Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Letter to the Editor

The Depression


Money was scarce, and times were hard, but when things got tough, we did without and cut back on our lifestyles. We didn’t look to the government to make up the difference.

People with food stamps weren’t buying junk food or trading them for cash to buy cigarettes and beer. Churches administered help to those in need and the homeless were taken care of by relatives.

School children learned because it was expected of them. They didn’t have their education sugarcoated or made “fun.” Teachers were respected, not insulted and beaten up. The courses were geared to life. I mean reading and writing and arithmetic, not entertainment. You didn’t worry that kids in your child’s school might turn up with a handgun or a knife or cocaine.

If you couldn’t afford medical treatment, there were county hospitals. Many fine doctors learned a lot about patient care in those places.

Men took off their hats when the flag passed by, and children were taught to stand at attention. Everybody knew all the words to the national anthem and “America the Beautiful.” Today, one out of three people in any public gathering would have to fake it.

If we did something we shouldn’t have, our folks heard about it from the neighbors, not the police. We got our backsides tanned and didn’t do it again.

The Sabbath was for church and other religious observances, not for football on TV or “getting away from it all.” Holidays were observed on the day the event occurred and not moved around to give people a three-day weekend.

I will concede, however, that we have made considerable progress on the medical front. We now have antibiotics, organ transplants and better medicine for high blood pressure and other chronic diseases. But the big difference is that most people aren’t as honest or as noble or as hard-working as they used to be, and that bothers me. I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Carmen Perkins, Ph.D



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