Labor Day Newsletter 2018

Happy End of Summer in Black & White!

Our author, Kathy Vincenz, has been digging into the history of the 1930’s for her series of stories about little Margie from Seven Mile Creek, Wisconsin–her mother. Kathy became intrigued to write the stories not only because Margie is her mother, but because these pictures of Margie and her brother Dan intrigued her to want to understand more about the time and the poverty.

The squirrels thought for Labor Day they’d share some of Kathy’s findings and provide their own tribute to the people who lived during the 1930’s–the poorest time in American history. It was so bad that they named it Great–The Great Depression. Nearly one fourth of Americans didn’t have a job. That meant for every four adults you knew, one didn’t have a job. That’s a lot of people.

But most people who lived through it weren’t bitter or angry—they only speak with awe and wonder at how they survived through faith, family, and perseverance. Read on to find out more.

Larry the Squirrel and the other squirrels at Squirrels at the Door Publishing

Imagine you hear a knock at your back door, and when you open it, a man takes off his hat and begs for work or food. And like the widow in the Bible, you, with little or no food yourself, give him something—a piece of blueberry pie with berries you picked in the field, a bologna sandwich with mustard, a jar of water. That’s how it was in the Great Depression.

People who came to your door for food or work left marks on fences to indicate what kind of people lived in a home so the next person would know what to expect—a friendly face or sometimes worse.

(PIcture shared from

any of the people who showed up at someone’s back door for food were men who rode into town on the rails—the train. They jumped aboard a train when it slowed down or stopped. If they were lucky, they could get into an open box car, but sometimes they rode holding on to the outside of the train. One man remembers how he rode with one foot on one car and the other foot on the other car. When the train sped up, his legs stretched far apart. He rode that way from the state of Georgia to Alabama.

Historians believe that million and half people rode the rails, and about 250,000 of them were young people in their teens, many who left home because their parents couldn’t feed them.

Riding the rails was so tough on the teens that the United States government under President Franklin Roosevelt set up the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to house the teens and give them jobs to help the environment. In this picture, teens transplanted beavers to better, less populated spots where the beavers could build dams to help control water flow. Life on rails taught the teens to be tough and independent, but the life in the CCC taught them to be kind and work together.

Hope this bit of history not only gave tribute to the people of the Great Depression but woke up your brain to help you slide into your seat at school on Tuesday.

Happy end of summer! See you next newsletter.

-The Squirrels at the Door

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