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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The USA (01/08/09)

TITLE: A Child of the Depression
By Joe Webb


She was eleven years old in 1940, the youngest child in a large family. She was thin and red-haired. The year she was born her family lost their farm. Her father gained a job as a janitor at the school. He, later, built a small house in town with the help of her brothers. Many mornings, she remembered hearing his heavy boots breaking through frozen snow. She visited him on occasion there and watched as he shoveled coal into the giant furnace in the school basement. Heíd been a Realtor before he returned to farming. She never heard him complain about his misfortunes. She never knew the other life her family had before the Depression. She knew musicals and the cold bite of winter.

She loved the musicals. In the darkened movie theatre she sang and danced in her mind like the stars. During cold nights, she dreamed of dancing with Fred Astaire and singing like Judy Garland. She and Margie Olson would walk to the movie theatre on most Saturdays. They watched the actors glide across the screen and the bright colors of the costumes blossoming like a garden of Spring flowers even in the darkest days of a Minnesota winter.

When she was twelve years old, President Roosevelt spoke through the radio that the country was going to war. Her brothers and parents remained silent. Her mother took her into the adjoining kitchen. She could hear her father and brothers talking. There was a strange tone in their voices. Her motherís round face and bright eyes became gray. They sat down at the table. A few minutes later her brother enter the kitchen and kissed them on the forehead. He went into the Army that week. She never saw him again. That Saturday, there were no movies at the theatre. Her father kept the furnace at the school hot. Her mother hung the laundry inside the house because the sun hadnít been seen for more than a few minutes in over two weeks. She went to school and learned about the pioneers who settled the icy, wind-swept prairies. She went to church and sang hymns of hope and heard sermons about God and Country.

She was sixteen when the War ended. She still dreamed of singing and dancing. She remembered her brotherís goodbye. Five years later, she married. She gave her love of music to her children. In the cold of December or the warmth of May, she sang hymns of hope and her children never heard any complaints of her misfortunes.

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This article has been read 261 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 01/15/09
Oh, I love the musicals and the movie dancers, too!

This has a lyrical tone to it. Nicely done.
Myrna Noyes01/15/09
I enjoy stories set in the Depression and WWII, because that is when my parents were children and teenagers.

You had some very nice descriptions, and I like the way you ended your piece. Good job! :)
Charla Diehl 01/16/09
Thank you for sharing an important part of America's history as seen through the eyes of a young girl. Good descriptive writing.
Valarie Sullivan01/18/09
I liked the way that the MC carried on the legacy of hope and non-complaining. Very well done!