Living in the Great Depression | Teen Ink

Living in the Great Depression

September 16, 2009
By Spellbinder BRONZE, Tucson, Arizona
Spellbinder BRONZE, Tucson, Arizona
4 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."

Living in the time of the Great Depression, was a teenaged girl named Emily.
Emily was homeless, her father died in World War I, and her mother had been taken by the Trench Fever.
After their deaths her home had been taken away by the government.

Emily often spent the days wandering the streets of Boston, returning to her bed of papers in the alleyway each night.
The only possessions she owned were the cloths on her back, a small journal and a lead pencil. Both were presents from her parents, and she cherished them dearly.

Each day, after she got her meal from the local soup kitchen, Emily sat down on a street corner and wrote an entry in her diary.

On July 31st 1930, she wrote:

I just stood in line for two hours at the soup kitchen. The lines are getting longer as each day passes.
Earlier today I tailed a couple of the riches in town. The man was wearing an elaborate button-up suit, with matching top hat, and the woman was wearing a gorgeous gown.
I have no idea what they were doing in this part of the city. I stayed in the shadows of the alley; nothing but a ghost to them.
It’s almost like I don’t exist anymore, no one cares if I live or die, I’m alone.

After writing in her journal, Emily continues her walk around Boston.

She notices that there are more businesses closed than there were before.
Pretty soon the whole town will cease to exist, Emily thought to herself.

When Emily spotted a garbage bin near a closed shop, she went over and rummaged through it for a recent newspaper.
She was in luck, the found an issue with today’s date on it.

The headline read as follows:

Banks Panic and Go Bankrupt

Local banks all around the country are going into a panic as citizens flood in to withdraw all of their savings from their bank accounts, resulting in thousands of bankruptcies.

Below that, another article read:

Number of Unemployed Citizens Rises as Depression Goes on

What was once 3.2 percent of unemployed workers has now risen to 8.7 percent.
There just aren’t enough jobs for all the folks around town, what with all the closers and lack of need for bigger materials.

Emily folded up the paper and let out a sigh.
She herself had been looking for work, but everywhere she went either wasn’t hiring or didn’t want her because she was a girl.

The sun was almost set, and Emily had to get back to her alley before someone else claimed it for the night.
On her walk back, Emily passed a young boy, who looked not but five years old.
His face was dirty with grim, and his clothes were tattered.
“Are you alone little boy?” Emily asked him quietly. Her voice was raspy from lack of use.
The boy nodded slowly. He looked like he was close to tears.
After looking around and seeing nobody, Emily picked up the boy and whispered to him, “I’ll look after you. Everything will be fine.”

Emily walked back to her alley with the small boy in her arms. She gave him the cleanest part of the paper to sleep on while kept watch.

Through the next few days, Emily became a sort of mother figure to the boy. She felt very protective of him.
I finally have a purpose to keep fighting, she thought. And for the first time in months, Emily smiled.

The author's comments:
This was a story I wrote for my English Class

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This article has 7 comments.

on Feb. 10 2015 at 4:08 pm
Was this published in a Teen Ink Magazine? If so, what issue? Also, may I use this piece for a UIL Competition?

Katie-jo said...
on Jun. 17 2012 at 6:38 pm
Katie-jo, Triangle, Virginia
0 articles 0 photos 61 comments
So inspirational, and most undoubtedly a masterpiece! ;)

EddieRiggs23 said...
on Feb. 21 2012 at 10:53 pm
Lots of specialists say that loan aid a lot of people to live their own way, because they are able to feel free to buy needed goods. Furthermore, different banks present commercial loan for different persons.

on Sep. 5 2011 at 6:39 pm
zadiekatie23 PLATINUM, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
39 articles 4 photos 69 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

I love the ending! Great story! I enjoyed reading this!

on Sep. 18 2010 at 5:32 pm
deus-ex-machina14 BRONZE, Stewartsville, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 439 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There are two main tragedies in life. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it." -Oscar Wilde

This is actually very realistic, good job!

JHale_44 GOLD said...
on Dec. 21 2009 at 5:06 pm
JHale_44 GOLD, Roseville, Michigan
18 articles 0 photos 44 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Love is a mystery, and a lot of mysteries dont get sloved."

- Ivory Tears

That was great!

penguin35 said...
on Nov. 16 2009 at 2:52 pm
I love the ending. It lets the reader know that there might be some hope for Emily.