Hardship and Endurance

Just fourteen years old at the start of the Great Depression in 1930, Alfred Watson lived in a small house near the Ohio River with his mother, sister, grand- parents, and two uncles. His father had deserted the family in 1924, and the family was forced to survive solely on his Grandfather Thorn’s $95 railroad pension. With insufficient funds to feed a family of 6 , Alfred and his sister frequently searched for their family’s dinner in a local restaurant dumpster.

The hardships of his childhood years in Pennsylvania. are reflected in the following photographs.

Blind Man, 1941
This image of a blind man sitting in front of his dilapidated house was taken in the late Depression in rural Pennsylvania.The battered front door with its torn screen gives visual proof of the hardship of his daily life. A dog can be seen looking thru the screen door.
Migrant Woman, 1940
This poignant photograph of an elderly woman sitting by the side of the road was taken in Venango County, Pennsylvania. The anguished look on the woman’s face reveals the deprivation she and so many other Americans faced during the Great Depression.     
Dog In Window, 1940
A young boy looks thru a storefront window at a small dog in Dormont, Pennsylvania. The detail of the boy’s hat and coat adds to the scene as does the ad for wingtip shoes in the store’s window.
Socks For Sale, 1941
A man sells socks from a suitcase in front of a Pennsylvania bank during the Depression. A notice on the bank’s window you’re “not too young to have a savings account.”