Overstreet recalls he used a hoe to keep weeds out of the garden.
"I can remember working in the garden in the hot days of August and September and seeing the corn no taller than my shoulders. It didn't make any difference, though, as my mother's brother and sisters always provided us with plenty of vegetables from their gardens in the summer. They also provided us with seed and plants to get our garden started in late spring and early summer."
Overstreet's mother was part Cherokee Indian and, like most members of the tribe, she never wasted anything that was needed to provide food for the family. The Great Depression must have been very hard on her as she had been reared in an affluent family that provided everything needed in everyday life, he said.
"The same was true of the first 15 years of her marriage, as my dad provided her with a good life, even though he did not want the farm his father had given him when they got married."
The Depression must have been quite a shock to his older sisters, Lela, who was born in 1917, Mabel, born in 1919, and Stella, born 1921. They were old enough when the Depression started to remember the good times of the 1920s. During that decade most people had about everything they needed.
"Most people did not see the terrible storm that was brewing and would turn into the worst Depression ever known in this country," Overstreet said.
The glass quart and pint jars aided the family in the 1930s as much as any other item. When Overstreet's mother started canning in the early years of the Depression, she had few jars. The family ran out of food in the middle of the winter, so it was important they got more jars.
"My mother knew her relatives were providing us with plenty of vegetables in the summer, but also realized that the long, cold winter followed the autumn season and hard times were always present during the cold months of the year," he said.
"All my older sisters worked part time doing housework for other families during the Depression and adding the income to what little money I made, we were able to purchase glass jars for the family."
His mother also washed and ironed for the more affluent families and helped buy jars. She canned vegetables and fruit for the family's use in the long winter months.
"I don't think our family could have survived without these canned goods in the winter."
Each summer they bought more jars so that by the end of the Depression, they had enough canned goods to last the entire winter.
"My mother was a very good cook and canning fruits and vegetables seemed to be very easy for her. I can remember coming home from school in the fall of the year. When I came up Beldon Avenue I could smell apple butter at least a block from the house," he said. "Mother used the right amount of spices in canning apple butter and you could smell the sweet aroma before you reached our house."
He did not stay at home long. He had to clean the Allen Theater so it would be ready for that night's movie. He remembers many times his mother would say that she had a surprise before he left for work. She would give him a fried apple pie that she had just made. She knew it was one of his favorite foods.