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Pamela Loxley Drake takes a look back at her family farm's financial records from 1940.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley DrakeThe Family Farm Record Book from Dad's farm for the year 1940 came home with me when we sold the farm.

This was the year my sister June was born. It is a history of the farm, a history of my family and a record of the struggles of those on farms the year before U.S. involvement in World War II.

Dad's income consisted of the crops he sold at about $478 per year, making up the rest of the $3,176 yearly income that already consisted of income from selling poultry and eggs, dairy products, and livestock, and $60 loaned to my folks by my grandparents.

The farm operating expenses included feed, machinery/auto repair, farm upkeep, livestock expenses, hired labor, taxes and insurance, and repayment of the loan. Total: $1,011.

Family expenses included food, clothing, personal, medical, household/furnishings, equipment, school/church/recreation. Total: $522. This is for the year. Capital goods were $365, Income was $3,176. Outgoing: $1,898. A difference of $1,278. The money to start the next farm year that included output for food, seeds, fertilizer, feed for livestock, gasoline, heating oil, etc.

Observation: Baby June, born on June 1, brought additional expenses for Mom and Dad. The hospital bill was $26.50. A girl was hired to help at $9 for the month. There wasn't enough money to pay the doctor, so that bill was outstanding. The baby carriage was purchased in July was $6.14. Note: The gas bill for the stove was 75 cents. I didn't see where clothing was purchased for June who evidently wore hand-me-downs and gifted clothing.

I noticed that Dad sold four muskrats in the winter for all of $4.20, and four dozen eggs for $1.12. Chicken feed was $1.71.

Dad's cows and horses had names. Spike, Ginger and Bill, the horses, were each worth $150. The colt, Mike, was worth $40. The cows were Blackie, Nellie, Spottie, Guernsey, Daisy, Goldie and Flossie, each worth $60. The calves, Cherry, Bill and Bertha, were worth $25 each.

Two thousand pounds of wheat was worth $31.66. Lumber for the granary and tobacco beds that same month was $31.80.

On and on it goes, this history of the farm in 1940.

In almost 70 years, prices have inflated beyond belief. My parents struggled. Doctor bills nearly flattened my mom and dad over the years. Today, we are flattened by insurance premiums, and we don't have a doctor coming to our door all hours of the day or night as they did. Everything back then seems so cheap in comparison, but in those times, nickels and dimes meant a blanket for a baby and feed for chickens.

I'm proud to be a part of this farm family that suffered through terrible times and survived by working together and finding strength in their faith. A penny and a prayer.

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl."


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