Today, if it gets worse, so many people are not going to know what to do. Itâ€™s at the point now where people are not really able to save. I guess there are little things we could do without, but itâ€™s going to be hard for many people to do without the things theyâ€™re used to.
Rosa Lee Johnston, 83, Richmond, Va.
I remember [Herbert] Hoover was president. I think it was in 1929 going into 1930. At that particular time, I lived in Southampton County, Virginia, with my aunt. My mother lived in Richmond.
We didnâ€™t have too hard of a time with food because we didnâ€™t get the best of foods then anyway. We got cheese and stuff like that for ten cents a pound. They had salt pork — we got that for six cents a pound. My mother came and got me and brought me to Richmond and the Depression was still going on.
I was 6 or 7 when I lived in Southampton County, but when I got to Richmond, I was 10 or 11.
One of the main things I remember is different things being rationed. I remember shoes were rationed. Each family could get only a certain number of pairs of shoes, and that was it. But it didnâ€™t matter whether shoes were rationed as far as we were concerned because we could only afford one pair anyway and we wore that pair until we couldnâ€™t use them anymore. Sugar was rationed.Â We saved money on clothes because all of our clothes were hand-made.
Because we remembered how hard things were during the Depression, we always believed in saving. My mother would save money at home. When I started school, I started saving money in the bank. At first we would start saving for Christmas â€“ weâ€™d save so much each week and then Christmas time we would have $50. If we didnâ€™t have to use that $50 we wouldnâ€™t spend it. Weâ€™d put it in a savings account. I worked in factories and Iâ€™d spend some of my money and put some in a savings account. Saving is something people should be doing more of today.
Raymond C. Jenkins, 53, Columbia, Maryland
If I were to compare the Great Depression â€“ from what Iâ€™ve heard about it â€“ with where we are today, I think the word â€˜depressionâ€™ could be used to describe whatâ€™s going on. We already use this strong word â€“ recession â€“ and itâ€™s getting worse. But President Barack Obama is in this to win this. So thereâ€™s hope. And with hope, you can move on to belief and you can move on to achievement. I tend to believe that this is a correction that needs to happen in the world. It is a world, global crisis. But I am very hopeful even though we are in this.
I have a good job. I work in sales. Like everyone else, Iâ€™m watching my 401(k) tank. Iâ€™m on pins and needles. I donâ€™t know whether [I should] go in there and make changes and stop my losses and put all of my savings in bonds.