Sacrifice, Selling Memories and Snakes: How Some are Scraping By in Their Own Great Depression Skip to main content

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Sacrifice, Selling Memories and Snakes: How Some are Scraping By in Their Own Great Depression



While many economists argue that the economy is steadily rebounding, whether you’re in a recession or recovery seems to largely depend on where you live, if you have a job, if you can pay your bills, or if you still have your home.

The Huffington Post reported this week that facing an economic meltdown in their personal lives, many formerly middle-class families have had to find “creative ways to cope with the sudden loss of their jobs and homes.” In her article, “Rattlesnake for Breakfast, Wedding rings on Craigslist: Families Cope With Falling Out of the Middle Class,” Laura Bassett describes how the American dream, for many, has turned into a surreal nightmare.

Take Arkansas’s Jeff Falk, 51, for example. After losing his family business selling auto parts, and finding himself no longer able to afford the house he had built for his family, his wife Jill, and their two boys, ages 3 and 8, packed their 40-foot camper and headed to Arizona for the winter.

“Jill found a part-time job waiting tables, and Jeff found occasional work repairing old boats, but they struggled to feed and home-school their young boys. Occasionally, Falk says, he feeds his children rattlesnake that he caught near his camper. While Falk, his wife and his children have managed to stay positive throughout their financial hardships, he says the hardest part of falling out of the middle class is losing the respect of those around him. ‘There are two kinds of people,’ he said. ‘Those that turn and look the other way and don't even wanna look at you, and those that reach out and help you, and it seems like there's no in-between.’”

The Falk family isn’t alone. Bassett also found Illinois’s Stephen Mooney.  Laid off in 2008 from a job he had held for 10 years, his severance pay ran out a few, short months later, leaving he and his wife Marianne unable to pay their bills.

"’Our gas was shut off,’" Mooney told HuffPost. ‘We were taking showers with water that we would heat up in the rice cooker and microwave. It was very depressing. Going to a job interview, you may be wearing a shirt and suit, but you don't feel clean. I looked unkempt all the time, and corporate America's not an easy place. There were some places where I knew I didn't have a job as soon as they saw me sitting in the lobby.’ To make matters worse, the Mooneys' house was recently foreclosed, and they have been asked to leave by March 1. ‘I don't know how we put all the pieces back together,’ Mooney said. ‘Where do we live? Where does all our stuff go? It's going to be very strange.’”

As Bassett reports, many families are making similarly difficult decisions just to stay afloat.

Kimberly Rios of Maryland sold her wedding ring on Craigslist last weekend just to cover utility bills.  “‘This is no joke, please be a serious buyer,’ Rios wrote in her ad. ‘It is too cold for us to be without electric and heat so if you have been looking consider my deal.’ She told HuffPost that she sold the ring on Valentine's Day. She is trying to decide whether to use the money to pay for a few weeks of electricity or to buy a cheap car so that she and her family of six will have a place to go when the foreclosure happens.”

In spite of it all, Rios remains positive about her family's future: “At least we have each other.”

Unfortunately, in this new era of financial insecurityy, stories like these are common in articles, reports and blogs all across the World Wide Web. Fortunately, no matter how dire your financial situation and how extreme your sacrifice, you can find strength in the numbers of families—all across the country—facing the same tough choices.

Yet, even if major sacrifices just aren’t enough to keep you afloat, knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney can also help you face your financial fears, yielding the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost— for a viable and secure future.  The bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to +1-919-646-2654, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.


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