Earning a Living during the Depression

Grandpa was one of the kindest men I have ever known. So two of the family stories about him make me cringe every time I hear them.

Born on this day in 1905, John George Walton was a married father of two during the worst days of the Great Depression. Having left school early to help support his widowed mother, his employment options were limited at best.

2015 02-26 Grandpa 2My grandmother cut out shoe-shaped cardboard pieces daily according to the first story. Grandpa wore them out day after day as he walked the streets looking for work. He’s so painfully thin in this picture it breaks my heart.

In the second story, my grandfather had found work as a taxi cab driver. A passenger tried to rob him by beating him with a steel pipe. Grandpa held one arm over his head while he drove the would-be thief to a police station. His head was protected, but his arm had been broken in three places.

Later Grandpa found a great job that he held for decades. My favorite Grandpa story is the one where he stopped at the bank every day on his walk home from work to deposit the change from his pockets. When he died, that bank account balance was more than $10,000.

4 thoughts on “Earning a Living during the Depression

  1. It’s wonderful that you are sharing these stories about your grandfather so that future generations will have them to read. Those first two stories certainly are cringe-worthy. That last story is lovely.


    • Thank you Jana! I didn’t know the Depression story until after my grandfather had passed away, he never shared them himself. You’re so right; story tellers are essential to our family history center.


  2. So sad, that your grandfather had to endure such pain. But, these same stories are great examples of how our ancestors persevered and overcame life’s challenges and were the stronger in character and physical stamina for it.


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