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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Christine and Dave Galliher, August 8, 1979. Interview H-0314. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Surviving during the Great Depression without work

Christine and Dave Galliher describe what it was like to live in Elizabethton, Tennessee, during the first few years of the Great Depression. Earlier in the interview, the Gallihers had explained how they had both been blackballed from the textile mills following the 1929 strike. Although Christine later returned to the mills in 1935, she did not work between 1929 and 1935, whereas Dave found work sporadically. They explain how they were able to survive and support their infant daughter with such a limited income because they had a place to live without utilities expenses and they were able to grow and gather their own food.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Christine and Dave Galliher, August 8, 1979. Interview H-0314. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

ACQUELYN HALL:
But you were able to stay home for six years and live just on one salary?
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
You see, that ran on into the Depression years. No, neither one of us had a job. You just made out from hand to mouth.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did you get by?
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
I don't know how people survived. I suppose it's just your spirit or something, because I don't believe young people today could survive. We're just survivors, I guess. It boils down to that.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have a garden and raise your own food?
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
Yes, and he picked blackberries. I'd can a lot. If he'd get an odd job or anything, that went for . . . You'd buy . . . [END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A] [TAPE 1, SIDE B] [START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B] [Beginning of tape inaudible]
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
You worked some at the chair factory.
DAVE GALLIHER:
Yes.
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
It went broke. You see, everything just folded up. at the chair factory. Then they cut wages again. And then they moved the plant from here to Johnson City. He got to go to Johnson City. But by that time they had cut wages down to around $1.35 a day, wasn't it? But by combining the two together at Johnson City, they went broke. It was just during that Depression; it was just one of those things. But we just about
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have any help from your family?
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
No, very little. There for maybe two years, we lived in a house that belonged to my daddy. Now that way, we didn't have to pay any house rentAnd we carried water. There was a spring at . Because if you didn't have any utilities,stay healthy and pay your bills.We carried our water.
JACQUELYN HALL:
Did you have any kids?
CHRISTINE GALLIHER:
We had one, a girl. She lives in Jefferson City now. She's lived all over, moving around place to place. She can remember that. You had the lamps withoil in them, kerosene. You had no utilities to pay.you couldn't get by now without your utilities, and without a job you couldn't pay. I don't know how anybody could survive now through that, with the bills they have to pay.