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Erickson was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin in 1918. Her father was still fighting in World War I in France. He returned three months after she was born. She remembers seeing railroad cars full of caskets in her youth that were filled with flu victims. Her family came into money during the Great Depression from a deceased uncle. Fortunately for them they came into money. Erickson remembers getting teased by kids because of how much money they had. They built a beautiful six bedroom, six bath house with three cars in the driveway. When Erickson was fourteen years old her parents paid for her and her sister to go to Europe. It was a learning experience for her. She took care of as many friends as she could. Erickson questioned her motherÂ’s flaunting of the wealth they had. The Depression was terrible yet people accepted it. They accepted the fact that they were poor and everyone who could tried to help out other people. Erickson was in New York City when World War II broke out. She had won an essay contest and was selected to go to New York. Her essay was entitled, "Why American democracy is worth saving."
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