RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
And because it's Friday, it's time again for StoryCorps, the oral history project that's collecting audio snapshots of America. The financial crisis has been called the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and it's brought back some memories for one 86-year-old, James Bost. He recorded some of his recollections through the StoryCorps Project. Bost told his son a story about his own father, who was a salesman during the Depression.
Mr. JAMES BOST: When I was 9 years old, and that was about 1932, my dad was working 24/7 to make it. There were seven salesmen within my father's area or domain, and six of them were fired. There was only one left, and that was my father. And he busted himself to keep that job, and that brought on a heart attack. He recovered, and did something that still sticks with me. He went into the bank and he said, I want to withdraw my money. And the teller gave him a hard time. They had windows with big, iron bars.
He got so agitated, and he took a hold of the bars. He scared the teller, no question about it, and the teller brought his money to him. He put it into a suitcase, and he went into the backyard of the house where we lived. He dug a large hole, about four feet deep, and buried that suitcase. No one knew anything about it except the family. He didn't trust the banks for a long time, and this made an impression on me, to the point that in the last year, I went to the local bank where I've been doing business and withdrew several thousand dollars.
Mr. DOUG BOST: Did you dig a hole and put it in the garden?
Mr. J. BOST: No, I didn't do that.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. J. BOST: I have it in an undisclosed location. I don't have a lot of money, but if there was a crash right now, I'd have X amount of dollars to deal with the next month or two, and I wouldn't have to worry. I think it's kind of silly in some ways and kind of stupid, but at the same time, the Great Depression made a big impact on me, and I can't forget it.
(Soundbite of music)
MONTAGNE: James Bost with his son Doug at StoryCorps in New York City. Their story and all the others are archived at the Library of Congress. Get the podcast at npr.org.