The Depression put stresses on many families. For Merrily Kurtz, whose mother had died when she was just five years old, the Depression first meant her father working at a series of jobs trying to keep his family together. When he realized that the work was too much, he asked his wife’s parents to help raise his young children. They first lived in a Portland, Oregon, neighborhood, but then later moved to a farm in the country.
I don’t think I was aware the Depression was going on. I enjoyed life as it was. I had a good time. I had my meals, I never had to go hungry. Of course I didn’t have some of the niceties, but this is out in the country. There were a lot of blackberry vines. I got to wear shoes that came up over your ankle and I had the largest size at that time and the next time, when my feet grew they couldn’t fit me. That hurt (laughing).
This photograph shows Merrily and her brother with her grandmother. It comes from the collection of Merrily Kurtz Hewett.