The Great Depression was the worst period economically in our nation’s history. The Great Depression began with the stock market crash of 1929 and was made worse by the 1930’s Dust Bowl. There was a worldwide economic downturn that began in 1929 and lasted until about 1939. It was the longest and most severe “depression” ever experienced by the industrialized Western world, sparking fundamental changes in economic institutions, economic policy, and economic theory. Although it originated in the United States, the Great Depression caused drastic declines in output, severe unemployment, and acute deflation in almost every country of the world. Its social and cultural effects were no less staggering, especially in the United States, where the Great Depression represented the harshest adversity faced by Americans since the Civil War.
As I wrote in Family Stories #1, Nate joined the family in 1929, the year the depression started, joining brothers Jim and Buck. Thus, Jake and Juby started into the Depression with three children and added four more during the depression. Bobbie Jean (BJ), Bill, Peggy and Patsy were born in 1930, 1932, 1934, and 1936 respectively.
This story takes place during the early days of the Depression but is not about the Depression. Instead, it is about a couple, Jake and Juby.
Flash forward to about 1954, Peggy comes home from college for the weekend. Sitting around the supper table she said, “Mom, something strange happened to me. In my social-studies class we have a lot of discussions. This week a girl I barely know said to me that she bet my parents never argued.” Peggy continued to explain that she had never mentioned this in class, in fact she had never thought about it, but it was true. She had never heard Jake and Juby argue with each other.
After four lead paragraphs we get to Family Story #9 about a couple who never argued. Now every married couple has many opportunities to disagree, argue, get mad, and possibly escalate a disagreement into warfare. It is not that Jake and Juby had no disagreements, but I never saw them get angry or argue. They might discuss a decision back and forth over a period of days, but one or the other would come around. And it was not a one-way situation such that Dad’s opinion always won out, or Mother’s. Jake tended to reason through each topic and at some point, might say: “I think that you are right.” This ended the discussion. When Juby decided that she needed to give in she would frequently reconcile with a light-hearted comment. She might say “We have been talking about this for an hour. I think that is enough time for it and I have to fix dinner, so I will agree with you even though I know I’m right (with a grin).”
They had a deep and abiding respect for each other, and I believe that is a secret we could all use to have peace in our relationships. They supported each other and used their different skills to make each other better people. Mom (Juby) did tell me about one time that supporting Dad became very difficult. The family attended Big Creek Baptist Church and Jake was the Sunday School Superintendent, responsible for all the Bible teachers. He would frequently invite some of the congregation to come home with them for Sunday dinner. Juby was an excellent cook and she thought that these dinners were a good way to encourage fellowship with others in the church. And if a new family visited the church, they were sure to be invited. Juby was already cooking for nine, so a few more were not too difficult. Then one Sunday Jake invited two families to dinner. At this point Juby decided that she would have to stay home Sunday mornings in order to fix enough food for a larger group. She did not complain or make a big deal of the extra work. She just did it.
The number of visitors seemed to increase each week so that one Sunday it was 3:00 in the afternoon before everyone was served. In telling me this story Mom did not exactly say that they had an argument, it was more a one-sided discussion: She simply said, “That’s enough, I am going back to church next Sunday.” And she did.
Any of you who are married, are dating, or have some special friends, I think that Juby would advise you in the following way: Practice mutual respect, listen more than you speak, when you speak do it softly, and sometimes a one-sided discussion may be necessary.