MEMORIES OF THE THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND THE LOSS OF OUR FAMILY FARM.

 Anthony Lentini

Anthony Lentini

Although the US economy began to recover in the second quarter of 1933, it largely stalled for most of 1934. It started to recover again in late 1935 and continued into 1937, when a new depression occurred. The American economy had yet to fully recover from the Great Depression. Our family moved to Campbell ,Ohio in 1939 shortly after My dad passed away from pneumonia in  May of 1938. he was only 42 years of age at the time. It was 3 years later when the United States was drawn into World War ll  in December 1941. Because of the agonizing slow economy, the entire decade of the 1930s in the United States became known as the Great Depression.

On January 31 1941, Cousin Domenic and his friend Frankie began sled riding down the sidewalk of first street on a homemade sled made of old orange crates. The rungs of the sled had curtain rods nailed to the bottom to give it speed as it glided over the snow. The sled had handle grips that enabled the rider to shift his weight to help glide the sled. It had no moving parts and could not make sharp turns to the left or right such as one made in a factory. I followed behind Domenic & Frankie on my new sled as started at the top of Main street and rode down the hill, however before I reached the bottom; I turned off the sidewalk and came to a stop on First Street, which had been cleared of snow. I knew the sharp turn at the corner of the wall was difficult and dangerous because of trucks and other vehicles passing through the intersection. 

      As Domenic’s sled approached the bottom of the hill, his friend Frankie rolled off on to the sidewalk when he realized they could not make the sharp turn around the corner.  Domenic, traveling too fast and unable to turn the corner, continued straight into the highway. I couldn’t believe my eyes when my sled came to a stop and I stood up. Domenic was lying in the middle of the highway; his body crushed beyond recognition. I began to cry and scream as I ran toward the corner where this horrifying sight remains with me to this day.

      Domenic died under the wheels of a Semi-trailer truck loaded with steel. I recall that day very well as I stood there with him and watched as he gave his toy handcuffs to a friend in exchange for the homemade sled that would take him to his death a few minutes later. The children began screaming when they watched this disturbing sight.

       The teachers ushered us into the classrooms and asked to bow our heads in prayer. Children prayed in school in those days, regardless of their religion. It was the American way and the right thing to do. I could see the sadness on their little faces, as silence covered the classroom. We would never see or play with Domenic again. It was a day we would all remember for the rest of our lives.


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