My dad followed his dad’s profession and became a carpenter. By 1933 when dad was 23, if there was any work at all wages were rock bottom. Later, dad worked some for the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps, one of President Roosevelt’s remedies for unemployment). A month’s work got you $30.00 pay. That doesn't sound like a lot of money today but back then it was the escape from total poverty.
"By April 1934, the Corps, now on a firm foundation, faced the beginning of its second year with near universal approval and praised of the country. This young, inexperienced $30-a-month labor battalion had met and exceeded all expectations."
Dad also helped set electric power poles in Robertson County, TN for ten cents an hour.
"Some of the first cooperatives in the U.S. sprang up in Tennessee ... in 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt’s Rural Electrification Administration changed the course of Tennessee history, and power truly came to the people of Tennessee though electric cooperatives." http://www.tnelectric.org/education/education.asp
Dad said he worked many days for that ten cents an hour and he was glad to find any work at all. That’s why many of my earliest memories are of living in rural houses - the only houses dad could afford to rent when work was slack and labor was cheap.
From 1936 to 1942, I can remember dad finding work in larger cities at times. When we lived in cities such as Nashville and Louisville we had warm houses, electric lights, radios, gas ranges, kitchen plumbing, bathrooms, and an ice box … not a refrigerator but an ice box. Electric refrigerators were not available for homes until after 1930 and it was a few years later that they became commonplace. City dwellers had ice boxes; an ice delivery man brought ice to a person’s home and placed it in the ice box.
Dad once took a job delivering ice to homes in Nashville. People hung their ice card in a window. This card had several numbers on it that indicated how many pounds of ice they wanted. If the card in the window showed 25, the ice man placed 25 pounds of ice in the ice box; if the card showed 50, you got 50 pounds and so on. That was good for city dwellers. No such conveniences were available to rural homes and each time dad left the city, we moved back to the country where life was more primitive.