James Bost with his son, Doug, at StoryCorps in New York City.
The current financial crisis has been called the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. And it has brought back memories for 86-year-old James Bost.
Bost's father worked as a truck salesman during those lean years. Recently, he told his son, Doug, about his memories of that time.
"When I was 9 years old — that was about 1932 — my dad was working 24-7 to make it," Bost said. His father's employer had fired all six other salesmen who overlapped with him, leaving him to cover the whole area.
"And he busted himself to keep that job — and that brought on a heart attack," Bost said.
After he recovered, Bost's father went down to the local bank.
At the teller's window, he said, "I want to withdraw all my money."
The teller tried to put him off, not wanting to give up the bank's money in such a difficult time. It was an old-fashioned bank, with iron bars on the teller's window.
Bost's father got angry and grabbed the bars.
"He scared the teller, no question about it," Bost said.
But the teller brought all of the elder Bost's money — which went into a suitcase. And once he got it home, he went into the backyard and buried it 4 feet deep. Only the family knew about it, Bost said.
"He didn't trust the banks for a long time," Bost said. "And this made an impression on me."
In fact, Bost said, he went to his own local bank just last year and took out several thousand dollars. But he didn't bury it in the yard. Instead, he said, the money went to "an undisclosed location."
And if an economic crash came now, Bost said, he can rely on having some money at hand.
"I think it's kind of silly in some ways, and kind of stupid," Bost said. "But at the same time, the Great Depression made a big impact on me. And I can't forget it."