Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Biting the Dust, Yet Still Alive!

Dirty Thirties
Can you imagine enduring a time when "biting the dust" was exactly what you did day in and day out? There was not a day when the grinding of grit, smell of dust and taste of raw earth did not engulf your very being. Do not confuse this with the annoying household dust that plagues the most meticulous house keeper. This was dust in your food, dust in the water, dust covering your clothing, dust inches deep on the window sills, on the furniture, on the floor, in the kitchen, in the bath, over, under, around and through everything in sight, blowing through any crack it could find unrelentingly without remorse and burying whatever got in its path. This is a time when the most timid individual probably felt like the time for "biting the dust," leaving the world behind, being no longer a part of the game, taking the last footstep of life sounded pretty good.

Keep in mind this was during a time of NO air-conditioning. Houses were not constructed as tight and solid like today, so dust seeped in constantly. There was NO rain. Insects, such as grasshoppers, found their way inside eating whatever they could find. There was NO relief in sight...and this went on for eight years!

A dust storm approaches Stratford, Texas, in 1935.
During the 1930s, two-thirds of the United States population endured immense drought, ferocious winds, elevated temperatures and massive clouds of dust. Yet, the roots of such extremes go farther back into the 1920s when post-World War I conditions led Midwestern farmers to experiment with new forms of industrialized farming. Overplowing of fields led to tons of topsoil being blown away and carried across country for hundreds of miles in storm clouds leaving few traces of nutrients behind necessary for growth and harvesting. The earth was literally drying up with the most visible evidence of how dry it was being the dust storm.

Learn more from those who remember...
Herman Goertzen 

Herman Goertzen remembers chickens going to roost in the middle of the day because the dust storm made it so dark the chickens thought it was night. 

LeRoy Hankel

LeRoy Hankel remembers a wind blowing so hard that a truck was blown 30 to 40 feet down a street.

Elroy Hoffman

Elroy Hoffman remembers winds blowing seeds out of the ground.

Stanley Jensen

Stan Jensen remembers how it was impossible to keep houses clean.

Walter Schmitt

Walter Schmitt remembers how the winds blew tumbleweeds into fences. Then the dust drifted up behind the tumbleweeds, covering the fencerows.

Harvey Pickrel

Harvey Pickrel remembers trying to buy a tractor – the only trick was he would have to dig it out of the dust before he could take it home