The Crash


The morning of Tuesday, October 29, 1929, the stock market dumped 16 million shares reacting to the slow market declines over the weekend. Panic set in and folks who bought stocks in mid-1929 may well have lived their entire lives only to break even after The Great Crash.

That day, the bottom fell out and unbelievably, continued to fall for an entire month.

Economists saw the flush, high-living days of the Roaring 20s as the overinflated bubble that needed to be burst – and burst it did. The excessive weath resulted in people of little means suddenly being termed “new money” and the end result now seems so obvious. Isaac Newton would have explained it in terms of science: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. From an incredible high to an incredible low.

So it should have come as no surprise when I sat dumb-faced in my doctor’s office two months after Brian returned home from his six-month deployment and we still were not pregnant.

“You’ve been trying for nearly a year total and you’re over 30,” Dr. Julie said plainly. “I’m going to refer you to a fertility specialist. Your husband should be tested first since its an easier place to begin elimintating factors.”

Wait, I said, what are you trying to say?

“You should be pregnant by now, Erica,” she said. What she meant was we were “infertile.”

The assistant in the room, who could not have been more than 25, explained the tricky fertility testing process to me as I sat in a fog. She asked if I was doing everything correctly, reviewed my charting and asked if I had done home-testing for ovulation and fertility. I said that I had and they indicated everything was fine.

The two doctors exchanged brief glances.

“He should be seen right away,” the young doctor said.

An hour later, I was still sitting in my car in the parking garage at Sharp Rees-Stealy in La Mesa. Tears welled in my eyes as I felt what can only be described as deep despair and grief. I felt someone had died; truly, someone did die. Someone I imagined meeting my whole life; my child. I considered, ever so briefly, returning to work right away. But one look in my rear-view mirror reflected all the pain on the inside.

I drove to the nearby Macy’s Department Store and walked up to the Chanel counter. I had never bought expensive make-up before; to the contrary, I lived meagerly and without debt save for our house. But the shock washed over me and I acted out of character.

I sat down at the counter as the makeup specialist created the mask I would wear over the pain. When she finished, I looked in the mirror and to my surprise, I did not look like a run-over basket case. The facade managed to convince me everything was OK. I did not look defective.

“The Crash didn’t really happen,” I told myself. “It was just a bad day.”

But, as we all know, following The Great Crash came The Great Depression.

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