Becoming “Specialists in Living”

Dear Reader:

With so many Americans facing financial troubles these days…we can’t help but think back to the Great Depression. Personal stories about growing up during this period were told  to me, in abundance, at family gatherings. Mother and all her siblings, plus cousins, grew up during these difficult years.

*It is why Tom Brokaw labeled them later the “ The Greatest Generation” in his popular book by that same name.

Written in 1998 Brokaw profiled those who grew up in our country during the deprivation of the Great Depression and then went on to fight in World War II. Others fought  home front “battles” to produce massive quantities of decisive materials as their contribution to the war effort!

I grew up hearing about all the odd jobs Uncle Herschel and Harlette did (as youngsters) to make any amount of money…even nickles and dimes…to help keep the farm going during the Depression. Later they both served in World War II.  Mother and her sister, Eva, sewed and knitted clothing materials to send to the war front through the USO.

My father also served in WWII (with the 12th Tactical RED SQ) and was involved in “Air Offensive Normandy,” as well as, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe. He returned with the rank of Sergeant receiving six bronze service stars and the Distinguished Unit Badge for the 14th HQ 9th AF!  How very young he was!

He grew up in the tobacco fields of Smithfield, NC and was definitely a self-made man…destined to be a bright star…until his untimely death at age 31. (But come to think about it…maybe he just achieved that status early too! )

I love these two pictures of mother at Cape Fear falls in Fayetteville, North Carolina where she was working when she met daddy on a “blind date.” I can tell she was  fearless and a risk-taker from the second picture and she would need these attributes after losing daddy so young, then her left hand to cancer, and raising three children alone. Extraordinary woman. Brokaw was right “The greatest generation.”

Mother told me that she and Eva (sister on the left) and Grandmother got all dressed up in their best dresses in this photo to celebrate V-E Day! May 8, 1945.

An editorial in the October 1932 issue of Ladies Home Journal reminded readers that “The return of good times is not wholly a matter of money. There is a prosperity of living which is quite as important as prosperity of the pocketbook!”

” We must build what amounts to a new country. We must revive the ideals of the founders. We must learn the new values of money. It is time to create a new security for the home and the family…Where we were once specialists in spending, we now must become specialists in living.(Source: Simple Abundance-Breathnache)

So until tomorrow…All we need  is our own light and the stars of heaven…throw in some good old-fashioned grit and Amazing Grace…and we will overcome this pandemic.

“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

The Ginger Shells that Vickie gave me several years ago are standing tall this season, with all the rain…adding a beautiful perimeter to the growing moon flower vines, lantana, and baskets.

The sun made its appearance early yesterday afternoon and within an hour…bright blooms were popping (like popcorn) all over the garden (zinnias, pentas, ganzias, etc)….so happy to see the sun.

Pam Stewart forwarded me this idealistic scene…appeals to me right now…would love to go rock with a huge glass of ice-y sweet tea! The “manna” of the south! 🙂 The best de-stresser of all! 🙂

Colby shared this warmly welcoming (the College of Education) informational “invitation” she just received on-line…made her feel even more excited at the upcoming year! What a cute picture Colby and what a fantastic teacher you will be…it’s in your genes! Great way to start the year Clemson!


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Becoming “Specialists in Living”

  1. Beverly Dufford says:

    I was 11 years old when World War Two ended, and I remember so many things from those days. My friend from England told me about living through the German Blitz which lasted from Sept. 7, 1940 to May ll, 1941, 8 months and 5 days ,and at one time it was 56 days/nights straight. I guess when we look at what those people survived then, it puts a different light on what we’re asked to do: wear a mask, wash your hands and try to avoid crowds to win the war against Covid-19. Still it is hard to stay away from good friends. I liked your title picture about In life we are Given a test to teach a lesson. I’m sure there are many lessons being taught to us now, and I can only hope we are learning them. Thanks for the picture of Colby and kind remarks. She is so excited, and we are hoping the schools will be able to open.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Me too…safely for everyone…but we sure do need more people doing their part to send Covid19 back into cyber space or wherever it wants to go after leaving earth. The only way to get rid of this virus is for everyone to work together…we must be kind and caring to ourselves and others….only then can we all return safely to a new improved life…hopefully!


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