A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness--and a Trove of Letters--Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression

29 Nov

A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness--and a Trove of Letters--Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression

A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness--and a Trove of Letters--Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression

Language: English

Pages: 384


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"A wonderful reminder that economic hardship can bring suffering but can also foster compassion and community." -The Boston Globe

In hard economic times like these, readers will find bestselling author Ted Gup's unique book uplifting as well as captivating. Inside a suitcase kept in his mother's attic, Gup discovered letters written to his grandfather in response to an ad placed in a Canton, Ohio, newspaper in 1933 that offered cash to seventy-five families facing a devastating Christmas. The author travels coast to coast to unveil the lives behind the letters, describing a range of hardships and recreating in his research the hopes and suffering of Depression-era Americans, even as he uncovers the secret life led by the grandfather he thought he knew.



















causeway without thinking of him and paying homage to the man whose crossing brought us all to this place. IX. True Circumstances Final Reflections The gifts that Sam Stone gave that Christmas 1933 came from a man who understood what it was to be down-and-out. But there was more to it than that. It was no accident that he chose Christmas, a holiday marked for Christians, not Jews, and that he specifically wished his Gentile neighbors a “merry and joyful Christmas.” For Sam, the

marine sergeant, in five years of service, was deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, and the Horn of Africa, and was even on the USS Nassau when, in December 2002, it boarded a North Korean ship carrying SCUD missiles to Yemen. Like his great-grandfather, he is reluctant to speak of his time in the service. “We don’t really talk about it,” he says. “We just did it, that’s all. I don’t tell anybody.” Charles Stewart would have saluted such silence. FOR SOME

lying as you are welcome to come and see me Mr Chester A.Young 1111 3rd St SW Canton Ohio I sure will thank you very much for Help and to make my children a Merry Christmas. God bles you and family. And Merry Xmas & Happy new Year. Answer please thank. Nancy Young had good reason to fret about her family. She knew the true depths of personal loss, though she made no mention of it in her letter. It was yet another example of the trauma of life in those years and the culture that kept its sorrows

yet for all the toughness of those words, he was never unkind to others. He was shy and socially awkward, had few friends, and preferred to bury himself in books at the public library. He is said to have been brilliant and quoted Shakespeare at length. He worked at Stone Brothers, selling clothes alongside brothers Mack and Al, but even there he did not fit in. He drank, usually alone. He died in November 1964 at the age of sixty-nine. At first, no one noticed his passing. It was the odor that

must ask for charity but we managed to get by. Mr. Beggs is a salesman and has been for seven years and we always made a good living until a year ago. We were buying our home in the N.W. end on Frazier Ave., but lost that. Then a year ago in September we lost a baby boy and I was sick nearly the whole winter which meant doctor bills. In April of this year our little girl 2 years old had to have a mastoid operation. Dr. Underwood was just grand and said he would operate and would wait on his

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