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Ronald Probstein – The Great Depression

The Great Depression From Honest Sid

by Ronald Probstein

          The Great Depression shaped much of Honest Sid.  The general situation is described on p. 58:

“ In the fall of 1932, Roosevelt had been elected President; still, while there was new hope, one-third of the American workforce was unemployed, with the figure even higher in New York.  Every half-dozen blocks there were lines of hungry men who waited for a meager handout of bread, soup and coffee; countless thousands of homeless were sleeping in subway trains and stations, telephone booths, empty lots, parks and under bridges.  Men had no jobs, no money, nothing with which to feed their families.”

But the Depression affected every individual differently. Sid’s wife knew his addiction to the horses and when one day she learned he gone to work in a horse betting parlor she greeted him when he came home with (p. 60):

“What the hell are you doing?” in a shrill and belligerent voice.

“Listen, Sally, let me explain.  Things ain’t the same.  Makin’ a buck on theater tickets is tough.  I just wasn’t getting’ the calls anymore.”

“But why the horses?”

……he said, “ Look, Sal.  Things are so bad.  At least the plugs give you a better play than the slots or the numbers. Any palooka knows the only way he has even a chance of getting” out of hock without stickin’ up a bank is gamblin’”

The thought of a job never even passed through Sid’s head.

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Genre – Biographies & Memoirs

Rating – PG13

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