly ten minutes, no more, no less.

96-Mom-May1944


Garry and I have been watching the Ken Burns mini-series on The Roosevelts on PBS every night. Not surprisingly, my mother is much on my mind.

She was born in 1910 and died in 1982. Not an exceptionally long life — and I would have liked to have her around much longer — but what a time to be alive! Born into a world of horse and carriage, she died after seeing men walk on the moon.

My mother often talked about the days — the early, exciting days — immediately after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s election as President. It was the depth of the Great Depression and the country was in terrible shape, the people depressed and frightened. When the National Recovery Act (NRA) passed into law she, along with hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers held a spontaneous parade. They literally danced in the streets.

She said: “Roosevelt didn’t end the depression. The depression hung around until finally it was ended by the war (World War II) … but he gave us hope. He made us feel that we could beat this thing. You have to understand,” she would say. “It was awful. People were hungry, not just out of money. Out of food, coal, hope. He gave us hope and at that time, in that place, hope was everything.”

When I watch something about that time in history, I always think of my mother. Young. Marching in the streets and celebrating because FDR was going to save America. Whatever else I learn in the course of studying the man and the times, my mother’s stories of living in those times trumps them. Hers is the voice I hear because she was the people.



Categories: American history, History, Television

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. I enjoyed reading this, and what a classic photo! I’d love to spend a day in the life… that generation, saw so much.

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  2. You resemble your mother greatly in this photograph.
    My parents were both born in 1918. I will never forget my mother’s stories of being a very young child during the Great Depression, going down to the bakery alley, searching through their garbage to bring home stale bread for the family. Her parents were Polish immigrants, had menial jobs, but still, very, very, very poor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think most of our generation come from poor immigrant forbears. My mother never let me forget it, either. Nor Garry’s. We’ve always been aware how fragile our economic underpinnings are and how close we are to living on a street corner. Funny how little things have really changed.

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  3. I am sure if this programme arrives on our TV I will watch it regularly. I love such real history We Europeans know very little about the details of an American president, The Americans did not just read books, but lived it. I have just finished reading Ken Follet’s book Winter of the World which was a good description of what happened in the second world war. My mother was born 1913 and died 1985 at the age of 72. Sometimes I wish I asked more about her younger years.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s a wonderful series! I’m loving every moment even if TR wouldn’t invite me to the White House. Thanks to Ken Burns and PBS.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful. I love the photo and I love your sentiment in this post

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    • It was convenient that it today’s Daily Prompt was “any topic you like” today since I have had this on my mind. Last night, the show moved into FDR and the great Depression and I instantly thought of my mother. That really was HER time, when she was young and involved. Her perspective on those times is one I can never get out of my head. Totally lacking in a neutral perspective — she simply LOVED FDR and Eleanor. They were her people.

      That’s my favorite picture of my mother.

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