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The Great Depression today

You had to have been hungry in your life to understand the emotional zap I got today. Living with my grandfather on the farm meant food on the table during the 1930’s but at age 7 my father remarried and I lived with someone psychologically unprepared to be a dad; a slice of dried bologna in the icebox, alongside a case of beer, nothing else. I left home at age 14.

A Publix advertisement caught my attention. Cereal… Buy-one- get-one-free… Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops and Corn Pops. Not my preference but I’m no longer a child.

My brain did some fiscal gymnastics figuring out how I could feed some hungry kids. Missing a round of golf would do, avoiding the stadium, or waiting another year for replacing shoes would do it. Being frugal would save enough to feed several kids.

I went to Publix on Highway 29 in Lilburn and pled the hungry kids’ case. I bought a carton of Fruit Loops and they provided another free, with employees smiling while tap-dancing around the limit of ten, for $57.00.

I went to Publix on Five Forks Trickum and did the same routine. I bought one more carton and got a freebie; 32 boxes of Frosted Flakes and Corn Pops for $62.00. Frosted Flakes were higher. Some deprived kids were going to smile.

Then satisfaction really set in, seeing children race into Lilburn Co-op like whippets on steroids. I saw several kids with one box of the cereal I had just delivered. I saw one kid actually eating a hamburger bun. No meat. I thought about dried bologna. 73 years ago? Memory hangs on.

Fortunately I abandoned lusting for stuff long ago. I have been a conservative for decades. Most people are not lazy. Many were sandbagged by financial irresponsibility in the United States and in other regions around the world, victims of circumstances beyond their control. America still is a beacon of hope, floundering some internally, but still a beacon.

Being charitable is satisfying. In order to afford cereal we avoid the seventh inning stretch, gold logging chains and diamond encrusted Rolexes. We resist commercial glut. We drive a 2009 car. Dinner is much cheaper at home.

Frugality permits us the satisfaction of being more charitable providing food for hungry kids. My wife volunteers at the Co-op. She is aware of a growing concern and assists the Co-op in buying milk and eggs for kids during the summer when they are without school lunches.

Our charitable instincts were forged because of situations encountered when we were young, my wife picking cotton and me cleaning out barn stalls and milking cows.

My wife was leaving for lunch. She looked chic; a plaid skirt and white blouse, looking like she shops at Nordstrom’s, for only $1.00 each at Lily’s Cloak in the Lilburn Co-op. She smiled and waved as she drove off. I mowed the lawn.

Bill is a WW II Navy veteran and retired President of York Furs in Buckhead. You can contact him by email at