FC: The Great Depression
1: My name is Reuben Eliabachus and the only things that matter to me are my speakeasy and my gang. In the mid 1920s I opened The Cotton Club in New York. The Cotton Club is a speakeasy where I would allow people of all sorts to come and drink at. One day a major fight occurred in my bar and several pieces of merchandise was destroyed. This prompted me to hire bodyguards. As time progressed I actually befriended these bodyguards and recruited them for my gang. Since the 1920s was a big era for speakeasies more and more illegal bars would be built on my territory. With all the new competition on the streets less and less people came to my bar. So my gang and I decided that the best way to regain our customers is to sabotage the other speakeasies. At night we would go around town and eliminate all the other competition until our bar was the only one left. However rumors started to spread around that my gang was the reason why all the bars were shut down. Eventually the rumors spread all the way to my parents and my brother. My family as well as my wife and kids actually contacted me and explained that they were going to leave the New York area because they didn’t want to be associated with a person like me. To tell you the truth I’m not really that upset because I am happy where I am right now.
2: Well right now it is January 1, 1930 and I am celebrating New Years in the streets cold, hungry and alone. Months ago I used to be happy man who felt like he was on top of the world. What happened? October 29, 1929 happened. On this day the stock market crashed and several people lost their life savings because they invested it all into the stocks. Because of this crash the investors were the first to suffer their losses. However once the investors started to lose money businesses started to fail and the only solution was to lay people off. When the businesses start to fail then the banks start to fail because businesses cannot repay bank loans and banks started to run out of money. Because of these series of events the economy went straight down. At first this did not affect me because I worked at a bar but as people started to lose their jobs less and less customers would show up to my speakeasy because they just could not afford it. Since so little people showed up to my bar the revenue of my bar eventually shrunk until it was nothing. Because of the low revenue, my gang and I could hardly live with the little money we received. We decided that the best thing to do was to shut the bar down. So now I was unemployed and spent his time looking around the streets for jobs but no job was available. I asked my former gang if any of them could spare me some cash but it turns out the all moved away to Russia because they heard people were getting jobs over there. I was desperately trying to find ways to get money but the only thing I had left was my apartment, so I sold it. But after a few weeks of buying food and water the money ran out. Now here I am, just some random guy living in the streets of New York where thousands of other unemployed people stay trying to survive the cold. Now all I can do is hope for better things to come.
5: It is January 22 1932 and President Hoover has just created the RFC. This is a program that gives the banks money to help them get on their feet. My situation is continuing to worsen. I still haven't been able to find a job and after coming into contact with my brother he felt sympathetic for me so I've moved into my Aram’s (my brother) tiny apartment. There is barely enough room for me and his family. I do any tiny jobs for people I can but I never bring in enough money. We go hungry many nights and I feel guilty about mooching off them but I don't have any other options. While all this is happening President Hoover is giving the banks money. As if they need any more after taking all of our savings. In all of his addresses he talks as if were all fine and says we don't need the government’s help. He thinks it’s up to the states and that it would be shameful for American men to receive money from the government. I would love to see Hoover try living out here with rest of us. Then I bet you, he would be begging for the government’s help in a heartbeat. A lot of my old friends said that the economy was never getting better. As I said before they all went to Russia. They said people were treated better financially there and that there were jobs. I wonder how they are. I'm starting to think I should have went with them. Hoover’s waited to long and now the economy is beyond repair. My brother is always talking about this new man running for president named Franklin Roosevelt. Apparently he wants us to all help each other out, redistribute the wealth probably, though I'm not sure he doesn't like to talk about in his speeches. I’ll vote for him though, can't be worse than Hoover. I’ve never voted before but i of course regret that now.
7: I was hoping things would get better for a long time now but they haven't. They've only gotten worse. I’ve broken my hand so I can no longer get some of the smaller labor jobs in the shipping yards. My brother has also taken a pay cut at work. After this all happened he started getting angry at me for not pulling my weight. One day without warning his wife came to me and told me I should leave. I didn't ask any questions or fight it. I knew it was coming. It was too hard to watch my brother struggle anyways. He works so hard to feed his family and when he doesn't he blames himself. he doesn't have time to take care of a crippled too. This depression hasn't just hurt my brother its also hurt my old family. My ex wife’s father contacted my brother who was able to find me living in a shack outside the shipping yards waiting for my hand to get better. He said that he had the my kids living with him and his wife. My ex wife wasn't able to support the kids anymore. He told me she was working in a sewing factory living alone on low pay. It was unfortunate to hear but thats the same thing thats happening to millions of other people in America including me. I tried to forget about her and decided to just go see the kids. It was terrible seeing them after all this time and having to tell Reuben Jr.that he couldn’t come live with me.
9: It is 1939 I have lost track of the time and date. I am starving and lonely it has been 4 years since I was kicked out of my brother Arams home. It has been 2 months since my last chance to work in the shipping yard and it only provided me with 3 meals. I am currently sleeping in hooverville. It is so unsanitary that it would be almost impossible to live a normal healthy life. I have never been this hungry in my life but hope is on the horizon. I overheard some people talking about this ‘new deal’ which is supposed to provide a lot of jobs and help the everyday man such as myself. This ‘new deal’ is supposed to to create jobs by having the government issue the building of a lot of bridges and other construction buildings. I like this FDR guy he gets what the everyday man needs to survive and realizes we are the key to getting this economy back on its feet. I just got a job building bridges in California. I’m on my way there as I write, things are finally looking up for this hardworking citizens. I have learned from my mistakes and I am hoping to start a family and live a good innocent life. As of right now I am writing from the great state of Colorado on my way to California as a part of President FDR’s new plan to get people jobs by creating roads throughout the country. I met a girl the last time we stopped to fuel up on gasoline and she is a sweetheart. I'm taking her with me to California and we are hoping to start a nice big family because I will finally have some stable work. I have hope that things are looking up for once in a long while. Things just seem too good to be true. I spent so many years not trusting the government and now I am relying on them. I hope they will not betray me. I see on the horizon a hopeful future in the form of the beautiful California landscape. I guess I don't need this journal anymore to vent my feelings so I leave this journal in a better state of livings then when I started.
10: "Modern American History." Modern American History. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.