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San Francisco in the Depression

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Posted by Jim Smith on Tuesday, July 12, 2005 at 18:09:39 :

My grandfather, Walter Smith was a successful composer and pianist during the late teens and nineteen-twenties. By the time the depression struck, San Francisco's music industry had migrated to Los Angeles. Grampa took work where he could, performing at clubs and hotels and when he had to, beating the keys in speakeasies around the Barbary Coast and the Tenderloin.

He told of a day, walking home with his pay envelope when a man with a gun stopped him. The man demanded his money, apologizing all the while that he couldn't find work, his kids were hungry and he couldn't pay the rent. Grampa told the man that he understood, but if he gave up his pay, his own family wouldn't eat. He suggested that perhaps they could split the money 50/50. The man agreed, they divvied the cash and then parted, shaking hands.

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