It has long been a bone of contention with Eastern Shore natives that they have to contend with “come heres”. They have a good argument in that people come here from off the Shore because they like the life style, the climate and the amenities. But the problem lies in the fact that as soon as they get here, they treat the locals like a bunch of bumpkins and try to change things. Before the Bay Bridge was opened in 1952, the Eastern Shore was fairly isolated.
I remember my grandmother telling me that the Depression went over Salisbury virtually unnoticed. We had everything we needed without outside help. She said the only difference was that more men showed up at her back door asking for some work to do so they could earn some food.
The Eastern Shore had plenty of things to eat that are grown right here on the Shore. There were fish aplenty wherever you wanted to go to get them. The Atlantic Ocean was bountiful, as well as the many rivers and streams for fresh water fish. My grandfather used to go to Roaring Point down by Nanticoke and fill a bushel basket with rock fish in a half hour. I never saw a can of cat food until I was grown. All our cats were fed fresh fish.
For those who chose to hunt their food, there were deer in the forests. Rabbits and squirrels also were a staple in some families. In the spring and fall the Atlantic flyway sent enough ducks and geese over the Easter Shore that you could get all you could carry home any time at all.
The late Bill Phillips from Party Line on WICO grew up in Caroline County. I once heard him say that he never saw any money growing up. When it came time to go back to school at the end of summer, his mother used to go to town and barter eggs and butter for his new school shoes. Everything else he wore, she made. Many a farm wife had their husbands bring home feed sacks from the farm supplier in identical patterns. Many times she would accompany him to make sure he got the right pattern. From these feed sacks, she made her dresses, curtains, bed clothes, shirts and what ever else she needed.
What we had here on the Shore was enough to sustain the population. With the Bay Bridge and now the Bridge-Tunnel, we have lost forever that feeling of independence we knew for so many years.