The Great Depression of 1929.
In this small town everyone had a garden behind their house, they chopped alot of firewood and had stoves and furnaces to consume it.
My grandfather was self-employed worked from sun up to sun down and made $300 a year, a new car cost $800 or more and only adults were allowed in the show room since kids had no money nor influence when it came to large purchases. Everyone needed to have 2/3 down payment in cash.
A talented car mechanic made from $10 to $15 a week..sometimes, many did their own work .
Every family had Grandparents living with them, there were no such things as nursing homes, nobody could have paid to keep someone in one if there were.
The few people who had hung on to a quanity of their money when the banks closed were scared too and keep right on hanging on to it, not spending it lavishly or foolishly.
Many took baths once a week, on Saturday night when some social events were planed, the girls in the family used the bath water first, the boys used after they were done with it, since much water was pumped up out of a well by hand and the heat for that bathwater came from putting kettles on the wood stove and carrying then to the bathtub, carefull don't burn yourself!
Then came World War Two.
Millions of our country's young men put into uniform, women suddenly were factory workers building planes and ammunition, working long hours, making more money than they had ever seen before.
My Grandmother worked inspecting egg-like crates full of hand grenades for missing pins!
If a pin was missing she was supposed to pick it out , turn and throw it over a concrete wall behind her!
Almost everyone working in the TNT department saw their hair turn red, as did hers.
(could this have been a symptom of being poisoned by the chemicals?)
Things run in 80 year cycles , after 80 years the people who experienced something first-hand are no longer in political or economic power and everyone else just wants the easy, good life with very little work for it and not making any hard choices.
I am surprised everything in this country hung together as well and as long as it did what with my generation (WW2 Baby-Boomers) all seemingly so engrossed in the pursuit of brain candy and the it's following tintillations..and often very little else.