1930 — Marion, North Carolina
Family life was extremely hard during the Great Depression. But if you lived in the mountains of North Carolina, it just seemed "more than hard." Mama once told me that as she and her sister walked to school one morning, they passed through a turnip field. The good turnips had already been harvested, but lying on the ground were the runts or worse, ones that no one else wanted. As they passed through, the hunger was so consuming that they grabbed up those turnips and ate all they could hold. When they got to school, they weren't hungry anymore, mostly because they were sick.
My grandmother was the best person I ever new. One of her daughters and my own mother was sickly and suffered greatly due to being so undernourished. My mother's name was Minnie Mardecia. Now that's a good old southern name for you. She was truly beautiful, and so were her sisters. They came from some great stock from England that bore a most important name of Ball. They never new how important until one day during the Depression my grandmother received a letter from Senator Estes Kefauver of North Carolina requesting that she relinquish her rights to Pennsylvania Avenue. A small amount of money was included, we think, probably an amount that seemed like millions during that time in history. And like any good mother concerned over the condition of her family in those days, she signed the paper and sent it back, not knowing what she was giving up in turn for a pentance.