My parents in 1941.
They were part of the "greatest generation"--the incredibly hardworking people who pulled this country out of the depression and onward, through WWII.
My father was a young teen during the depression. My mother was a tween. She used the same 6 bobby pins for five years. She learned to sew her own clothing. Her family owned a dairy. My grandfather just kept delivering milk to the families who were not able to pay their bills until he went broke. They never recovered financially.
My father worked two after school jobs at 17. His father owned a grist mill and he worked there, too. So, three jobs, really. His two brothers worked just as hard and they all made it through The Colorado School of Mines in about six years, taking turns: two in, one out, working full time.
I keep thinking about them lately. How they managed.
One Christmas, when I am sure there was very little money, my mother bought a few small gifts and hid them all over the house. When we woke up Christmas morning, there was a green string for me--and a red one for my sister--each tied to a branch of the Christmas tree. We followed the string, winding it up as we went all over the house, out into the yard, the porch, the garage. Sometimes the string was overhead, or wound in a back and forth pattern around chair legs... it was a great Christmas. It took an hour or more of laughing and complaining and teasing and criss-crossing and untangling, to open two or three presents--none of which I remember at all.