After she graduated from Salamale school in the 9th grade, Concepcion found herself wanting to continue her education, but do to the Great Depression happening around her, was unable to continue her education. Instead, she entered the workforce in order to help her parents. Her first job she secured was cleaning a lawyer’s office, Mr. Sheldon Richie. while at this job, she received $5 a week, which she was very happy about as that was $5 she was able to contribute to her household.
In addition to cleaning Mr. Richie’s office, Concepcion also worked in the fields, picking cotton. Concepcion felt that her ability to speak English well gave her an edge in securing the jobs that she did, both fresh out of school, and later on in life.While talking about her entering the workforce, Concpecion remembers the Great Depression as a time of struggle and working hard to scrape by. During the Depression, they had a hard time, and like many others, would go to the county house to get a piece of cheese or whatever else they would be given, in addition to flour, which Concepcion says they used to make tortillas. In addition to this, often times they would have to give up meats and fish; they were lucky when they could have it, but often times could go between 15 days to a month before they had it again. To supplement their diet, they would often eat colitas (which I believe to be James Buckwheat). Concepcion remembers her parents telling her “don’t ask for this, don’t ask for that, because we don’t have.” Concepcion’s daughter Maria, recalls her mother telling her about getting shoes, and how Concepcion’s dad worked hard for those shoes. Two weeks worth of working in the smelter, which was often considered one of the best jobs to have, went towards getting Concepcion shoes. Also while she was still in school, she took care of her school supplies, as paper and pencils were expensive. She didn’t use pens as they cost too much for her to use for her studies. Despite the hardship that she endured, Concepcion and her parents survived the Great Depression.
However, even in the midst of struggle, Concepcion had some important life events happen.