Begin the Beguine
Hello, welcome to The 1930s Project.
This is the beginning of my journey home.
I have always admired my Grandparents’ generation. They were born in the first decades of the 20th Century, were children during the Great War, came of age in the Jazz-era 1920s and began families in the depths of the Depression of the 1930s. They survived WWII and the Cold War, living their American lives, with families, careers and hobbies just like most others of their time.
I am struck with how different the 21st Century is, and what it is shaping up to be. Just two generations removed from living off the land, we are more familiar with computers, cell phones, hybrid vehicles and 1080p HDTV than the life cycles of birth and death, spring and fall, renewal and decay.
The question for me has always been: How can I recapture the lessons of the past, and live a life that honors those values, captures the essence of my history and still be relevant to a modern world.
I don’t know how to answer that until I have lived in the past, as fully as possible.
So for two weeks in August, 2011, I will attempt to live a life based in the Depression-era times of the 1930s. I will undertake a journey to understand what a woman in my position in 2011 would feel as a woman of 1936. I am going to base my experiences largely on what I have learned about my grandmothers, and what would have been fairly common experiences for most lower-middle class wives and mothers at the time.
The posts leading up to the experiment will explore the background research I am doing, my own personal history, and some of the resources I have found to help make this project as authentic as possible.
I do not harbor any romanticized notions at the outset. I am well aware that there were, and are, significant struggles underlying much of what flotsam of history we choose to view through the lens of nostalgia. I am searching for the truth, the hard reality of the time and whether I could have made it.