In 1932, we lived in a two-family house in Flatbush, Brooklyn. I remember seeing well-dressed men on bread lines, selling apples on the corner of Canal and Broadway in Manhattan, near where my father had a factory. He owned a chemical company, and had to let his employees goboth the workers and the salesmen. He would go out during the day to try to get orders for his plumbing and heating products and come back with one worker. They'd work most of the night on the third floor of the walk-up to package the chemicals.
I remember my mother walking down 24th Street in Flatbush, collecting clothing and shoes for a refugee family. [And I remember] I was going to have a birthday and my mother said, "Don't expect any presents, because the banks have closed." It scarred me for life. It made me very conservative in my spending. I'm concerned for my grandchildren having this debt that's going to be passed on to them. I hope [Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson knows what he's doing.
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