Singing in Hard Times

The conditions of the Dust Bowl pressed the farmers and ranchers into despair. Too many days with the sun blocked out by the Black Blizzards. Fine grains of sand covering everything, including the linings of the lungs. A losing battle with locust, grasshoppers and drought that devoured any hope of …

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Coloring Christmas Orange: Celebrating in the Great Depression

The one thing that every family in the 1930’s Dust Bowl savored for Christmas was an orange. In our own culture of entitlement and excess, the thought of one orange constituting the holiday pay load is unimaginable. But getting an orange was a big deal because citrus fruit wasn’t affordable …

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A Picture Worth Thousands of Words: The Dust Bowl by Ken Burns

For two hours, Vernon and I watched disturbing, yet stunning visuals flash across our television screen. Frightening images of gigantic black blizzards engulfing barns and cities with devastating results. Plagues of jackrabbits and locusts. Old and young coughing from dust pneumonia. The first DVD of The Dust Bowl, by Ken …

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Piecing a Legacy: A 1930 Quilt Story

With the perspective of youth, Dennis McCann observed, “Those must have been depressing times, those long ago days of bread and milk, of feedbag clothes, and canned tumbleweed dinners. Of little or nothing.” Jane Tamse countered in her feeble, quivering voice, “Those were frugal days, but they left us with …

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5 Lessons for Today’s Teachers from Weedpatch Camp School

During the darkest days of the Great Depression, thousands of Oklahoma families migrated from the Dust Bowl to California in automobiles piled high with their earthly belongings. The grove owners and truck farmers referred to the penniless refugees from drought as “Okies”. The name carried prejudice toward the migrants trying …

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