During the Great Depression, there was basically one option for entertainment: reading

“What do we do for entertainment when we’re stuck at home? For South Dakota women during the Great Depression, there was pretty much one option: reading.”

Grandma loved to read and her father subscribed to National Geographic, his favorite magazine. They lived on a farm just south of a small town in eastern South Dakota called Lake Preston.

Learning more about life during the Dust Bowl and the Depression has been a goal of mine ever since I heard stories from my grandmother and her brother, Everett. I never gave much thought to it until I became obsessed with genealogy. That was 1989, my freshman year in high school.

I wanted to gather as much information as possible to help explain my own history and story. Much of it had long been neglected. A lot of it had been forgotten, some forever, sadly.

One story my grandmother told me was the family surrounding the radio on Sundays, eating popcorn and listening to their favorite shows. Sunday was a special day for her growing up.

The tradition of reading National Geographic continues to this day, first carried on by my great uncle Everett, his son Doug, and then me. I particularly love collecting National Geographic maps, works of art which have been inserted into the magazines for decades.


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