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FC: Anna's Diary | By Zach Goldstein and Connor Peay

1: Entry 1. Sept 3, 1917 Ah! such a long day on the fields. Pop had me carrying bales of wheat ALL day. I swear, if i pick up one more bale my back is going to fall off. I would be pretty mad if we wasn’t making such good money, cause this labor is tough! Life is good otherwise, our family is very happy, the baby is cuter than ever and Pop says we haven’t done this well in a long time. Pop was telling me about this thing called credit today, the bank gives him money so he can get new equipment and then he can pay ‘em back whenever when he gets the money. Great thing right!? This way we can collect way more crops and make more money faster! Pop says that the reason we are doing so well is because of the war. The need for our wheat out in Europe helps us keep prices and income high!

2: Tomorrow is the first day of school and i am so excited! Pop and Ma say that this is my last year of school. In the 8th grade we get to learn about America and its history. It will be fun because after this year i can help Ma with the baby and Pop on the farm all the time. Its gonna be sad saying bye to all my friends though, I’m gonna miss Billy and Jean so much. They are practically my family but now that we ‘aint gonna see each other at school, I’m never gonna see ‘em! But working on the farm all the time wont be so bad after all! I enjoy the simple life I live here. Pop has taught us to be happy with what we have even though it is not like the exciting city life in the east. I sure am happy!

3: Entry 1. October 8, 1918 Hey there! I haven’t written in here in a while and i got some bad news. Pop is saying that he hears the war is coming to an end. This is bad news for us ‘cause we are making a lot of money selling lots of wheat to Europe. Pop is still optimistic though! He tells us not to worry because he will find a way to keep a steady income pay back his credit. I’ve always trusted Pop anyways. I really hope he’s right because Pop relies greatly on his wheat. Although things are good now, I have a bad feeling that they may not get better. Maybe i should just stop worrying so much.

4: Today in school my teacher was telling us some interesting stories about the eastern way of life. I can’t imagine our town being filled with cars and huge buildings and factories. If farming wheat does not work out here, then i want to head there! From what my teacher told me, there are so many more opportunities over there. Life is more exciting, people go to shows and movies and don’t worry about their money at all! I don’t know how they can do it. I talked to Pop about the east but he told me to stop with such silly ideas. He says all of this new stuff that’s happening is unnecessary. He is sure that this will only lead to problems. I don’t believe him but maybe I should.

5: Entry 2. May 13, 1929 It’s been a while but I’m back. Our family has faced some serious problems recently. Pop was right, the war in Europe did end, and the demand for our goods decreased severely. We are no longer able to receive good prices for our wheat. Pop is becoming frustrated and so is the whole family. We are not able to spend like we used to and the food we eat is now limited. It costs more money to plant and tend to the wheat then the actual profit Pop makes off of selling the wheat. The situation is the same for every body around us. I think its starting to take a toll on the economy. I really hope things don’t stay this way though because I don’t know how much longer we can live this way.

6: Everybody in our town is suffering from the end of the war. Mr. Wilson, our neighbor, has recently abandoned his farm and left town. Pop has become hopeless. No matter how hard he tries, he is unable to make good money off of his crops. Pop is scared that he will be unable to pay back the money he borrowed from the bank for his tools and equipment. Life’s not like it had been before. We don’t enjoy luxuries anymore, we struggle to make every cent we can. Any money I earn now must go to Pop. On top of this, the ground has become very dry and growing wheat has become extremely hard. I do not know what this will bring in the future but I hope everything turns out alright.

7: Entry 2. June 3, 1931 Sorry it’s been a while, but things have gotten a lot worse! All of that dry, eroded land has been kicked up by wind storms. This has created constant dust storms in the area! This dust is destroying cars, homes and farms. Pop can no longer farm because every time he plants seeds, they are blown away by the dust. No matter how hard we try, we cannot keep the dust out of our house. We place rags on the windows and doors but the dust still comes in. It gets all over the place and ruins our food and drinks. We must constantly sweep and clean now. We must also spend most of our time time focusing on staying away from the dust and it’s taking a toll on all of us.

8: Our family is becoming sick and depressed and we can no longer make ends meat. Pop cannot pay back his loans and things are looking very bleak. I don’t know what to do. Pop is mad that the government is not helping us and those around us. Many people are beginning to abandon their homes and head out west. School is shut down today because of the severe storms. The last time I was in school, my teacher told the class about how people who abandon our town hop on freight trains that are heading west. It is very dangerous but maybe that would be the best thing for our family. I don’t enjoy life like I used to here. I want to be happy like i had been in the past.

9: Entry 3. September 13, 1932 Pop always talks about how bad our recent president is and that hes happy that the election is coming up. From what he’s heard, big changes are going to come. He always tells me how Hoover, the president at the moment, is horrible. From what Pop says, Hoover believes in giving little government support to citizens. He only likes helping big businesses in hope that the wealth will trickle down to individuals. This is not the case. At this time, a majority of people are suffering and are sick of Hoover. Pop says we need someone who can provide the suffering population with the relief they need. It will be hard for Ma and Pop to go out during the storm and vote but they said it’s worth the risk. Change needs to come.

10: Pop tells me about his discussions with neighbors and friends. They all hate Hoover and the plans he’s made to “help” the current problem. In the East, the stock market has crashed and a large amount of people have lost their jobs and all of their money. Hoover thinks all this was caused by things outside of our control. I don’t buy it. He should take some responsibility himself! Hoover thinks that the less government involvement, the better... boy is he mistaken. He should know he is messing up, his country is a mess and his people hate him! I believe that he is a fraud, he only wants to help people at the top and he will not let the federal government deal with any relief. I can’t wait till he’s out of here.

11: Entry 3. September 24, 1932 I’m back again with some new information. I learned some more about Hoovers “relief” plans. Some seem pretty bad but others I do not mind. I can agree with his Agricultural Marketing Act because it gives farmers like us relief during a time of falling prices. On the other hand, I can’t stand his other plans. I can’t believe how the Hawley Smoot- Tarrif and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation are only there to help big businesses. Even though Hoover’s plans were not quite as bad as I thought, I still have no trust in the man. Everyone in this country needs some change and he is just not cutting it. Pop told me about a new presidential candidate. His name is Franklin Roosevelt.

12: Pop and the rest of his friends seem dead set on this guy. Pop tells us how he is the perfect man for the job at this time. He is focused on helping individuals instead of businesses. He seems very motivated as well. Unlike Hoover, he believes that the first duty of the government is to help its citizens. He seems like the right man for the job. I believe he will get the job because almost everybody in this country likes him as well. This time calls for drastic measures and that is what Roosevelt is willing to give us. Roosevelt has promised change and we all believe him. Ma, Pop and I can wait to vote for him!

13: Entry 4. October 6, 1932 My family and I have been through some very tough times in the past few years. Problems continued to increase and worsen as the years went on. At first came the end of the war. Although Pop saw it coming he could do nothing about it. We were all forced to learn that we must survive with what we have and that we could not be selfish or feel sorry for ourselves. Although this event ruined years of my childhood, it taught me to be much tougher. Our whole family has learned how to be better savers and learned how to live with what we have. We became much closer through these events. We were forced to cooperate and work with each other and although it was agonizing and depressing, we also learned from it. We grew as a family and as individuals.

14: Although we couldn’t overcome our troubles after the war, we learned to live and cope with them. When we began losing profit, we had to cut back and live modestly. We ate small simple meals. We stopped attending shows on the weekends as well. This was the hardest for Ma who loved to go out and loved to spend money. We also had to all work harder and help Pop in the fields. To make up for the lowering prices of wheat, Pop needed more output of the crop. This made our family very hardworking and motivated. Although things after the war took a turn for the worse, our family was able to learn from these problems. It has taught us the way we live today, modest, motivated and hardworking.

15: Entry 4. October 28th, 1932 After the end of the war came the dust storms. The problems we were forced to overcome became more numerous. Not only was it close to impossible to make money off of the wheat we had grown, it was now almost impossible to harvest it. Dust was everywhere, getting in our eyes, lungs and mouths. It had killed most of the wheat and made it nearly impossible to harvest what was left. Pop was forced to sell items in our home to make the money we needed to survive. He sold Ma’s jewelry, our car, and some furniture. We still remained in severe debt but we did what we had to do to survive. Although it wasn’t pleasant, we did our best to work through it. At least we weren’t like the others who thought the best decision was to take their own lives.

16: The dust was unbearable! We had to wear wet cloths over our faces to keep the dust out of our mouths and noses. These attempts were unsuccessful. The dust would get into our lungs and cause constant sickness. During the years, we learned to become more careful and constantly made sure we were safe from the dust. We were not able to go out of the house much. We coped with this by spending more quality family time and enjoy what we had. The dust storm forced us to become alert and tough. From the beginning Pop told us that whining and feeling sorry for ourselves would get us nowhere. We've always listened to him and he was right, our hard work and toughness has helped us survive during these hard times.

17: Entry 5. May 16th, 1933 Sorry it's been a while but I have some great news! Roosevelt won the presidential election by a landslide. Pop was right, everybody wanted this guy to win. 42 out of the 48 states favored him. Hopefully this man lives up to his promises of change because we sure do need it. Pop said we will see a lot more government help and that Roosevelt will definitely get us out of this mess. Our whole town is excited. We all have something to look forward to now. Pop heard some great news from his out of town friend. He told Pop that Roosevelt is introducing some sorts of new policies and deals.

18: He called one of these policies the “Bank Holiday”. Roosevelt plans to close all banks to have them federally inspected before reopening. I think this is a great idea because it will decide which banks are suited to give out smart loans in the future. Roosevelt is also putting a few government acts and commissions together to protect investors in stock markets and banks. The Federal Securities Act, the SEC and the Federal Reserve Board were all created to regulate and protect the stock market and its investors. The FDIC insures all people who put their savings into banks. When all of the problems with the stock market hit, almost everybody lost their savings and none of it was backed up or returned. This is good for Pop who lost a small saving from a local bank years ago. Pop tells us all stories about how there is even more to come! He reckons that the new deal is just getting started.

19: Entry 5. April 19, 1935 I now know what Pop was telling me about. The new deal has come into place! Roosevelt has created so much for us, I don’t know where to start. I want to start by talking about the NYA. The NYA is the National Youth Administration. It is set up in schools across the country. In my school, I get 18 dollars a month to complete “work study” projects. I am able to learn and make money at the same time. This is also helping out the whole family because it provided Pop with a part time job as a mechanic in town. There are a few other programs helping us out as well.

20: The Agricultural Adjustment Act has affected us directly. This was put in place to decrease the amount of crops farmers were producing. I know that sounds wrong, but in return for decreasing our crops, we receive checks from the government. I know Pop is a big farmer and he enjoys a plentiful harvest, but he decided it would be beneficial for him to stick with the plan. Others are against this plan. They think is wasteful for us to get rid of crops when it could go to those without food. I can understand that, but I agree with the plan as long as we receive a steady income. My only problem is with the Social Security Administration because it doesn’t include farmers like us and it makes us feel left out. Other than this, I like the change that has come. Overall our lives have taken a turn for the better and Roosevelt has put us on the right track.

22: Links to Photos...


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