My dad was born in 1915, so he was coming of age at the start of the Great Depression. His dad had been killed in 1921 from lead poisoning (he was shot - it wasn't a hunting accident - he was caught with another man's wife.) So my dad had already been working on a farm since he was 7 years old. He was a farm hand and was going to school. So, Monday - Friday he'd wake up, feed and milk the cow, feed chickens and whatever else. He lived in a section of the barn that we'd now call a breezeway - it connected to the house. On Fridays when he got paid, he'd take the money home to his mom. He went to school up to his 10th grade year (Sophomore) and then dropped out to work full time. He was the oldest of five, so he pretty much raised/supported his siblings.
His mom (my grandmother) was a baker - that woman could cook! Incidentally the hospital I work in now is the one where she cooked - and there's one staff member left who worked with her in the 1960's. Trippy, eh? But I digress...
The farm he was working on sold, I think, and in 1934 he was 19 years old, he took a ship to Bermuda to work in the kitchen of The Princess Hotel. He made a lot of the sauces, gravies - a saucier, I guess was the name his position. He was there until 1938, when he returned to New Hampshire. When I asked him what Bermuda was like he said he only could see it when the sun went down and by then he was too tired to appreciate it much. He says he worked a lot and doesn't recall having but a handful of days off. He saved up his money and came home to New Hampshire to buy a farm and get married... he'd proposed to a girl before he left and she'd laughed at him.. turned him down and told him to go grow up. She married him in 1939 and they had seven boys together - my brothers. My oldest brother turned 70 this week.
Some things I notice about that generation... they work hard and aren't as into retirement - my dad retired when he was 77 years old and died the next year. He knew how to fix and build things, too. Very self-sufficient. He'd worked as a chef, construction crew foreman, farm hand, brick layer, animal control officer, and was director of our town poor farm (it was called an infirmary) in the 1970's and '80. He always had ideas for businesses; always looking for a way to earn an extra buck or two (not that he did anything flashy with it...)
That generation doesn't waste anything either - whether it's food, aluminum foil, etc. - we call it recycling but they called it "making the most of things". But they didn't consider going for a drive as a waste of gas - did you ever notice that?
My dad could make the best meal out of salt pork, boiled potatoes, and white gravy. Sounds awful but that was one of my favorite meals as a kid - called it "Poor Man's Supper". I also ate a lot of liver and bacon, boiled potatoes, and farm grown veggies. In the late summer/early fall he'd can a ton of pickles, beans, tomatoes - you name it. He made all our jams, jellies and preserves. And did I mention that boiled potatoes came with almost every meal? The rule in the house was "if you put it on your plate, you'd better eat it!"
And I don't know if this was true about his generation or if it was just "him" but he was a radio person - he didn't care for TV at all. I remember it used to bug him when my mom would watch TV at night - she usually fell asleep with it on each night. I'm not a TV person either - I don't care for it. He was fascinated by computers, tho... I remember him talking with me about the Tandy CoCo (64K) had bought for me for Christmas in 1982 (maybe it was 83... anyhow...) he didn't always get technology but he tried - take that back... the Atari really bugged the snot outta him... hee hee.
Anyhow, that generation had a different mindset. They made the most of things and the social hight of the week was playing cards around the kitchen table and drinking coffee or sitting out under the trees with the neighbors (in the summer of course) and watching the cars drive by, shooting the breeze. Doesn't sounds bad, does it?