Sunday, March 15, 2009


Claude Guash, 82, of Murphys remembers well the depression years. "Times were thin," he remembers. "We had a restaurant in San Francisco and my dad sold dinners for $1.50, big meals with raviolis or enchiladas and salad, soup and bread. Lunches for 3o cents. Nobody had any money. My folks worked from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. but never seemed to get ahead. They couldn't afford to buy a home, they always had to rent. My father did the cooking and ran the restaurant and my mother was the cashier. Me and my brother went to the restaurant after school and worked until 7 p.m. Dad would give us 5 cents for the trolley but we'd walk the two miles and use the nickel for an ice cream instead. The tough years were before the war. You couldn't get certain things. No laundry. So we actually saved money by using paper table cloths. No meat Tuesday, meant we closed on Tuesday. With the gas shortages, you couldn't get deliveries for small restaurants. When I got old enough to drive, I'd go get everything from suppliers. But we made delicious minestrone soup with french bread and always had enough to eat. I took bread and jelly sandwhiches to school and would trade with a friend for his egg salad. In 1938 I remember church kitchens feeding people. But then, after the war got going, the shipyards were booming and things got better. Eventually, my dad sold the restaurant and made enough money to retire to Palo Alto."
Francis Harden, 87, of Sonora (above) and her older sister were raised by her mother, a single parent. One of the original multi-taskers, her mother sold magazines, baked and sold cakes, sold bread for a Campbells Co. and gave piano lessons in her home. (See the original story on Francis in "friends and neighbors" magazine. Francis lived in Berkeley. The depression affected people differently in different parts of the country.
to becontinued.

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