1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


Another View of the Massey Suicide
Mary M. Steele 8-2008

Wow! What a story. I well remember hearing the news of Mr. Massey's suicide but knew nothing of the note. I also was not clear--which came first, the suicide or the closing of the bank? I do remember clearly my father's reaction.

I only saw my father, Robert Morton Steele, cry on two occasions and one of those was the day he came out of the bank, toward the car, tears coming down his cheeks. Inside the car he said, "It's all gone, its lost." He said nothing more. We rode home in silence. I connected that to the suicide but had little understanding of banks and Great Depressions.

I faintly remember some of my older siblings saying that Papa Steele had opened a "college account" for us. I can't imagine that it was one account for each of his 8 children but that is what had been lost in the closing of the bank.

Last week, at my bank in Yellow Springs, Ohio, there was general lobby discussion about bank closings. "Oh, it can't happen now. That's just scare talk," said the young teller. "You may be right", I answered. "The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation provides a safety net for depositors now but for those of us who remember the bank closings of the 1930s we still don't sleep too soundly." He looked shocked," You remember the bank closings?" he asked in astonishment. All the people in the lobby were silent and looking at me as I nodded and said as I headed for the door, "Yes, very vividly. My father had started a small savings account in hopes of sending his children to college, and it was lost." At least three people stumbled over each other, trying to open the two doors for me. I had made history come alive.


For A. H. S. Ever Always - In Every Way For A. H. S.