Free Book Give Away!

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Life has been too busy this year, and we have neglected to post anything for some time. To give thanks for another year of being on this earth, we are giving away 15 Grandma Effie’s Great Depression Diary Books. Grandma Effie (Mike Martin’s Grandmother) kept a diary during the Great Depression in Kewanee, Il. It is a wonderful story of hope and survival. The first 15 people that email us at will get a free copy — no questions asked! Good luck!!!


Book Reading/Signing today in Kewanee, IL was great!

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Our book reading/signing today at the Kewanee Public Library was well attended (20-25 people), even though it was finally a beautiful spring day! We had fun sharing stories of Ed and Effie Martin during the Great Depression, shared some old photos, and even sold a few books! It was such a pleasure to meet many folks and share a family’s stuggles during such a trying time. Below are some photos!








Book Reading/Signing at Kewanee Library this Sunday, April 14th at 2pm

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Come and visit with us as we chat about the book, read some of Effie’s passages, and here about your great depression stories. Books will be for sale at $ 10.00 each. Look forward to seeing some of you in Kewanee, Illinois!

Mike and Jane

Great Depression Recipes

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Recipes during the Great Depression were very simple, and Grandma Effie’s recipes written in her diary were no exception. Here is one we would like to share, since Valentine’s Day is fast approaching us.

Basic Tea Punch

2 cups strong tea (chilled)

6 cups fruit juice

4 cups ginger ale

Just before serving, combine and sweeten to taste. Pour over ice cubes in punch bowl. Serves 25.

House Bought by Golden’s for $1.00 in 1919

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fall decorations 001

Jim Fisher Show November 21, 2012

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Had a great time chatting with Jim Fisher on WOC1420 Talk Radio in Davenport, Iowa this past Wednesday. Jim really enjoyed reading Grandma Effie’s diary and thought she shared some very interesting facts of the family’s life. Check out the pics!!

Mike and Jim discussing Grandma Effie Martin

Mike chatting with Jim Fisher

December 1934

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December 6 Thursday – Boiler Pay Day $ 16.00,    Charles $ 2.00

December 7 – Friday – Here it is well into December and Xmas will be here before we know it. Mariella got through with her night turn and is working on the second floor this month. It is the coldest this morning it has been yet this season. Down to 12 above. Ed is still working. He was off for Thanksgiving – then worked Friday and Saturday morning. Of that week. I went to a “movie” the other day. Yesterday the committee met to decide on our refreshments and entertainment for the Christmas party, but we didn’t make any definite plans.

December 8 – Saturday – Charles $ 2.00. I fixed Julia dress and lined her coat and did a little washing for her and she paid me. $ 2.00.

December 10 – Monday. The shop is supposed to work 3 days a week until the first of the year – Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays. So Ed is home today and we are washing.

December 14 – Friday – I have been to Mama’s this p.m. Mrs. Bowen was there and we planned our Xmas Party. I guess everything is lined up for it. Then I went to the shop to get Ed and we went to town and got something for supper. Cashed Ed’s Boiler Shop check $ 17.50, which he drew yesterday. They were so busy Tuesday that they decided to work Wednesday also, so he got in 4 days this week.

December 20 – Thursday – Jimmie is coming down with the measles. The sign isn’t up yet, but he has been sick since Monday and today he is starting to “break out”. Ed just came home from the shop. He worked a half day today. This was pay day, $ 14.00. He also got his Baker Christmas gift today, $ 10.00. Then Chas paid his board last Saturday which I haven’t put down, $ 2.00.

December 22 – Chick’s 20th birthday. We are fixing of a party of boys in tonight. He paid his $ 2.00 today.

December 23 – Sunday – Well the party is over. The boys had gone hunting and brought in 6 rabbits, which I cooked. Their menu was:  rabbit, mashed potatoes & gravy, cabbage slaw, cranberries, celery, coffee, and beer. They sat down to the table at 10:30. After they ate they played cards until 3 o’clock. Then Ed told them it was time to “break up.” I guess they would have stayed all night if he hadn’t sent them home. They were Francis Heflin, Bud Peterson, Pat Murphy, Zonkel, Eddie Cronaw, Bill Henry, Ky Witte, Charles, Ed.

December 25 – Tuesday – Another Xmas is almost ended, and it has been a good one except that Mariella couldn’t come home on account of our being quarantined for measles. Jimmie is almost well again, but Teddy hasn’t started yet. Ed and I didn’t exchange gifts this year the first time since we have known each other. We bought for the kids about as usual. Jimmie and Teddy have been awfully sweet and happy with their toys. Gene and Paul Heflin were here this morning and Francis. That is all the company we have had today. Heflins invited Mariella to eat dinner with them. I went over there this p.m. to see their gifts and to chat with Mariella a while.

December 29 – Saturday. Last Thursday was pay day again, $ 12.50. Ed was called in to work last Wednesday. Should have gone in the morning but he didn’t get the word in time, so he went in at noon and has worked ever since. Today he went at 7 o’clock. He is to go again Monday. Jimmie has gotten over the measles O.K. but Teddy is down now. He started with a fever yesterday and we reported it today. So if everything goes alright we should be released by next Saturday then Mariella can come home again. I went to town this evening. While I was gone Mama and Julia came out. Julia bought material for a dress for me to make her. Mama says Uncle John sent her the railroad fare to Chicago, so she is going up Monday to make them a visit. Mariella had all night off and all day Thursday & Friday but as she couldn’t come home, she spent her time with Mama. She also has tonight off so she is going to a dance with Virginia then they are going to Mama’s to stay all night.

December 30 – Sunday night – Another year is almost ended and while everyone is looking back over the happenings of the year, I think it would be interesting for me to mention here a few of the outstanding events.

1.  The arrest of Bruno Hauptmann charged with the kidnapping and murder of Lindbergh baby. His trial will be in January.

2.  Birth of the Dionne quintuplets in Canada, all of whom are still living and are now about nine months old.

3.  Assassination of King Alexander of Yugoslavia and Barthow his minister. Also the death of King Albert of Belgium. King Albert of Belgium didn’t fasten his safety belt when he went mountain climbing; the King of Yugoslavia didn’t wear his bullet proof vest, because it made his dress uniform bulge. Both dead.

4.  Shooting of John Dillinger, who had defied the law and broke out of jail by holding up the guards with a little wooden gun which he had whittled out in his cell.

5.  Morrow Castle disaster. The big ship which couldn’t sink – on its initial trip.

6.  Samuel Insull found not guilty after being brought back to America for trial – at a great expense to the government.

7.  Chancellor Dollfuss’ murder.

8.  Dizzy Dean’s world series pitching, also his brother Paul.

9.  Hitler’s Nazi surge. I don’t know much about this, but if anyone can keep those German’s and their affairs straight, they have more intelligence than I.

10.  The biggest event in the history of the year, in my estimation is “Ed’s job.” It is a real job. It is clean, pleasant work and it is as steady and any shop work can be. We are still just as thrilled and elated over it as we were when they first told him of it. The pay isn’t large, but it is sufficient, and in the four months he has been working we have bought a lot of things besides just “eats”. Teddy and I are alone this evening. Teddy is down with the measles. Ed and Jimmie have gone to a show. Virginia Best ate dinner with us today. Charles $ 2.00.

December $ 82.00

Total for 1934 $ 767.59

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