S: Seasons of Change
BC: Emily's Diary
FC: Emily's Diary
1: My farm in Colcord, Oklahoma
2: Today is August 28th, 1924, and today I turned eight years old. Ma woke me up later than usual, and Pa let me relax today inside with Ma instead of helping out on the farm. And since the crops Pa has planted are growing so well and selling so high in our home of Oklahoma, Ma even picked some of the apples from our two apples trees and baked an apple pie for after dinner to celebrate my big day. I'm also really excited because tomorrow I get to go back to school.My teacher is going to be Mrs. Finkle, and I've heard from the older kids that she is really fun and nice. I'm hoping I can make a lot of friends this year, and that I’ll be good enough to sing in the school's choir. Ma says my voice is a lot better than it was last year, so I hope I'm able to make it in this time. Pa says I shouldn't get my hopes up too high though, but I can't help it. I've come to love singing so much, especially when I'm alone. I love that I am able to sing what I feel, and create something beautiful with my own vocal cords. Anyway, today has been a great day, and I hope tomorrow is one as well. | August 1924 | Dear Diary,
3: Ma and Pa on our farm
4: Today I started school, and it was very exciting. While I was eating breakfast with Ma and Pa, they helped calm me down because I was so nervous about starting a new year. They both gave me a hug as I walked out the door, wishing me luck and telling me they loved me. As I waved goodbye and began walking, I started to sing to myself how today was going to be a start to a new year, and that it was going to be a good one. I sang to myself the whole way, words just flowing out of my mouth until I entered Mrs. Finkle’s classroom. She was a young woman, with dark brown hair and big red glasses. She was very nice, and she is also in charge of the choir in the school. During class, we discussed how our country is doing right now. She told us about how the value of the crops our families are growing are so high thanks to a high demand, and that they're producing so much. She also told us about how great our whole country is doing, and that even our economy is in a great state. It was interesting to learn about the present time instead of the past in school for once, because we can relate to it more. I'm glad to say that my own family's farm is doing so well, and I hope it stays that way. Also, during our recess, I was able to try out with her in the classroom alone. I was extremely nervous, but once I was able to open my mouth and sing, all my nerves went away. Once I finished, Mrs. Finkle gave me a big hug, and said that I did great, so great that I was able to make the school choir! As I skipped my way home, I began imagining all of the songs I'd learn this year and how much singing I'd get to do everyday. | August 1924 | Dear Diary,
5: When I got home, I told Ma and Pa how great of a day today was. I told them how Mrs. Finkle had explained how well our country was doing and how most people's farms are doing great too. They explained to me that since it's the end of The Great War, Pa has a very high demand for his crops to sell. He usually sells wheat, corn, potatoes, and some fruits. Those are most of the things he grows on the farm that are usually sold the most. I asked him why there's such a high demand right now and he said that since so many soldiers are coming back from war, they need the crops from his part of the country. I can tell Pa is very happy about our farm doing so well; he's able to provide so much for us and Ma and I are so grateful. I don't think things could get much better than this. | Pa on his tractor farming | Ma milking our cow
6: Dear Diary, | I'm hoping that times will get better out here in Oklahoma. For the past few years, prices have started to fall and the value of our goods being produced has decreased. Pa has always supplied so much for us and it hasn't been the same anymore; I think it has something to do with the stock market crash in New York that happened this time last year. Apparently everyone has lost most of their savings and the banks are being forced to shut down. Big businesses are also being forced to close. Pa used to be given money to lend out with equipment as well as for selling his goods. Ma and Pa say this won't last long, and it's been a little rough just because of how many goods have been produced in the past decade from The Great War. I hope they're right; I don't want my family to lose anymore money. Without Pa getting paid for his goods and equipment, he can't do much else on the farm because it all costs money that he's not being given. I'm still a little young to understand all of this but I don't know how it could get much worse. | Oh my goodness something terrible has happened out here in the Midwest! Oklahoma is just starting to get hit by what they call a dust storms. This is too hard on my family and friends in here in Oklahoma. As the dust moves in, more crops are starting to die and it's even making our cattle sick! I think my mom is starting to get sick from all the dust and I may even be too. This is just terrible! Hopefully this doesn't last long before we lose everything! | October 1930
7: Our potato farm starting to dry out. Pa is gathering what he can but the drought has begun and his crops are dying. | A jackrabbit. They're animals that come down to the farms and eat some of the dying crops. As much as pa tries to grow more, these jackrabbits eat them.
8: December 1931 | The dust storms are only getting worse! Our fields aren't getting enough water to grow our crops so they're all dying! Other than that, I have good news and bad news! The good news is, that my family hasn't been as affected as other families in the other states and we still are able to make a living on our farm. Pa somehow finds a way to feed Ma & I enough and keep our home and farm from getting too badly destructed. We've had enough money to find out what Ma is coming down with, which is good, however, the bad news is that it is Dust Pneumonia! The dust from these storms has started to get clumped in her lungs and she's come down with an awful cough. I know she is strong enough to get through it though, and Pa and I are always here to take care of her. I'm so happy my family is so positive about this awful thing happening to us; without them, I don't know how I'd be able to handle it. Luckily, the dust hasn't gotten me sick yet and I can still sing and go to school. Those are the two things that I wouldn't be able to handle losing. | I'm starting to get sick. My throat is beginning to get clogged up with dust and I'm not able to speak as well. Ma hasn't gotten any better, and Pa has started to distance himself from us. I think this drought is a lot harder on him than it is for us. His whole life surrounds farming and not only has he lost his income, but he's lost his passion and a part of himself. This is starting to really effect my family and I'm starting to get scared that this is only the beginning. I hope Pa will continue to love and support Ma, because I don't know how long she'll be able to last in her condition. | Dear Diary,
9: Dust storms in Colcord & my farm
10: July 1932 | Because of the dust sweeping around Oklahoma, it has been harder to get to school everyday without getting it in my eyes and lungs. I can no longer sing my way to school, but instead shield my eyes with my hands and try my best to not breathe in all of the dust surrounding me. Ma still isn't doing too well either, but we are all hoping that soon all of the dust will be gone and that I will have my full voice back. Also, we are in the midst of a reelection, and Ma and Pa are pretty excited over this one candidate, Franklin Roosevelt. Pa says that he is going to be a change for our country if he wins, and that if he doesn't the state of our country will continue to plummet. I'm really hoping that this FDR man will win, because I don't like seeing my parents so frightened. Last night I overheard Pa saying how Hoover, our current president, isn't doing much to help our falling economy. However, he did say something about Hoover creating the Agricultural Marketing Act, which is supposed to give money to farmers for supplies like seed and livestock food, but Hoover won't allow the government to lend the farmers money directly because they don't want us to become dependent on them. Pa said that it's good because it'll get us some extra supplies, but that he still fears Hoover doesn't understand just how critical the state of our farm, and neighboring farms, are. I even heard him saying something about Hoovervilles, and that he was scared our town could even turn into one. I'm really hoping that things will get better soon. | Dear Diary,
11: A photograph of a Hooverville I saw in our newspaper. I really hope our town of Colcord doesn't fall into this state. | Pa has been able to make a little money from the "help" of President Hoover. Even though he waited so long to help the country and not much can be done at this point to get us out of this awful state, the AMA does help a little. Pa is provided with some materials and seeds to grow a few crops. He can't sell that many because a lot of them go towards the three of us so we have something to eat. Since the prices of the crops have been raised, farmers, like Pa are able to receive more for the crops that they're able to grow. Since Pa isn't given money directly, we've mainly been giving seeds to grow potatoes and apples, which isn't much of a variety. But I'm thankful that Pa is able to bring in a little money and he's still able to feed us.
12: November 1932 | Dear Diary, | Today our country has elected a new president. The winner was FDR, and he is to take office in March 1933. Pa says he won by a giant amount of votes compared to our current president, Herbert Hoover. Pa says that Roosevelt is going to hopefully change the conditions of our world today, starting with helping the stock market back in New York, and the banks in the Midwest as well. Ma and Pa were losing faith in Hoover, and I think the rest of our country was as well. At school, the other kids in my class would always whisper about how their parents were losing hope that the conditions of our country were going to get better, but I haven't given up yet. I can tell Ma and Pa are starting to see like this too, but I think they're trying to stay as hopeful as possible in order to not upset me. I think they are most worried about the farm, and that we won't be able to get the support we need to help fix the farm and our loss of crops. I can tell Ma and Pa are trying to stay hopeful to prevent worrying me, but I'm probably worrying more than them. I don't want to see them lose our farm, and everything we have worked so hard at. Hopefully we will be out of the dust soon.
13: Part of FDR's campaign
14: Town of Colcord During a storm | Pa trying to grow crops | Me sitting outside our house with damage surrounding me | Ma and I reading, one of the only things to do
15: Day at the Beach | May 1935 | So the dust storms have been going on for the past four years, and my life is slowly falling apart. Our farm is gone, and so is a big part of Ma and Pa; they both feel like complete strangers to me now. Ma is slowly dying from Dust Pneumonia, and Pa doesn't come around us much anymore. Maybe Ma would be a little healthier if he didn't use the money put aside for the doctor to get drunk. He feels like a stranger to me now; we barely talk let alone look at each other. He spends a lot of his time outside on the farm torturing himself by looking at all the death surrounding him. Death of his drops, death of his animals, death of everyone's spirits from being so depressed. It's hard to think about how happy we once were, and how fortunate we were at one point in our lives. No matter what happens, however, I will never head out west. I could never leave the home that I grew up in, abandoning everything that resides in my heart. My father once talked about that possibility, but I said no. And even though he's changed into such a cold and reserved person, I know deep down he could never leave Ma and I alone here, alone to drift away in the dust. Ma has been staying so strong, and I have to be too. No matter how bad this has been and how much worse it will get, I won't give up on my family- they're almost the only things I have left. | Dear Diary,
16: My school has been destroyed in a terrible dust storm that occurred about two months ago. That was one thing that I used to look forward to the most. It was one place that I could still be myself and not remember the sadness in my home. I also have lost my voice pretty badly, which means I can't sing anymore. I can still talk sometimes, but not nearly as well as I used to. I try to give the doctor's attention to my mother because she's in worse condition than I am and I would rather risk my own health than to be a reason why she dies. Singing was such a passion of mine- like farming was to my father. Without it, there's no good way for me to comfort myself. Most of the time I stay in my room, without anything to do, which has been a major contribution to my depression out here. Singing used to be a way for me to escape my own troubling thoughts; through every bad moment, I would sing to myself or to my family. And now as I sit home, feeling alone, there's no escape. I'm trapped inside my own head. | October 1935 | It's so hard to think about how only two years ago this wasn't as bad and my family was still happy. We still supported each other and this has pulled us apart. Having our house filled with dust, our farm completely dead, my family falling apart has been so hard on me. I just want it all to be over. | Me sitting in my house | Dear Diary,
17: June 1936 | Dear Diary, | Things have started to look up a bit since the last time I wrote to you. Pa seems to be getting better, and our country is starting to get more help since we elected FDR. President Roosevelt recently established a set of programs called the New Deal. They provide relief and reform for our country to help us get out of this critical financial crisis. One of the programs that is geared toward helping farms and farmers is called the Agricultural Adjustment Act, or the AAA. This program pays farmers to not grow as many crops, and to not keep as many livestock around on the farm. President Roosevelt believes this will help raise the value of crops to where they used to be, and help farmers fix the damages done by all these dust storms. Pa says that this is good idea, but being that we are a struggling country, he believes holding back on crops and livestock could be harmful. He says this because so many people, including us, are struggling to provide and buy food for their families, and by having farmers produce less food, it will be even harder. I'm hopeful that this program can do some good for the farm, but I also worry about not being able to produce any crops because of all the damage done by the dust. Ma and Pa tell me that we must remain hopeful, even though he seems as if all of his hope is drained out of him. | Neighbors farming because of AAA
18: November 1939 | Dear Diary, | From the first time that I wrote to you to now has been a long time- just about 15 years. I'm 23 now. And I'm hoping after this is all over I can go back to some school to finish my education. The dust storms seem to be getting better. Pa said in some parts of Oklahoma, they aren't getting the storms anymore. I sure hope this is the end; it's been such a torturing storm. We've lost everything. I'm actually surprised I still have this after everything I've been through. Ma died about a year and a half ago from her Dust Pneumonia, and I actually lost this diary for the longest time so I was unable to write about it. It's been a rough ten years; the dust storms have completely ruined our farm but luckily more has been done for farmers, including Pa, to bring in a little income. Hopefully this support keeps coming even when it's all over- there was a lot of damage done. After Ma died, it was one of the final straws for Pa and I, however, we saw it coming. Maybe we just didn't want to admit it to ourselves that we'd end up alone. At first, I could tell he wasn't able to handle it healthily; he wouldn't grieve, he just sat around in denial. It took a few months for it to sink in and he finally reached out to me. He's been a lot more affectionate towards me and we're working hard to develop our strong relationship again- we're all each other has. Although Pa seemed to have given up on my and our farm for quite some time, he never left me and I am so fortunate to have him by my side. My voice is slowly coming back and ever since Ma died, I've been able to receive more medical attention. I hope I'll be able to sing again someday soon.
19: Although this was definitely the worst experience Pa and I have gone through, I'm so happy we never left. Oklahoma will forever be my true home and I couldn't be more grateful for FDR and his New Deal. Without him, I can almost certainly say, I wouldn't have made it, and neither would Pa or several other farmers in the neighboring states. President Roosevelt gave us hope to believe that even under the worst circumstances, it is possible to make a living. He gave me a reason to have faith in our government, and I hope future presidents follow in his footsteps. Hope has been restored here in the Midwest, and I'm sure it has been throughout the nation as well. Life is slowly getting better, now all we need is a little rain. I know the worst has passed and I can safely say I survived the dust storms during The Great Depression. | FDR... he's been elected for a second term in office, so things should continue to look up. | Pa and I picking a few crops. Our farm's been doing better because of the less frequent dust storms and more support by FDR.
20: Citations | "#1 1930's Dust Bowl." Minnesota Climatology Working Group. Web. 01 Apr. 2012.
21: "Franklin D. Roosevelt." History.com. A&E Television Networks. Web. 01 Apr. 2012.
22: Citations | "Pictures of Gilbert Farm in Georgetown, Connecticut." History of Redding, Connecticut (CT) Past & Present. Web. 20 Mar. 2012.