THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG- Hardtimes
Once again here is another story behind the song revelation from the pen of yours truly Larry Elliott. This songs comes from the album of the same title”The Hard times” by Larry Elliott.
Not giving up and enjoying the hard times…
This particular story evolves from a true story and how everything happened. The story spurns from the life and times of my Great grandparents who are depicted by the photo on the cover of the “Hard Times” CD.
Their names are Frank and Edna Rose who definitely lived through the hard times or better known as the “Great Depression”. Or 1929 for example the things they went through and experienced in their lives.
Those were the days of Battery Radio for your listening
pleasure back in the day you had and icebox if you were fortunate
no running water no TV.
Till the 50’s and you truly worked the ground to grow your own food with a horse and plow or a mule whichever you had. Most everything was homemade or made from scratch. There were no store-bought cake mixes etc. Most education if any came from the school of hard knocks. Wood was probably the primary source of heat.
For the better part of their life great grandma and grandpa lived on a house boat on the Missouri river in the town of Glasgow Missouri. My grandparent raised 8
children on meager pay,my moms mother Frances Mabrey being the
eldest and 7 other siblings to boot.
Many years later my Great Aunt
Elsie Smithson the second eldest daughter bought some ground on a hill above the Mississippi river and had a house built for her parents.
Somewhere in the near future my great granpa got a job piloting a
tug boat up and down the Missouri river for about 20 years or better
then he retired…
Times were hard and some of the daughters in the family were wanting to learn to cook.
Times being what they were great grandma thought the kids would burn or waste the food to which Franks reply was if they do I will eat their mistakes they got to learn Edna and that settled that matter.
My mother Irene has fond memories of staying at my great grandparents house sneaking down to the cellar to snitch a dill pickle out of the crock or barrel in the basement of the house or sauer kraut beings they home made most everything they ate or wore mom recalls eating “chow chow” in these days better known as corn relish.
In those days with so little money in circulation you bartered for things…
…or did work for other people maybe took in ironing and laundry for others or even sewing
of which my aunt Almie Knox was and expert she would make coats so good that they could not be told from store bought.
Almie was a sister to grandma Rose they together would make burial wreaths for
extra money to make ends meet after all these were hard times and what money there was was in short supply.
The two sisters would also move old grave yards that would get washed out to higher groundjust to give you and idea of the staple cost eggs were 6 cents a dozen and bread maybe a dime a loaf.
Thats why everyone was pretty self sufficient because they had to be…
That doesn’t mean things were unbearable or situations were unlivable. You basically
as was so often said you had to pinch the buffalo or pennies.
As I told you earlier my great granpa retired from being a tug boat pilot what I didn’t tell you was all these years he had had social security taken out of his checks only to find that his boss the man he worked for had only pocketed the money instead of sending it into social
Grandpa had no money to hire an attorney or a lawyer so he basically had to take it on the chin.
Since he had no severence if there was any back then great grandpa would collect scrap iron,copper,batterie,or what ever he could do. Later on he was able to get and old age pension which probably did not amount to much. After the fall of the stock market nobody much trusted banks.
The law of the land or jungle was survival of the fittest look out
pretty much for your family which was no.#l it was everyone for
I remember hearing tell of my great granpa Frank Rose during coffe boycotts where they would throw coffee into the river to drive up the price of coffee or other things. Great grandpa would paddle out in a row boat and scoop up the coffee kegs or what ever it
was stored in and take them back to shore to his home.
Then he would use it for bartering for what they might need at the time. Being non trusting of banks he would put mostly silver coins in cans and bury them next to the trunk of fruit trees for safe keeping a fee weeks or so before his death just before repeating he and great
grandmas wedding vows in a ceremony help in their front yard.
He knew he wasn’t well or his time was near and he told great grandma where he had hidden the money.
Afterwards great grandma used to keep all her money in a large sock in her hiding place.
Great grandma was a peculiar person in her ways. She was big on 1st impressions if she didn’t like you when she first met you she neverwould and usually she did not recant her judgement of character or the type of person you were.
She was a sweet old lady and I am so very blessed to have had her in my life.
She passed away about the age of 90 years old in retrospect I sure miss her telephone call and the letters I used to get from her back then.
She used tyo say while talking on the phone to me child! It’s sure good to hear her voice. I guess I was her favorite great grand child and it was understood among the others that was just the way it was.
Well now you know a lot of facts and thoughts behind the story
…so the story goes back in the day the hard times or those bad times truly were the good times maybe because things like these brought you closer to one another. After all what ever did not kill you made you stronger. Back in those days your
word was your bond if a mans word was no good neither was he.
Hard work and honor were important there was mom God and apple pie. This roughly the story my mother Irene told me as best I can recall.
Until next time this has been another story behind the song.
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