Sunday, November 18, 2012

PBS SPECIAL--THE DUST BOWL OF THE 1930s



Farmer and Children in Oklahoma During the Dust Bowl
 I didn't plan on posting any more until next year, but I just had to comment on Ken Burns' documentary about the Dust Bowl. I saw most of the first segment last night on PBS, and in my area the second part will show tonight. Words cannot describe... It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

For the vast, vast majority of us including me, we live a very easy life compared to those who came before us. It is good for me to be reminded of that fact and to be thankful for what God has given to me.

If you have the time, try to tune in and learn about this important time in the history of America. You won't regret it or ever forget it...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

SUNDAY REST FOR ALL, Mrs. N.G. B., North Dakota, 1927

The first few years of my married life when the children were small and we had men to cook for I used to look forward to Sunday with dread. I think this was because Sunday was supposed to be a day of rest, and while every one else seemed to be taking it, there was none for me. I rebelled. I don't think it was selfish of me, either. I put on my thinking cap and here is the outcome:

On Friday, I do quite a good deal of my Saturday's work, add the finishing touches on Saturday, bathe the children and fix something for Sunday dinner.

Sunday breakfast is substantial and dinner, which is served as near 12 o'clock as possible, is as follows:  One hot dish, prepared while getting breakfast or doing up the work, this dish consists of scalloped potatoes with chips of smoked ham cooked with them or baked beans, or cabbage boiled with sausage balls, adding dumplings if wanted, or it may be any of our tomato mixtures, or macaroni dishes. Farm women know all about such dishes. In warm weather this dish is kept warm on a burner of the oil stove turned low. Dessert is pie baked on Saturday, or jello, or sometimes just a dish of fresh fruit with cream and sugar. One of our favorites is plain pie-plant stewed, strained and the juice thickened, flavored and sweetened and left in a cool cellar until wanted, then used with whipped cream. Of course, we have bread, butter, cookies, pickles or any little onions when in season, and hot coffee.

Dishes and food are placed on the kitchen table and the men told to come in and help themselves. Some of them find chairs in the kitchen, some in the dining room, and in hot weather, they go out on the porch or under the trees. They are told to come back and fill their plates if they want more.

The dishes are piled up as they are brought back to the table and I am not a half hour washing them. In fact, the whole dinner never takes an hour's time.

Supper is usually eaten around the table and is nothing more than a hot drink with sandwiches, cold meat, some baking and sauce.

During harvest, threshing, silo filling and potato picking, we never have less than eight men and our men are hired with an understanding of how they will be treated on Sunday; we have never had any one of them "kick" on it.

As our Sunday School comes first in the morning and church service in the evening, the whole space in between is mine to do as I please. If visitors come they are treated just the same as the rest of us.

Friday, November 2, 2012

TIME FOR READING; by Mrs. C.A.T., Ohio; 1927

I get time to read just about like a smoker gets time to light his pipe. I guess I just do it and it is just about as much of a habit with me.

As a child it was my duty to bring the mail from the box about one-half mile from the house. I would run all the way there and read all the way back. Then I would often keep a book or magazine under my bed. Then when I was supposed to be making beds, I would let my own go unmade and use the time thus saved for reading.

My mother thought reading a very foolish waste of time and, of course, I was roundly scolded for snatching these little times whenever I could. But the habit is not yet broken.

When my first baby was very small I began to read while nursing her. This was kept up until the last baby was weaned. Reading fifteen minutes four or five times a day one can soon get over a lot. It seems we have always lived in houses with cold kitchen floors. I just have to stop work once in a while and warm my feet at the living room grate. Surely, my papers are handy and usually made use of.

Then I am not so strong as I would like to be or ought to be considering my duties. I find that a rest in time saves nine--backaches. I usually read while resting. If I can stop only a very short time, I look through a magazine, marking anything that I want to read and have it ready for the next time. Thus conserving the few precious moments I do have.

While we cannot afford many labor and time saving devices, I try to gain time wherever possible if I can do so without sacrificing something more valuable. I find that very small girls can help mother a great deal at other things besides dishwashing which most of them despise. Even small boys can and will sew on their own buttons, make their own beds and sometimes help about the cooking, if they are just treated right. Of course, they can stand a little praise for their efforts. All these things mean just a little more time for me. Does someone say I am imposing on the children to indulge myself? I think not. I aim to read nothing that will not do me some good in some way. And if a few minutes gleaned at a time during the day and spent in reading, make my life a little cheerier, make me just a little better mother, or make me a little easier to live with. I consider it as much a duty as a privilege. Even if my hair hasn't got the latest wave or if we sleep between sheets that are not ironed every week.