Special Report : Make yourself Depression Proof - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Special Report : Make yourself Depression Proof

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Essie Simpson Essie Simpson
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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

November 10, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Could it happen to us?  Are we in a recession?  Is a depression right around the corner?

 While some experts say a depression isn't likely, are there ways you can make your family depression proof?

Here are some tips from people who lived through one of the darkest financial times this country has ever known.

At 89, Essie Simpson is just as spry as ever.  "I out dance my children any day," she brags.

And she's as resourceful as she's always been.  Instead of buying sweet potatoes from the store, "See, you have to put dirt on potatoes, 'cause they grow in dirt." She grows her own. 

She's never owned, and refuses to buy a clothes dryer, because, after all, mother nature can take care of that.  All she has to do is put them on the line.

"Naw, baby.  I enjoy doing it.  Sometimes I do things just to see can I still do it."

Lessons learned from growing up during the depression.  Do for yourself, or do without.

It's a lesson Doris Fowler also knows well. "Well, I was born in 1919, and yes, I definitely remember it."

When the little money her parents had in the bank suddenly disappeared. "I remember it vividly. It seemed like it went of for quite some time."

Even so, her family didn't suffer as badly as many others.  Since they didn't have much to start with, they didn't feel as though they were doing without during the depression.

"We didn't have everything like children do today." Instead of buying toys from the store, her mother made them, and there was more of a focus on education than recreation.

"At Christmas my sister and I always got a book.  If we didn't get anything else, we got a book."

As far as food, there weren't many trips to the grocery store. "My father always had a large garden.  He had a cow, he had chickens."

For clothing, her uncle would send clothes that people forgot to pick up from his dry cleaning service. "My mother was a wonderful seamstress," she said.

Still, Mrs. Fowler doesn't believe in wasteful spending. "When something breaks, try to fix it," she said.  "Don't just throw it out and get a new one.  We just had our TV repaired yesterday.  I couldn't see buying a new one when we got it repaired for $85, even though it was 10 years old."

A lesson she thinks others need to learn in these tough times. "I think people live too high and there's just a lot of things they could do without."

And make your family depression proof.  Both women say credit cards should not be used carelessly, but only in emergencies or when you plan to immediately pay them off.

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