Dorothy says this isn’t the Great Depression Part 2. Nobody is poor now, she says. Even the poor people are rich.
She grew up in Oklahoma during the Depression, so i guess she knows. Growing up in Oklahoma would be depressing enough anytime.
Her eyes sparkle when she describes how, as a 24-year-old, she just up and moved to Southern California on her own because “I wanted to.” She drove Route 66 when it was still a maze of neon. She loved the train ride back and forth except for the lack of sleep because of the crowd, and hated the one time she got her own room on the train because she didn’t like being alone.
She was working way before it was cool for women to be in the labor force. When she was planning her move to California, she tried to transfer from her company in Oklahoma, but they wouldn’t let her because she was a female. So she just quit and went west anyhow. Luckily, it all worked out. She found a job, found a hubby, found a new life in a new state, and went on a wonderful journey that has led her to a sunset in Arizona.
She seems happy now, and i’m not sure how to react. I once read that it’s a downturn if a neighbor loses his job, a recession if a relative loses her job, and a depression if you lose yours. I want to tell her about all the people I know who are struggling with the reality of a job market that has vanished. Of the daily nightmare not knowing if your kids will have even minimal health insurance the next day. Of the gnawing fear that the prospects of employment may never get better, even if the economy does.
Instead, I just smile as I listen to her stories. She has survived much, much worse times than us, and she’s still living happily ever after. Maybe we will, too.
Happy Labor Day …