Times tough even before '30s
By ANNE. (GOODMAN) FRICK
From the beginning of their marriage in September 1901, William and Ella Hagins Goodman lived in Coopersdale. I am their last living sibling and relate to you the following:
Parents had a very hard time stretching their income to clothe and feed their family, even before the Depression.
Flour was bought in 25-pound bags, mothers baked their own bread, elderberry jelly was made because the berries could be picked free. There wasn't any refined shortening then; lard was used to fry and make pie crust. Dad did a lot of hunting to supplement our meat supply.
Also in those days, not many people went to the hospital to have babies. In Coopersdale, my mother, affectionately called “Goodie,” helped out when called to serve as sort of a midwife, helping with the birthing and washing of the
new baby Sometimes, the one doctor in Coopersdale, Dr. George Schramm, was called in.
At Christmas, instead of buying candy my mother made us potato candy and divinity which we were happy to get.
If you can imagine this, most of our mothers made our under garments out of yellow muslin. There wasn't money for finer garments, just for long, woolen underwear. When walking to school, we girls would try to pull them up our legs, out of sight, and just have our wool stockings showing.
Despite all this, there were pleasant, friendly times in Coopersdale, where people were willing to give a helping hand.
We were all equal.
Ann E. (Goodman) Frick, a former Coopersdale resident, now resides in Bedford.
Tuition was $10 a credit
By CLAIRE PYLE
Here are some of my reminiscences of the 1930 in Johnstown, my hometown until 1959.
The scarcity of cash:
A high school student might. have spending money of 25 to 50 cents per week. This could be augmented on Saturdays by an 8-to 10-hour clerking job at Woolworth's or Glosser Bros. Store, thereby earning $2 for the day.
Tuition at “Junior Pitt” was $10 a credit - total of $300 for the usual annual two semesters.
The presidential elections of 1932 and the FDR presidency brought about the National Youth Administration jobs for students.
Party dresses were often hand-me-downs from employed relatives and were gratefully received.
We went to proms on foot not many autos were available.
In addition to the radio (Lowell Thomas every evening), the Saturday Evening Post was eagerly awaited.
When the price went from a nickel to a dime, my father
thought it excessive but continued the luxury. At 15 cents, he gave it up, but for just one week, and then continued at the going rate
The 1930s add up to good years. There were good meals (Father in the grocery business and Mother a good cook), a comfortable home, and most important, concerned parents. And always friends and fun together.
Claire Pyle, a former Johnstown resident, now resides in Pittsburgh.
People were poor but proud
By NANCY PYLE JOHNSTON
The Great Depression hit everyone in Johnstown. Many, completely destitute, were without both shelter and food. Others, a little more fortunate, had a roof over their head, but nothing much to eat.
Those lucky ones with food on their table had not even scraps to spare. Of course, no one had money
A popular song of the day lamented, “Brother, can you spare a dime?”
However it was a time when Johnstowners helped each other survive.
I remember the day a desperate, poverty-stricken woman appeared at our back door, begging for food. My mother sadly explained that she had nothing to give away, but then thought of the container of bacon fat she had frugally saved.
The woman was so grateful for this meager offering that, despite my mother's protests, she scrubbed our kitchen floor Ashamed 'to be a beggar, she insisted on earning the bacon fat
This remembrance typifies that great American spirit which helped Johnstown survive the Depression, the St. Patrick's Day flood of 1936 and the plight of the steel plant.
Nancy Pyle Johnston, a former Johnstown resident, now resides in St. Michaels, Md
Big band sounds
By Carl Mahan
Lester Mahan's Commanders. Lester Mahan, father of Paul, Carl and Ruth (Boes) Mahan is the trumpeter seated next to the drum. The Commanders was one of the big bands of the 1930s. To the best of my knowledge, all of the members are deceased. The band played at the Fort Stanwix Hotel on Main Street in Johnstown, Sunnehanna Country Club in Westmont, Sunset Ballroom in Gallitzin, and at the old auditorium across from the Swank Building on upper Main Street in Johnstown (pictured at left).
Carl Mahan, Johnstown
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