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A Father’s Day Memory, lessons on what really matters

I don’t remember learning about the Great Depression in school, but I do remember the stories my father told about growing up during that time. He was born in 1932, just three years after the crash of ‘29. His parents were immigrants from Ireland, his father a house painter and his mother a homemaker caring for him and his sister. He told stories of how they lived meagerly and yet when a hungry hobo came knocking on their backdoor, his mother would give them a sandwich or whatever scraps she could spare. He spoke about food rations, how the onset of WWII brought everyone together for the war effort. There were stories of collecting foil from disgarded gum and cigarette packs with his friends so they could trade it to get into the movies. Every scrap of metal, even foil, was collected to help build ships and airplanes to fight the war. My dad talked about car headlights being painted half black. This helped minimize lighting so enemy airplanes could not clearly see the towns below. Their news about the war depended on radio broadcasts and newspapers. They made good with what they had and were happy to do anything for the war effort to bring it to an end. In spite of the reason, it was a time everyone was united.

My dad was seven when his father died and grew up without a dad. My father died in 2019. He literally came from almost nothing, but died a rich man in many ways. He learned the value of the dollar through real life experiences and was recycling and upcycling long before it became an environmental trend. Today we live in digital dollar world that sometimes seems treated like pretend plastic money. So many live beyond their means, the dollar doesn’t seem to hold any value. No, I did not learn about the Great Depression and the value of money in school, I learned it from my dad.  A man of meager means who created a life that was richer and beyond anything he or his parents could’ve ever imagined.

Thanks for the stories dad, they hold more value today than ever before.

Happy Father’s Day

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