The Depression Years

Depression years? Of course there had been a depression since 1929 when the stock market crashed and the "roaring twenties" came to an end. People in this part of the country never felt it as directly because they usually had food, shelter and fuel as long as they could scrape together the taxes on the old farm. Some families returned from the city to weather the hard times, but actually wants were few beyond the necessities. Perhaps they learned early to appreciate what they had.

In many ways it was an exciting time if you were young. Who can forget the wonderful movies when you could often see a double feature for ten or fifteen cents and get a piece of "depression glass" for your hope chest as well!

Technicolor was the newest wonder. Even today in 1990 they recall 1939 as a banner year of great movies. Such movies as "The Wizard of Oz", "Gone With the Wind", and "Trail of the Lonesome Pine" were some of those we saw in our senior year in college.

In the summers there were wonderful dances at the Grange Halls and the open pavilions at East Union, Oakland Park and the Umbrella. Once in a while when some of the Big Bands came to Old Orchard Pier, that was a great outing. Gas for the old flivver was cheap at seven or eight gallons for a dollar. At college proms in Orono, Big Bands were brought in and though crowded, the big gym held us all. Sometimes during the evening everyone gathered around the stage just to listen to the music and clap and cheer.

In Hope most of the young people picked green beans for the canning factories and raked blueberries in the summer to earn money for their needs.

Those who grew up around here with whom I have talked, recall their growing-up years with fondness, so it would seem that Hope was a pretty good place to have been during those depression years.

(From History of Hope Maine by Anna Simpson Hardy Pages 225-226)