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Old 07-24-2011, 12:25 PM
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Default Ways the old timers make money

I was listening the other day to how back when it was more of a barter society before we are what we are now how some folks used to make money. It's a shame that we can't get back to where if you had a skill you could just do what you wanted, without the permits, licenses, fees, tests and degrees.
I recall one guy telling me how they if they saw a porcupine, alive or recently deceased, they would take a large towel and throw it on the porky and then pull it off and sell the quills for $1 to the taxidermist. I remember reading how a pair of teenagers who wanted to buy a Winchester rifle didn't have any money so they went out and made up some railroad ties because the general store also sold those to the local railroad.
I remember my grandparents neighbors when I was a kid selling all the extra eggs to all the folks who lived nearby because at that time they were all the same age and had all lived in that area their whole lives. As they all passed on newer folks moved in and prefer the more expensive storebought eggs from who knows where.
Every Christmas my grandfather would sell a few Christmas trees off a piece of property of his, he never made alot of money, but he made some doing this and they were always cheaper than anything else. I wonder how our society is going to survive when everything is tossed out and we do as little for ourselves as possible. I know less and less people that go get their own fish, or barter items or can make things for themselves. I think we have far too much technology, and unfortunately there are some who would rather have us dependent on others for what we do instead of each other and ourselves.
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:05 PM
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When I was a kid in the 40s my dad had a old chev pickup and we would pedal fruit and potatos. He would drive to northern wisconsin, buy potatoes, and then we would go to southern wisconsin and sell them house to house. My mother was born in the country store business, a very outgoing woman that seemed to know everybody, she drove a pickup to towns all over centeral wisconsin on town market days, sell vegatables, trade stuff etc. She did it still into her 70s. The oshkosh newspaper featuered a article on her once. I remember the folks would go out frogging. Catch frogs and sell to some medical outfit for pregnantcy tests. That was fun. I also sold worms and night crawlers as a 8 or 9 year boy. We lived in fishing country and I had a sign up in front of the house. Also I went with a uncle and we would trap minnows and sell them to bait shops. We grew sweet corn, watermellons, cantalope, raseberries, apples etc and sold them at moms fruit stand she had set up in front of the house. People nicknamed mom "apple mary".
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:36 PM
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...and now they are busting little girls for selling lemonade without permits.
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:44 PM
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Red face Ways the oldtimers make money.

As a 6-7 yr old in East Texas I would take care of my Granmaws chickens. Would rat-hole eggs till I got enough to pay for a box of .22 shells at the local store(2 miles away) Thought I was pretty slick till I was home from the AF and my Granmaw told me the woman I was selling the eggs to was her cousin...Way I got caught was my Granmaw was complaining to her relative that her hens were not laying as many "aigs" as they had in the past(before my caper) Try sending your young kid to the supermarket with eggs to trade for ca-trid-ges now Ha

Frank
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:05 PM
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Wow, this is an awesome topic. I think this will be a rambling post nfor me. I have so many thoughts on the subject. To give some background, I am 48 and my Dad is 68 we all grew up in NYC.

Growing up, my Dad didn't pay to have anyone fix or do anything around the house. He did it himself and had me help. I became a jack of all trades and a master of none. When I was a kid, like 10 years old, I would hustle for a buck cutting lawns. When I was 13 I would work on the neighbors cars and my Dad's friends would drop off the cars for me to work on. My Dad had a vast collection of tools, that he would buy as projects came up. I could work on cars, do light construction and woodwork, plumbing and electrical. I spent some money on myself, I saved some and I used the money for Holiday gifts for my family. I was a Cop for 20 years, when I retired I became a Harley mechanic, due to the fact that my Dad taught me mechanics.

My kids are 20 and 21. I divorced their Mom when they were 5 and 6 years old. My kids can't even clear a stopped drain. Since I did not live with them, projects never came up when they were around. They never learned to work with their hands, because I was not around on a daily basis, only seeing them every weekend. As a matter of fact, they really have no work ethic.

When my Dad was a kid (born in '42) he lived in Queens, NY. His Dad delivered milk by horse and wagon. He helped him on that route as well as his Uncle's construction firm. His Dad taught him to work with his hands.

My Father in law (also born '42) grew up on his father's farm in Pa. They were poor, with the crops they grew, they sold it locally and once in a while traded off for beef. They had chickens also. His Mom died when he was an infant and had 2 brothers. The kids all ended up in foster care until the Father remarried a couple of years later and got the kids back. They hunted daily. If they didnt hunt, they didnt eat meat. My FIL had a tragic hunting accident, he accidentally shot his cousin. The sheriff told his father to give up his weapons or the kid goes to a home until court hearings were adjudicated. His father said, "take the boy". He spent a year there, keep in mind his father might sound harsh, but w/o weapons, the family would starve.

The difference between my father, my father in law and me is that my FIL is better conditioned to survive should the economy tank. He has survival skills. I have never hunted, so I would not even know how to dress a deer. My kids would never be able to make it on their own. It could happen that this economy totally shuts down, the way the US is going. Desperate times would be an understatement.

The people of the Great Depression are Survivors, getting through that then WWII. Nowadays people would lay down and die or just kill people to get what they want. It could be apocolyptic.

Damn, I need a drink, is it beer:30 yet?
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:18 PM
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I used to sell bonito on Redondo pier. Sometimes I'd take 'em to Tony's fish market @ $.10/lb or sell 'em to tourists if it was night time.

$.25 each gutted, $.50 each fileted. They always wanted 'em fileted. After I was done fishing I'd tote the skeletons over to where the crabbers were & sell 'em for $.25 each.
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:24 PM
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While I am not an "old timer" by any means, I remember as a kid if I wanted something, clothes, what have you, you had to work for it.

Whether it was painting, mowing lawns, cleaning, "fix it" jobs, I realized as a kid that the harder I worked the better it was. If you didn't have an opportunity, you made an opportunity by working hard and being diligent.
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Old 07-24-2011, 03:44 PM
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Grew up in a rural area. Everyone had a garden. neighbors would trade
back and forth for what they needed. Milk, eggs, vegetables, etc. I would walk the roads picking up pop bottles to turn in to the country store for the $.02 deposit and use the money to purchase .22 shorts ammo.
Moving to the city I sold newspapers on a street corner, delivered newspapers on a route, and bagged groceries in the neighborhood store for tips. During high school worked in a department store putting up stock after school.
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:23 PM
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I haven't had steady work in almost 3 years. I supplement my sporadic musician's income by canning and selling. I buy my friend's knitting and eggs and produce from local farms (OK, an hour or so's drive north) as often as I can for a lot of reasons including: It's better quality. it's better for the local economy. I hate wal mart.

My two oldest daughters babysit for their discretionary money. They are a lot more judicious with their spending than if I just gave it to them. They save for what they want, and the oldest will give me gas money fairly frequently because I drive her and her friends places when I don't have to and they know gas isn't free or cheap. Concert tickets or movies, she pays for herself. And the last two school years she paid for all her own school clothes and supplies, and it was her idea to do it. She made lists, and budgets, and stuck to them. She came out ahead so treated her sisters.

Now, I'm not saying that to brag on my own parenting skills but because I think many young people, her age, and even a bit older, have no concept of work ethic or "if you don't work you don't eat (or go to the movies or whatever)" and I am glad she knows and understands this. She also does all the oil changes and tire rotations to earn her car 'rights'. She handles her own laundry. She is very annoyed with her own generation lack of ambition and something-for-nothing attitude (and a lot of adults) Having said that, her room is ridiculous and I can't get her to do regular chores for anything.

Also, my husband does most of our home maintenance/repair and some auto repair and maintenance as side work in our driveway.

We don't do a lot of hunting or fishing, but we can and have the tools.
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:28 PM
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Growing up in the 50's taught me about work ethics. I bailed hay, milked the cows early in the morning, put them out in the pasture, collected the eggs, slop the pigs and fed the chickens. This for a 10 -12 hour day for a dollar a day. It was hard work but honest work, which kept with me throughout my life. Today that would be child abuse. which comes with an attitude and finally on to maybe a criminal life expecting to get something for nothing.
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:34 PM
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I know a fellow locally that sharpens everything. Giant bandsaw blades for sawmills, industrial food processing machines, etc. Everything is cash (he even has a couple drunks helping out he pays cash). Clears $2-$3K a week, lives in a nice, paid for house. No bank accounts, although his wife has one that's fat. Only downside is retirement, no SS or 401K. Hasn't paid taxes in his life and nobody bothers him. Something to be said for living "off the grid." Joe
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:39 PM
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I made pretty good money shooting and selling Jackrabbits to a feller for mink food. White tails went for $.75 and black tails went for $.50. Don't ask me why the difference. I could never find out either.

Nylon 66 with a scope. Long Rifles cost $.50 a box. I fed cattle in a pickup all winter. Rabbits would be sittin' in their hole weatherin' out the storm. They din't want to move. A feller could drive within 25 to 30 yards. Aim for the eye, one shot, one rabbit. I'd usually get half a dozen a day and sell them when I had a hundred.

Did the same kind of thing on Thurs afternoons during college. Kept me in beer money for four years.
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:48 PM
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There are several Framer's Markets locally where folks sell not only produce but eggs and honey as well. While raising chickens might be a problem, one can keep bees in the 'burbs - or make candles, or knit, or dry herbs.

As long as you have old hippies (or folks who used to live the life), you will have barter and cottage industries.
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Old 07-24-2011, 05:53 PM
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When about 10 in the first Eisenhower administration, I learned how to sell strawberries to the grocery store. And grampa & mom made me into a passable gardener....which has been a real survival skill many of these past years....perhaps even more in the years to come.
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Old 07-24-2011, 06:03 PM
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I made pretty good money shooting and selling Jackrabbits to a feller for mink food. White tails went for $.75 and black tails went for $.50. Don't ask me why the difference. I could never find out either.

Nylon 66 with a scope. Long Rifles cost $.50 a box. I fed cattle in a pickup all winter. Rabbits would be sittin' in their hole weatherin' out the storm. They din't want to move. A feller could drive within 25 to 30 yards. Aim for the eye, one shot, one rabbit. I'd usually get half a dozen a day and sell them when I had a hundred.

Did the same kind of thing on Thurs afternoons during college. Kept me in beer money for four years.
Iggy, my family had a Mink Ranch many many years ago. Believe me when I tell you the little buggers are better than we did. In the feed room we had a 6 cylinder Studebaker truck engine and a 3 speed manual transmission that turned the giant food grinder. This was built off of a large frame bigger than the original truck frame. Food came in the form of 50-100 pound frozen blocks that were tossed into the hopper of this giant grinder. 3 times a day the mink ate a mixture of this ground fish, chicken, and red meat. 3 times a day in the frozen winters of upstate New York. Sometimes as fast as you slopped in on top of the cage, it froze. In one year, the market for U.S. grown Mink pelts dwindled to nothing, the Europeans basically put the Americans out of business. The Europeans showed up in N.Y.C. with superior pelts that sold for half the price as ours. 95% of all U.S. Mink ranches went out in that one year. 26
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Old 07-24-2011, 06:34 PM
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26Ford,
Interesting stuff. Thanks for posting.
Yup, all of a sudden they quit buyin'. Din't know why, reckon that's why I had to go get a job as a cop. I was runnin' short on beer money.
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Old 07-24-2011, 06:47 PM
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The old time methods are still being done out in the rural areas.

As example: My brother in law rasies chickens for the eggs. He sells the excess eggs his family does not use for .50 a dozen. He bales hay. He gives the land owners a percentage of the hay baled off their land and he sells the rest. The guy owning the farm next to him is a mechanic and keeps all BIL equipment running in exchange for free bushogging. In the spare time, BIL has a garden and sells off the crops that family members does not get for free. Last year he got over $1200 from a man that brought a truck in to get watermelons. The man loaded them and all BIL had to do was put the money in his pocket.
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Old 07-25-2011, 12:37 AM
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We used to return shopping carts for stamps. 1 stamp per cart and with enough stamps, you could turn it in for a buck. We would wait for people comming out of the store and ask if they needed help. Made pretty good money with the tips until the store manager decided it was bad publicity. We would also wash cars and collect cans.
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Old 07-25-2011, 01:08 AM
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See my sig line below....
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Old 07-25-2011, 05:53 AM
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Anybody ever "peel pulpwood"??? got paid by the cord,this was before the mills put in auto pulpers
We used to walk along the road an pick up soda an beer bottles to turn in for ammo.
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:17 AM
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Most here will be too young to remember but a lot of kids picked up spend money literally. Prior to the 1960's there was a deposit on glass soft drink bottles. It got up to about a nickel a bottle before they stopped using glass bottles..

Considering I could get into the movie theatre for a quarter and get a box of popcorn for a dime, picking up 10 bottles would get me a movie, fed and a profit.

Back then people tossed the bottles onto the shoulder of the road moreso than beer cans now.

Even adult could be seen out picking up bottles.
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iggy View Post
I made pretty good money shooting and selling Jackrabbits to a feller for mink food. White tails went for $.75 and black tails went for $.50. Don't ask me why the difference. I could never find out either.

Nylon 66 with a scope. Long Rifles cost $.50 a box. I fed cattle in a pickup all winter. Rabbits would be sittin' in their hole weatherin' out the storm. They din't want to move. A feller could drive within 25 to 30 yards. Aim for the eye, one shot, one rabbit. I'd usually get half a dozen a day and sell them when I had a hundred.

Did the same kind of thing on Thurs afternoons during college. Kept me in beer money for four years.
Do you still have the Nylon 66? I still shoot mine on occasion. They are fun to shoot. Show one to the younger guys and they will spend their afternoon trying to figure how to load it.
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
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26Ford,
Interesting stuff. Thanks for posting.
Yup, all of a sudden they quit buyin'. Din't know why, reckon that's why I had to go get a job as a cop. I was runnin' short on beer money.
Your welcome sir, I started a new thread called MINK RANCH MEMORIES and it ask's a question, that will be quite interseting to see if anyone knows the answer. 26

Last edited by 26Ford; 07-25-2011 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:53 PM
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Real quick interesting note:

There was a guy locally, back, boy maybe in the late the 30's or 40's that really didn't have much.

He used to push a shopping cart around town, from what my dad told me, and collect all the scrap metal in town he could find.

His company is now worth millions, employs about 100 people, and I believe his sons/family now run the business.
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:31 PM
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Well, I guess I really didn't have it too tough. Both parents survived the depression, and they were good at scrounging. Maybe its where I learned the skill! There was never a time when there wasn't food on the table. Maybe not what I would have liked, or as much, but always enough.

In the 1950s, pop and beer bottles carried a 2 cent refund. Back then I really liked the Unions. They'd each have a summer picnic in the local park, and I could hike to it over hill and dale. Sure, a knapsack full of bottles was heavy, but it was also good money. And I hiked and later rode my bicycle down many of the local roads picking up bottles tossed there.

But by the time I was 11 or 12 I could mow lawns. And shovel snow, and rake leaves. Never was much good at digging in other people gardens, but I fed many a chigger picking raspberries and blackberries.

When I was a kid, I was certain we were the poorest family in town. I was just as sure we were one step away from being tossed out of town and living in a shack in the woods someplace. I felt we were that poor. Every other family around us had a new car, every other year at least. Dad would buy a 4 year old car. All the other families took what to me were pretty lavish vacations. Without exception 2 weeks a year. I looked forward to the long weekend we'd spend in Michigan or Tennessee.

It wasn't until I got out of college I realized my dad had a better job than the other folks. He worked for GM in a salaried position, was never on strike or laid off. He owned our house, never had a mortgage (and never made car payments because he paid cash for his junkers.) Dad was just cheap. Depression again.

When I was 16 or 17 I taught my dad something. He was really impressed with me and my flash of brilliance. I had the family car for something, I don't remember what. It was autumn and I was driving down a country road. And a whole line of walnut trees! I hit a bunch of them and they bounced off the undercarriage. I stopped to look and no one had harvested any yet. So I walked up and down the road, kicking everyone I could find on to the road. Then I drove over them, hulling them. Opened the trunk, put on the old set of worn gloves dad always kept there and filled a few gunny sacks with them.

His method was always to bag them, try them, and then hull them. My way got a lot more nuts in each sack. Each probably weighted 100#. I got home and had him come look. He was amazed, an when he saw they were all nut, no hull, he was a happy man. It took the two of us to hoist them onto the nails in the rafters of the garage.

The next day I was offered - didn't have to beg - the car keys. The implication was clear, we never had enough walnuts. I've still got the steel block we used to crack them. I used it for a criminal purpose - beating on a drive shaft, a non-food use!

Other things. A while back, maybe 10 years, a buddy and I stumbled upon a Morel mushroom haven. I was never that taken with them, but I liked finding things, especially free things. We harvested most of a day and evening. Mom wanted some (dad was already dead). The buddy kept the lions share. He cooked some, and then dried the rest that he didn't sell. Then he called me and told me he needed some help. Of course I showed up, and out we went again. Maybe 35# that cycle.

We used to have a 5 star restaurant over in town. He'd taken a few pounds from our first harvest session down to the chef (he'd been tipped they were buying.) So that was the reason for the other harvest, to sell. He shared with me, 50-50. He got right at $700, cash. Tax friendly and all.
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Old 07-25-2011, 09:13 PM
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Most here will be too young to remember but a lot of kids picked up spend money literally. Prior to the 1960's there was a deposit on glass soft drink bottles. It got up to about a nickel a bottle before they stopped using glass bottles..

Considering I could get into the movie theatre for a quarter and get a box of popcorn for a dime, picking up 10 bottles would get me a movie, fed and a profit.

Back then people tossed the bottles onto the shoulder of the road moreso than beer cans now.

Even adult could be seen out picking up bottles.
Bottle returns were the money as a kid in Michigan back in the '70s. We'd get a dime per pop or beer bottle/can and had a whole route mapped out we'd hit every other day, picking through dumpsters behind all the bars, party stores and bump shops and fill wagons full of returnables. 10 bucks split two ways was pretty good money for a couple hour's work for a couple 10-year-olds back then.

Nowadays it's still a dime a bottle but a dime sure doesn't go as far 30 years later.
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Old 07-25-2011, 10:04 PM
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I still know people that will stop their car and get out to pick up bottles out of the ditch in Michigan. It adds up. There used to be a guy that retired from MSU and road his bike around, he more or less lived off cans he'd collect. He was a fixture in the area. He's dead now sadly, but he was known as Ernie the Can Man.

Anyway, I still barter regularly, most people around here (a Marine base) seem to barter to some extent since no one ever has much cash. Thus an old crossbow can become a .22 rifle or a spare rifle sling can net a case of a beer.

As of late I've traded into a metal detector to add another stream of side income digging up quarters. Yay.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:03 AM
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Very interesting thread, thanks. Growing up on a farm we did quite a bit of bartering, dad and grandad would load the old chevy pickup with corn, grandpa called them roasting ears, and head for town. He would trade them to the only grocery store in town, Piggly Wiggly, instead of money the store manager gave us a voucher for groceries. Same thing with eggs. All our neighbors would trade various food items with us depending what we had come up good and what they had. Harvest time everyone helped everyone else get their money crops in and you never would have thought of asking for pay for that, it was just something we all did. Miss those days.
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:53 PM
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I guess this is more of a "simpler times thread". Being 48, my generation I think are the one's who started getting more materialistic things, ie numerous Christmas gifts, the latest junk food etc.

My Dad being 20 years older than me, his generation was simpler, with more substance. He had 3 brothers, if they were lucky their Christmas gift was a football (1 gift for the 4 kids), all his friends were in the same boat. His friends would ask for a baseball bat for Christmas. Then the neighborhood kids would pool their gifts and put them to use.

He related to me how "Blue laws" were enforced, where almost nothing was open on Sundays (this started to fade out when I was young). It was a time for family. He said even if you were dropping the oil on your car the neighbors would give you dirty looks, because it was supposed to be a day of rest. Generations used to live in the same neighborhood and you spent time with them on a Sunday. Nowadays, everything is open, yet all that does is make people work on a Sunday, because business stats show that if you are open on a limited basis, you "create need" and people make a point of getting to the business before it is closed. This is the type of thing that I think helped to break down the family unit.

There was very limited quick junk food, usually your Mom cooked from scratch. Your dog ate table scraps, not the foo-foo food dogs are fed today. I read somewhere, where my generation will not have the life expectancy that my Dad's generation had, due to diet and food quality.

My grandfather was born in 1908. His father was a vaudeville performer. My grandfather's God father was George M. Cohan. My grandfather's mom died when he was an infant. My great grandfather (who to this day I do not know his name) remarried and dumped my grandfather on his aunt Margaret, remarried and started a new family in California.

He would as an adult take a bunch of change to the drug store phone booth to call his father in California. When his father died, he had a house in Beverly Hills and was apparently well off. He left nothing for my grandfather and his half siblings got everything. His siblings came to NY to visit him. He was so embittered, he turned them away. He had never met them in person, ever.

At my grandparent's wedding reception in a Knights of Columbus hall, he got involved in an arguement with his 3 brother in laws. This became a fist fight, where my grandfather layed all 3 of them out. His Aunt Margaret, who he was deathly afraid of since she raised him, dragged him out by the ear. She was 5 foot tall and he was a nasty 6' irishmen. Instead of holding grudges, since they were family, it was just another funny story to tell over the years. People back then wouldn't call the Police to settle a family matter.

Sorry for the rambling, I just find the days of old to be interesting. Now the generations have every materialistic thing that credit cards can buy, yet they have nothing. Just life, living beyond their means.
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