2. One Kind of Depression

1931 Ida Di Gregorio

Ida Di Gregorio, age six, rides atop a local pony on Lehigh Row,
Mason City, Iowa, in 1931.


THE AUTHOR’S MOTHER, Ida Di Gregorio, grows up in the tight-knit immigrant community in Iowa during Prohibition and the Great Depression. She learns survival skills in the face of linguistic difficulty, economic hardship, ethnic hostility, and religious intolerance. Her family relocates to a wealthier neighborhood but receives a lukewarm reception. Her experiences leave her with mixed emotions about her all-American hometown. She follows the example of her parents. She decides to leave.