A Letter from Dad

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I am cross posting this from Cory's e-list. I believe it has an important message for all of us here.

Excerpted from a letter dated Thu, 14 Jan 1999 21:33:38 EST to his daughters....

Since this was a small happening day I think I would like to give my thoughts on the Y2K possibilities. I was 10 years old when the stock market crashed, we lived in Roxbury at the time and I remember the terrible agonizings of the news paper and radio. An awful disaster which helped to sell newspapers and make radio newscaster famous, Dad was a whole sale hardware salesman to stores in western Pa. He did very well and was able to maintain a wholesome family arrangement. Phil, Paul, and I were the only ones at home then. Prices tumbled, money became in short supply and Dads income began to demand certain curtailments of our home but we still lived a pretty comfortable life style. Then the roof caved in, Dad and Mom had there savings and other financial services in the First National Bank in Jtwn. FDR in one foul stroke. to save the banking industry closed all the banks in the country. The famious Bank Holiday. Where do you think all the banks moneys was? In the stock market. The First National Bank never opened again there was no money in the bank. To make this short and I could go on for a long time but just a few interesting points, the development of FDIC, weak and poorly managed financial institutions never opened, boards, presidents, cashiers, etc were the hated ones, some committed suicide. The 1st National president jumped out of the banks 5th floor, people selling apples on the streets, generally the era of the bum. FDR's WPA. CCC, Relief Agencies, etc,etc, etc.

We had no money for food, the electric was turned off after a while, the gas, could not pay the rent, and what ever you can imagine. I belive Dad reputation as an honest man, good credit, and friendlyness did see us thru the worst. We moved to Southmont in a friends house with pay when you can arrangements. We were distitute but a happy family. We were not alone, the steel mill closed, stores, gov'nt agencies, and many other institutions, even teachers did not get paid. Then a letter from one of Dads Hardware customers came, he was an old man with a hardware store in Berlin and would Dad take over the store for him till he got better. Dad made strides and the store began to thrive, why, well the farmers put their money into their farms and pots buried in the basements or somthing. Anyway he pulled the family out of the worst thing that ever happened to this country since the Civil War.

The moral to all the is: 1. It came so sudden. 2. People too complacent. 3. It can't happen here. 4. Somebody will take care of me attitude. 5. well you can finish the list in your free time I am to busy right now writing to my kids for any more. What is the bottom line here. Well Carol, Dave, Dawn, Brian it all comes down to the individual decision. We are being informed, we have vast sources of knowledge, we have a tremendous amount of history to learn from, and you are all pretty smart people. What happens after the advent of the next millenium and your situation depends on you. We do not know what the results will be of Y2K, but we do know what they could be. Maybe

One last comment. Was Pap Berkibile and his family in difficulty very much from the depression. no, but he was a farmer, they had cows and sold milk, big gardens, he hauled coal, moved people, raised beef, and had a coal mine that he worked in himself, and other enterprising ventures which took courage and strength to beat the system and won. For instanece somebody offered him a bunch of BTFin stock which he bought for pennies to help a family out, he just put it way and his children got it, at one time sold for 45 dollars a share and even higher and paid dividends. A very positive and smart man.

Your own situation in Y2K, will depend on you and the attitude you have for it. The answer to success and failure is in that sentence. Do not count on someone else solving your problems, solve them before they become problems in you own way.

Can Mom and I come live with any of you till it is over?

Love ya ~~~~~~~~~~~~~Dad

-- ExCop (yinadral@juno.com), November 15, 1999


One very interesting point in here is that of a man being as good as his reputation. This does still hold true in small communities, but most of my relationships are with large faceless organisations: Supermarkets, banks, insurance companies, utilities. To them I am just a statistic, and my promise means nothing to them.

There's an image in my mind of my local supermarket full of food on 1/1/1900, but with no power. The manager is standing outside - backed up by police - turning hungry people away because he can't take take their payments and he doesn't know them from Jack. He COULD let them have food, but it's more than his job's worth, you see.


-- Colin MacDonald (roborogerborg@yahoo.com), November 15, 1999.

Thanks, ExCop. Nothing like history, those who have been there ...

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), November 15, 1999.

Thanks Ex Cop

My Dad went throught the depression on the praries, and while his family made it through, his dad died at a reletive early age from the hard work.

WW II was an adventure to many of them, escapeing the poverty and boredom of life back then.

I hope this isn't going to be history repeating itself.

-- Brian (imager@home.com), November 15, 1999.

Thanks ExCop, for some insights to life during the depression years. I have tried my whole life to get my dad to tell me about them, but he ALWAYS refused to talk about it. My guess is that it's really bad and that by not talking about it, he doesn't have to re-live it...

-- Forum Regular (Here@y2k.comx), November 15, 1999.

---have heard similar stories from parents and now deceased grandparents, both sides of the family. the great depression was a big wake up call for a lot of people. they finally had a frame of reference about trusting-put all your eggs in one basket-be it a single source of income, a single way to get water, a single place for your money, etc,etc. and you can lose it all overnight. --thanks for the story zog

-- zog (zzoggy@yahoo.com), November 15, 1999.

The Depression was TEOTWAWKI for my father's family.

His uncle lifted him through abandoned farmhouse windows to scavenge for food when he was 10 (there wasn't hardly ever any). He fought for $5 a fight at age 14 (lying about his age) to earn money for the family. They were forced from the Middle West to New York by the situation, but it didn't help. WWII "helped". When he came out, he had spent the years from age 10-20 in depression and 21-26 in the Army. That will leave some effects ....

... I could tell you more about both him and my mother's experiences.

On a not entirely unrelated note, elderly survivors of the Depression will be the ones who die first from water, waste or utility collapse in a regional area should one take place.

May the pollies all win, if "winning" is what this is about!

-- BigDog (BigDog@duffer.com), November 15, 1999.

Perhaps...an enlightening read on the subject of history and it's nasty ability to repeat itself. Life has cycles, that you cannot escape.

The Fourth Turning offers this bold prophecy:

Just after the millennium, America will enter a new era that will culminate with a crisis comparable to the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, and World War II. The survival of the nation will almost certainly be at stake.

Strauss and Howe base this vision on a provocative theory of American history as a series of recurring 80- to 100-year cycles. Each cycle has four "turnings"-a High, an Awakening, an Unraveling, and a Crisis. The authors locate today's America as midway through an Unraveling, roughly a decade away from the next Crisis (or Fourth Turning). And they recommend ways Americans can prepare for what's ahead, as a nation and as individuals.

As Future Shock did in the 1970s and Megatrends did in the 1980s, this groundbreaking book will have a profound effect on every reader's perception of America's past, present, and future.


-- OR (orwelliator@biosys.net), November 15, 1999.

My mother occasionally tells me of what the depression was like when she was growing up in Montana. They had lots of problems, but managed to adapt to turn some of them into opportunities regardless to make it through. Based on what I've heard, it took sheer tenacity and perserverance for our grandparents and their families to get through...

We were flipping through some of her old photos the other day, and she sighed. "Gawd, I hope we don't have to go through this again. You can just can't picture what it was like unless lived through it."

-- Tim (pixmo@pixelquest.com), November 15, 1999.

I got all mushy. This post ends with a letter from MY father:

"After ten days I returned from the hospital to the mother of all rats nests, the headquarters of our magazine empire. When I made another deposit into my savings account, I discovered that Ma had withdrawn all of it. She had blown it all on hospital bills. I had saved to get out of hell, to travel to Peru, to live in the jungle by Lake Titicaca, away from people, white people. Now it had been wasted to cut rotten meat out of my head instead."

"Pa was so concerned about us that he wanted to do a radical surgery himself. On all of us. He sent a letter to one of his attorneys, translated exactly as follows:

Very honored Counselor xxxxxx!

With great disappointment I found out that the support for the children was increased by DM20 for each child, that is DM40(about ten dollars). With this, my monthly responsibilities to the divorcee would be DM200 + DM190 = DM390. Since I  (three lines blackened out on the copy I have) I have not had a single penny of income this year. It is completely impossible for me to pay this amount to the divorcee (one line blackened out).

I see no other possibility anymore, except to cause a total catastrophe, no matter what consequences it will bring. I will grasp the final and heaviest means, to cause an end to this shameful situation. This I will do, if the court does not comprehend my situation as a provider of the divorced family and the founder of a second family. I will not let my honor be so dirtied, inasmuch as I am so indebted, that my creditors are pushing me to fulfill my responsibilities. If it has to be, I am ready to eliminate the entire family, before I will take this shame on me. Afterwards the court will be responsible for this, which this decision has brought about.

-- Not Again! (seenit@ww2.com), November 15, 1999.

I have never eaten a turnip. My mother swore she would never eat another one after the Great Depression. Consequently, she never served them to us. She told me that her mother made their clothes from the cast off dresses of the fat lady down the hall. They lived in a cold-water flat in New York at the time.

My ex-mother in law was a migrant farm worker as a child during the Great Depression. She worked in the canneries and never got passed the fifth grade. She always appreciated the slightest kindness and the smallest conveniences technology offered.

-- anon (anon@anon.calm), November 15, 1999.

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