Archive for the ‘Historical Events Pre-1951’ Category

Most people are familiar with this historical event — the Great Depression — which began in 1929 with the stock market crash, and lasted 10 years. Those years probably seemed excruciatingly long to those going through it and suffering its effects.

If you’ve ever read the book, The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, you’ve gotten a good look at what life was like for so many during that time. If you have never read it, I highly recommend it.

I’m sure you’ve also heard the phrase, “Depression-era mentality”, used to refer to the habit folks have of hanging on to things “just in case” they might need them after having lived through that time.

While I never heard my grandmother, Hazel’s mother, talk about the depression much, and she was NOT a hoarder at all, she did keep some things with that mentality, yet she was also very organized.

I believe that living where they lived, they were not as affected by the depression as other folks may have been. They already lived in a fairly poor area, so they were already accustomed to being frugal and doing without.

Hazel and her brother, Donald, were both born during the Great Depression. I can’t imagine how scary it would have been to be trying to raise a family when times were in such turmoil. If you’ve ever seen the movie, Seabiscuit, at the very beginning, Toby Maguire’s character is just dropped off at the stables by his parents because they couldn’t take care of all their children, and they knew he could work there, even at his young age. I can’t imagine just leaving one of my children somewhere like that, even if I knew it might mean a better life for him. Thankfully, that never happened in our family!

Here’s a couple of related links about Hazel’s early years:

It All Begins

The Family Grows

I’m also reasonably sure that Mildred and Vern never let on to their children that times were hard, so they probably never knew how bad things were, and thought they had a pretty good life — plus they were so young they might not have remembered much about it. And in so many ways, they did have a good life — a much better life than a lot of other people had in that same time period. Truly blessed.

And immediately at the end of The Great Depression, World War II began . . .

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Went to Finis’s & Doris’s tonite. Mrs. Teters is there. She told us about the sanitorium. Billy & Johnny have a billy goat. Moma got 2 new bedspreads for boys beds. 

The Rector boys have a goat — that otta keep ’em busy . . . keeping the goat out of things!

I don’t know who Mrs. Teters is, or exactly what she told them about the sanitorium. What I can tell you about the sanitorium is that it is a big fancy building in Macon with quite a history. It was built in 1899-1900, as the Blees Military Academy, by Col. Frederick Wilhelm Victor Blees. After Col. Blees’ death in 1906, his wife operated the school for 3 more years, at which point bankruptcy forced her to sell it. It was purchased by four prominent Macon men.

These men approached two doctors, both with the name of Still (Charles and Harry, sons of A.T. Still, the Father of Osteopathy), about converting the building into a sanitorium. The Doctors Still asked Dr. Arthur Hildreth to join them, and on March 1, 1914, the Still-Hildreth Sanitorium became the world’s first osteopathic sanitorium, otherwise known as an “insane asylum”.

I don’t know how long the sanitorium operated, but after its closing, the property later served as a Missouri National Guard Post. When I was a child, the buildings had been pretty much abandoned and let run down. It was creepy, scary, and to add to that, they used to host haunted houses in there at Halloween. Hauntings aside, I took a (daytime) tour of the building at one time, and the “cells” for the patients were just plain scary and totally depressing. In danger of being demolished due to its condition, the Macon County Historical Society rallied to save the property, and the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. 

Remodeling began soon after, and the building was restored to its former beauty, and now serves as an apartment building. There is an annex building located next to the large building that has been designated as the Macon County Museum, taken care of by members of the Macon County Historical Society. If you’re ever in the area, you should stop in and look around. It’s an amazing and beautiful building. Hard to believe it ever operated as an insane asylum. Here’s a picture of what it looks like today:

Enough with the history lesson, right? Let’s get to quilting . . .

Option 1 (large quilt):

Today you’ll need all the squares you have cut so far for Block 8. 

On the back side of each small square, draw a diagonal line with a marking pencil.

And yes, you know what’s coming next — more Flying Geese! Are you tired of them yet? Do you have the process memorized? Here’s the tutorial, just in case: Flying Geese Tutorial.

When you’re done with those, store them back in your “Block 8” baggie.

Option 2 (small quilt):

Today you’ll need all the squares you have cut so far for Block 8. 

On the back side of each small square, draw a diagonal line with a marking pencil.

And yes, you know what’s coming next — more Flying Geese! Are you tired of them yet? Do you have the process memorized? Here’s the tutorial, just in case: Flying Geese Tutorial.

When you’re done with those, store them back in your “Block 8” baggie.

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My sister, Katy, is six years younger than me. She has a better memory, and apparently paid more attention to stories when we were younger. (I was never much of a history buff.) We’ve been discussing all the stuff we can’t seem to figure out about the family’s history during this time, and her memory unearthed some stories that Grandpa told her, so we’ve been able to put a few more pieces of the puzzle together.

Katy remembers a story Grandpa told her about getting their first “real” refrigerator. Shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor, rationing was started. One of our readers, ChrisD, is also a historian, so I picked her brain for some information on how the rationing worked. Here’s what she had to say:

“[Rationing] started with coffee and sugar and later expanded to meat, rubber, silk, fuel. The last rounds of rationing (there were four) included cheese as well. This last round also included typewriters. The motto was: ‘Make Do’. The World War II generation was still reeling from the dearth of the Great Depression and were used to making do. The important thing about rations was that everything useful went to the war effort. The Americans supported their troops and were happy to give the best to their guys and gals overseas so their suffering could be lessened in any way possible. Another interesting note was that in the last round processed foods were also rationed. Mr. Hormel gave freely of his processed food and it was a staple in all the C-rations our troops had: SPAM. In fact, after the war, President Eisenhower thanked Mr. Hormel for his generosity.”

Appliances were also rationed because they were in short supply, as all metal was being put into the war effort. To get items that were rationed, you had to have “stamps”. I asked Chris how the stamps worked . . .

“. . . every person had an assigned number of stamps they would get each month from the US Office of Price Administration.  You would not (for example) be allowed to buy a pound of sugar unless you had the stamp for it.  It did not matter how much you could pay. The top of the stamp booklet said:  More is Going to War.”

Grandpa was given a stamp for a refrigerator from a man who had the stamp, but then did not have the money with which to purchase the refrigerator. The poor fellow had ended up having to use what money he had on a family emergency, and could not use the stamp, so he gave it to Grandpa, and Grandpa bought the refrigerator.

Katy and I have often spoken of how Grandma, whenever a national “disaster” would happen, would tell us: “You better get to the store and stock up just in case.” Folks who lived through the Depression and the War had it hard, and were forever wary that it could happen again.

We still have no idea how long the Hyde family lived in the Kansas City area, but if I find out, I’ll give you an update. Meanwhile, we’ll move on, and I’ll tell you what happened between life in Kansas City and Hazel beginning high school in some upcoming posts.

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Here’s a little background on the family you’ll be reading about during this project.

If you read this post: It All Begins, you’ve already been introduced to Hazel as a newborn. Well, what happened in between birth and January 1, 1951?

For the first few years of Hazel’s life, the tiny family lived in the country, outside Callao, Missouri. When Hazel was 2 years old, the following snippet appeared in the local paper:

When Hazel was nearly three years old, her first little brother, Donald, came along. Donald was born on August 9, 1939. The paper misprinted his birth announcement:

Birth of Son

Mr. & Mrs. Vern Hyde of north Bevier are announcing the birth of a nine-pound son, born Tuesday evening, August 14. This is the Hyde’s second child.

The misprint might have come because of a bit of turmoil going on in the family at the time. Not only had Mildred just given birth to their second child, Vern was not faring so well himself — in the August 12, 1939, issue of the local paper, the following article appeared:

We are sorry to report Vern Hyde of east Callao has been quite ill. It was found necessary to take him to Brookfield to the McLearney Hospital for treatment. Vern was reared in this community and has many friends who were sorry to hear of his illness and wish for him a speedy recovery.

Obviously, Vern recovered just fine, and on July 24, 1941, Hazel and Donald were joined by Larry, the third and final child to be born into the Vern Hyde family. The local paper once again made an announcement, however brief:

Son Arrives

Mr. & Mrs. Vern Hyde of east Callao are announcing the arrival of an eight pound baby boy, born Thursday, July 24.

Here’s a snapshot of the three together, taken in 1942.

Meanwhile, of historical note on the global scale . . .

On September 1, 1939, without warning, Germany declared war on Poland, setting off the beginning of World War II. Although at first declaring neutrality, the United States was plunged full-bore into the war when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. Just 3 days ago, we marked the 68th anniversary of “the day that will live in infamy”.

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Hazel Ilene was born on September 19, 1936, in the little tiny town of Callao, Missouri. The first child and only daughter of Mildred (Rector) and Lavern Hyde, she was followed later by two brothers, Donald and Larry.

A brief announcement in the local paper on September 21, 1936 states:

New Daughter Arrives

Mr. and Mrs. LaVern Hyde of near Bevier are announcing the birth of a daughter born Saturday morning whom they have named Hazel Ilene.




The national headlines on September 19, 1936 were:

President Returns to the White House to Remain With Mrs. Roosevelt Until She Recovers

Mud Litters San Angelo: The Flood Leaves Hundreds of Destitute in Texas City

World’s Worst Hurricane Swirled Out to Sea Today: After Spending Its Fury Against Eastern Seaboard Leaves in Its Wake At Least Eleven Dead, Property Damage Into Millions

The local headlines included:

Moberly Doctor Takes Life: Dr. W. H. Selby, Veteran Physician in Poor Health Several Years

Drunks to Go to an Asylum: That’s the Plan of Monroe Prosecutor When Drinking Becomes a Disease

Train Kills Man: Donald Dodson, 80, Struck While Walking Along Track

A classified ad from the paper that day reads:

For Sale: Two box springs and mattresses, standard twin size beds, practically new. Reason for selling: replaced with 7 foot beds account of boys growing tall. Call MISS YOUNG, 5384 between 9:00 and 4:00.

The Valencia Theater was “Now Playing”:

“Charlie Chan at the Race Track”

A local market was advertising:

Weber’s Meadow Gold Ice Cream, Full Quart Brick Cream, Assorted Flavors 29¢.

The weather that day called for:

Unsettled with showers probable in west and north portions tonight and Sunday. Somewhat warmer in north portion.

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