Great Depression Story Essay, Research Paper
The Chen family lived on a simple farm in Kansas in the late 1920 s; they grew corn and wheat and made a living off that. A few years past and the Stock market had crashed on Black Tuesday, October 24th, 1929(www.amatecon.com/gdtimeline.html). The Great Depression was setting in, and the Dustbowl hit in 1935(Garraty 57) all across the central part of the United States causing dust to be blown everywhere. This prevented all the farmers to grow crops and thus driving them out of business and going poor. The Chen family loses all their money even after selling all of what could be sold. Jamie Chen was on the verge of collapsing when she said, Pa, when are we gonna have some more food for the family.
Brandon replied, I don t know sweet heart, it could be a while until this dust disappears, but hang on we ll make it through as a family.
The family is left eating anything that is edible just to survive. The intense heat and drought brought about the dust storms that plagued the area for nearly a decade (Garraty 57). The family is forced to move out of their house and to the west towards California, but not before they absolutely had to.
On the road to California the Chen family meets a long lost friend Eddie Lee and his family. Brandon Chen, the father of the Chen family says something awkward, Hey Eddie, haven t seen you for years you look terrible.
Eddie states, You don t look too hot yourself old friend. Oh yeah, Brandon how s that friend of yours, Al Capone was his name? I heard his name on the radio for income tax evasion. (www.amatecon.com/gdtimeline.html)
You have it mistaken, my friend s name was Hal Stallone, Replied Brandon.
Since the fathers have known each other for many years, the two families decide to travel to California together. Samuel Chen and Bobby Lee, the sons of Brandon Chen and Eddie Lee, think they can have a better chance of survival if they travel in smaller groups so they decide to just leave the families and travel together. Before they left they stated, THESE FAMILY S CAN NOT CO EXIST TOGETHER !
On the way to California the families have to hunt animals or find plants to eat just to continue on their journey, but finding animals or plants was harder than it seemed. The families bask in the glory of having killed a bear and all the food that it would provide, but during the hunt Amy Lee was severely injured and was bleeding to death. Amy Lee had one last request, Father can I have a taste of that bear stew .
She died before it finished cooking and both families mourned over the death. Jamie Chen the middle daughter in the Chen family is extremely good looking and has her eye on Tom Lee the youngest son in the Lee family. Tom is still extremely sad over the death of his sister, whom he loved so dearly. Jamie walks up to him and says, Death is inevitable in these conditions, we should make the best of it and be happy together Amy wouldn t want us to be sad, she d want us to survive.
That s when Tom realized his mistake and took Jamie s advice and said, I ve never thought of it that way Thank You, and they hugged and just laughed about everything. The families eventually make it all the way to Salt Lake City in Utah where they find out that only + of the families had migrated(Rothbard 113) and many decided to stay.
To their surprise the lake is full of salt, but it is too late Donna Chen, the youngest in the family gasps for air screaming, Eww.. this tastes disgusting, and throws up. Another family arrives at Salt Lake a couple of hours after the Chen and Lee family. They were from France and had just moved to the United States 10 years ago, and they asked the two families, Have you heard about the great migration into California? It seems like 200,000 families (Rothbard 116) have already moved there.
The two families did not really feel like talking so they just gave a simple nod and went to sleep. When morning came the French family had already left. All of a sudden Brandon Chen screamed out, The rest of our food is gone, the French must have taken it we must get it back. In an instant the two families set off in search for the French in the direction of California.
The two families finally make it to California, but right when they arrive there are Los Angeles policemen acting as bouncers (Rothbard118) trying to keep people from migrating into the state. Eventually the Los Angeles police department realizes that this is wrong and that they shouldn t be wasting there budget on restriction from entrance, so they call off the force (Rothbard 119). The families enter California and find a spot to settle down for the moment. Dana Lee, Eddie s wife, states, Eddie how are we going to survive this era? We have no money, no food, and no shelter.
Honey, we ll survive somehow, as long as there s a will there s a way. We can t give up no matter how hard the times get, Eddie says confidently. But even he has a doubt in his mind they might not survive Eventually they decide to take over another family s shelter just so that they could survive. They took over a tar paper shack that contained, no floor or plumbing and had to end up paying twenty-five cents a day for it (Swados 89). Their new home got them a job working at the San Joaquin Valley, picking grapes and cotton where around 40% of migrant workers ended up (Swados 90).
The families started picking away at grapes and cotton, just to earn a living. They start getting frustrated and lazy over the situation, but Brandon Chen keeps everyone in line by saying, If we quit now we ll have traveled all this way for nothing, we ll have let Amy die a horrible death for no reason, but worst of all we will all be known as quitters. Thus motivating the families they continue to pick the grapes and cotton hoping for something bigger to come along. Eventually Jamie and Tom decide that they want to get married and start a family of their own. They get married and decide to move farther north and see what would be in store for them there. As a farewell Tom and Jamie state, Do not miss us for we are going on to bigger and better things, and if we do succeed we will be back to share the wealth with our families. The families start going crazy and start crying in both happiness and sadness.
Tom and Jaime ended up going into a group home set up by Roosevelt’s Farm Security Administration that built 13 camps, each temporarily housing 300 families in tents built on wooden platforms (Swados 95). A couple years pass and Jaime becomes pregnant with twins, but as this happens Tom is drafted into war and goes off to serve his country. When Tom arrives at his military base he sees his brother Bobby and Samuel Chen. They have some laughs about what has happened throughout the past couple of years and Tom realizes that Sam and Bobby have it all. They ended up all the way in Chicago and got rich by opening a manufacturing company. Tom says, You guys must have everything, the money, the girls, the house, even the car, I wish I had your life.
HAHA, was the only thing Bobby said
Sam said, That s not true. Tom, look at you, you have a beautiful wife and you re about to have babies, you better treat my sister and nephews good.
And they all laughed together for the last time.
D-Day hit the next day June 6th, 1944 (www.amatecon.com/gdtimeline.html). All three of them men went off to Europe in a different location never to see each other again. Only one of them returned, that was Tom, after he had gotten back from the war, he could not celebrate like he had won, his brother and his friend had died during the war. On his return home back to Jaime, he was surprised to find that she had bought them a new house and the kids were doing very well. Sam had sent her all of the ownership deeds to what he and Bobby had owned. Tom and Jaime became filthy rich and they located there family back in the cotton and grape picking farm and brought them to northern California to live with them. They all lived happily ever after in their new house, but next to them was an old rotting wooden barn, which seemed to have the inhabitants of some French people.