Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Dust Bowl

I just saw that PBS is airing a documentary on the Dust Bowl on Nov. 18th 2012. (see: link at bottom)

My mother was in the middle of it of all. She grew up in Commerce Oklahoma and her daddy was a coal miner who died of "Black Lung" when she was around 10. Her family took part in what was referred to by Steinbeck as the "Grapes of Wrath". During the "Dust Bowl" her mom, three older brothers, and her migrated to California to find work.

She told us stories about staying in camps along the way and about her mom crying because she had to leave her favorite rocking chair that was tied to the roof of the car along the side of the road. A bunch of their things they had attached to the car had to be left along the way. When they tried to cross the mountains the car kept overheating and could not make it up the grade because of the extra weight of all the things they were carrying.

It was a very difficult time for my mom's family, and all the rest of the "Okies" that left and went west to find work, dignity, and a better future. I am hoping this documentary will help give me an even better perspective on what they had to go through. Although mom did tell us some things about that time in her life, she never went into much details, I think because it was hard for her to talk about.

But the fact is that I would not be here if that had not happened. After moving to California mom met dad there when he was brought home during WWII for a leave from the Navy by a shipmate who was mom's cousin.