My early life can be divided into almost two decades: 1932 to 1942 and 1942 to 1949.

I lived with my mom and dad in the first decade and with my grandmother Dickens during the second. In my first decade the world economy was in a great slump and America was in the midst of the Great Depression. My second decade began when I was 10 and America had entered the Second World War. (A paradox: In my first decade there were too many men and not enough work, in my second decade there was too much work and not enough men.)


As a young adult after about the mid-1950s, I thought that I had simply grown up in a deprived family because my childhood memories included so much unpleasantness. I hadn’t realized that the deprivation reached all America in one way or another. My thinking didn’t change until I studied life during the Great Depression. History shows that living conditions during my early life were typical for the working class at that time, especially in rural America and especially where I came from. The first line in a copied paragraph that I included below sums it up very well: ‘Even by Depression standards, the Tennessee Valley was in sad shape in 1933.’

In the excerpt below (from a history of the TVA
www.tva.com/ ) it sounds like recovery from the Depression came quickly and life changed for the better almost immediately for folks in this region when the TVA began its work. But those improvements took time to implement and living conditions remained crude for several years to come. I remember many rural areas that had no improvements and many small towns that had limited improvements even into the mid-1940s. I can’t imagine what would have happened in the 1930s and beyond if the government under President Roosevelt’s (D) leadership hadn’t intervened.

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"1930s (From www.TVA.com/).
Even by Depression standards, the Tennessee Valley was in sad shape in 1933. Much of the land had been farmed too hard for too long, eroding and depleting the soil. Crop yields had fallen along with farm incomes. … The most dramatic change in Valley life came from the electricity generated by TVA dams. Electric lights and modern appliances made life easier and farms more productive. Electricity also drew industries into the region, providing desperately needed jobs.
TVA built dams to harness the region’s rivers. The dams controlled floods, improved navigation, and generated electricity.
President Franklin Roosevelt needed innovative solutions if the New Deal was to lift the nation out of the depths of the Great Depression. And TVA was one of his most innovative ideas. Roosevelt envisioned TVA as a totally different kind of agency. He asked Congress to create "a corporation clothed with the power of government but possessed of the flexibility and initiative of a private enterprise." On May 18, 1933, Congress passed the
TVA ACT.


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Note: it is not possible to write about that era without mentioning certain political issues. Before I make a wrong impression I must say that I'm neither Democrat or Republican, conservatave or liberal, on the right or left. Those terms seem so ambiguous when used by politicians that I usually don't know where they stand on issues anyway. I do understand promises and performance, right and wrong. I am simply an American voter who always tries to judge each candidate and each issue on individual merits. I am a registered Independent voter.

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