Friday, October 10, 2008

Remembering a REAL Recession

It takes living for awhile to get perspective on the recent wild swings of the Stock Market and the Economy. We had two young children and were living in a trailer when the Recession in the early 70's hit. We were a one income family, with few debts, but it was still a difficult time.

I remember that somewhere along in that time frame we tried to get a mortgage to build a new home on our lot, and although we qualified for the mortgage, we could not get the loan ... because mortgage money had literally dried up. Sound familiar? The big difference between now and then was that we were very good credit risks, but we still could not get financing.

God has a way of watching out for us when we really think He's turned his back on us. We were so disappointed in not getting that house, and now I am so glad we didn't. You see it was one of those split level kind where the front foyer has steps leading up or down to the living areas. I have a Movement Disorder. We would be forced to move out of our home if we were living in one that involved using steps every time you wanted to go just about anywhere in the house. But that's easy to see in hindsight, not so easy to accept at the time. And yes, some years later we did build on our lot, and we're still living in our Dirty Butter Estates on Hard Scrabble Hill.

But I digress. What I do remember very distinctly were a few Christmas shopping sprees where my credit was denied at the cash register, because I had charged over my limit. (Back then even going over a dollar was enough to have a purchase denied.) It was embarrassing, and it didn't happen very often, but it did happen.

When our older daughter started using her first credit card some years later we were mortified to find that if she went over her credit line the card companies would just up her limit, or gleefully charge over the limit fees. But they never stopped her from charging anything. And they never seemed to mind how many cards she applied for and got, either. It was like a bottomless well of credit, and she simply thought we were old fuddy duddies for even suggesting that this was not the way it should be.

She's older and wiser now, but has had some life threatening health problems that have her and her husband watching their money very closely now, after lots of health care expenses ran their bills up again. At least this time it's not from the free spending days of her twenties.

So, some people say we are in a recession, and some are even saying we are in the beginnings of another Great Depression. But hubby and I have seen the Savings and Loan implosion from the 70's, the long lines at gas pumps when we were only allowed to even try to get fuel on certain days of the week, interest rates on home mortgages up in the teens, and we've seen the Health South, Enron, dot com bust, and plenty of other scary events in our adult years. And now the current economic "crisis". This situation seems to be a natural consequence of way too casual a view that far too many people, and companies, have had for way too long about the risk of incurring large debts.

I hear and see on TV so much fear about the current problems, and I'm not saying they are not real problems, but what I am trying to say is that we Americans have dealt with bad economies and scary financial times before, and we have gone on to thrive and prosper. We have been burned before by poor choices, and learned from our mistakes, and been better people because of it.

I hope people will look at history, find some perspective on today's news, and breathe a little easier. I know my hubby and I do.


Anonymous said...

I found your sight after voting for my counsin's photo blog by clicking blog village. I was very impressed that your blog was #1 at blog village only to find you really don't get many clicks or votes probably other than your own since you barely have any comments on your blog...this must be some kind of joke.


Dirty Butter said...

I don't participate in Blog Village anymore, other than to vote for my own blogs. The only way to get comments is to be active in the Village, and I just don't have time to be involved in the way I used to be.

I'm sorry it offended you, as I have not been first on the Village in a long time.

I'm sure there are lots of good Villager's blogs that you would find worthy of reading and commenting.

untamedblogger said...

great post, its interesting to see the economy going down like this because havent seen anything like it in my lifetime (which isnt long)

Actually I didn't know what I wanted to do after i graduated and dropped out of college for about a year. Since the economy took a turn I really got into economics and politics and am thinking of studying it.

its interesting hearing from a person who lived through the last recession, hope to read more posts!

Dirty Butter said...

I'll have to find some time to reminisce some more, won't I!!

Thanks for stopping by!

The Gatekeeper said...

Well said DB. Great post. My parents went through WWII, maybe that's why they don't seem to be panicking right now. They agree with you.

OH,and in my book. You are a number one blogger.

Dirty Butter said...

It's so good to hear from you after such a long time Gatekeeper!!! I'll stop by your blog and say Hi!

Even though things have talked themselves into being even worse than when I wrote this post, I'll have to say that we are still not worried. I wish calmer heads were prevailing world wide right now. This whole mess is not based on the fundamentals, but on fear itself. What a shame.