FC: The Great Depression | The story of Keith Robinson.
3: March 17, 1927 I got to reminiscing about life before this here drought, 9 years its been now. When farming was important, I got myself some mighty fine equipment and I was out there soaking in the sun everyday. It always seemed that there was a good crop, and everyone always needed more food. Life was good, the money was pretty good too. Enough to make sure the lot of us was clothed and fed anyway. I ‘member when the boys would race each other in the front, Jackson would always win but not by much, then little Elle would come out and try and catch them. Always so much spirit in those kids, and Dakota. Dakota, boy was she beautiful. She was more attractive than a lantern to a fly in looks and charm. We grew up together, family friends. We was always friendly but it wasn’t til I got my own land, then we got married. As the kids got older I had to start putting them to work. Once the boys turned 7 or 8 I had them working in the fields with me, and Elle was helpin’ her mother ‘round the house soon as she was able. Boy was I proud when Samuel helped out our neighbor Johnny do his chores planting seed. Samuel was always the most generous of us, takes after his mother I guess. Life was great, we had a good crop and a good load of fun. I jus‘ wish it could’ve lasted forever.
5: December 28, 1929 Life’s been real hard for us lately, ever since WWI ended. During WWI we farmers were needed. Our food went to the U.S. soldiers, the demand was so high that I needed to buy myself some new equipment. I bought 3 new machines, about one hundred bucks each. As great as the war was I didn’t have that kind of money. I had to take a loan. It was easy though. Easy as 1, 2, 3, but now the war is over. We don’t need to feed no U.S. soldiers no more. Now people don’t need all my food. Demand is low. On top of all that I have to pay off these here machines. And I thought that was all my troubles. And then the dust came. Big giant clouds of dust all ‘round. It was scary. The first time, I’m a big buck of a man and it nearly scared me to death. Dust in the food, dust in the house, dust in the water, dust in the air. Dust everywhere. Inescapable, there’s dust in me, it’s part of me now, I cannot get rid of it. I feel like we are being punished by the almighty God. Forced to live in a hell. Not a day goes by that I don’t pray and think about what I did to deserve this. My crop is nearly gone. I can’t pay off any loans. There’s never any water. And there is nothing I can do to stop the dust. I’m trapped. But I’d be dead before I ever left this place. My granddaddy came here and took this here land from them Indians, and no one can make me leave. Not the dust, no locusts, no government, no loans. Nothing and no one.
6: October 21, 1932 Some people in this fine nation forgot what is meant to be an American. Hoover is a big fool if I’ve ever seen one. He hasn't done nuthing during his term. So many people need help. And it’s not just the farmers. I hear things are real bad out in them big cities. The stock market crashed, people don’t have jobs, people don’t have homes, and out there everyone is real mean. But here, we got each other. We might not have a lot of money but we have eachother. One thing we sure don’t got is a good president. Which is why I'm going to vote for Roosevelt. A change needs to occur. Roosevelt, now he sounds like a real nice fella. He seems like he got something cookin’ in that pretty little brain of his. I feel it, he is going to help my family and I. He is the change merica’ needs. He cares about us. I feel like when he speaks he speaks directly to me. He is truly a man of the people and I hear things will get better with him on our side. No more Hoovervilles.
9: September 13, 1933 Lemme tell ya, our lives have been flipped upside down. Nuthin’ is the same anymore. I take pride in my family and land. It would be a disgrace for me to leave this land. My grandaddy took this land for us future generations to thrive. He may not have expected the dust to come, but then again nobody saw it comin. Family pride comes first to us farmers. We are strong as long as we got each other. I, Keith Clarkson, will be dead before I leave. Crops don’t grow like they used to, and it sure seems like everywhere I go the dust is with me. In the house, in the shed, in the fields, even in our food. I’m done with the dust and I know I’m not alone. All of this dust got to some people. My own son, Samuel couldn’t handle it. He got the dust pneumonia like so many others, he died shortly after he got it. he wasn’t even 20 yet. When Samuel died Jackson couldn’t take it. Those boys were so close, he had to go, he couldn’t stay here. He didn’t tell us where he was going, I prayed and prayed that he would be alright wherever he goes, and that he would come back someday. I’d love for him to take this land when I’m gone just like I did with my Pa, someone to take over when times are better. When there ain’t no more dust.
10: June 22, 1934 Living in this dust is awful, and Mr. President Hoover did nothin’ to help this situation. I aint askin’ for much, I don’t like handouts. What I really wanted was some rain but we all know they have no control over that. When Mr. Franklin Roosevelt came into office and started talkin’ about this New Deal it caught my interest. He created the Agriculture Adjustment Act, or we just call it the AAA. I was told by them government people to kill some of my crops; and I think to myself why in the devil would I do that, but when they send me money for doing it I ain’t going to question their reasoning. I reckon they are trying to make the prices of crops higher, put more money in the pockets of us farmers. Well it seems Mr. Roosevelt has done mighty good for me, through all the hardships over the past decade losing my boys and still dealing with this drought. I’ve got a bit more money in my pocket, and we eat a little better now. Most importantly I’ve still got my land; my land, not the governments, not no bank’s, my land. I didn’t like the idea of the government helpin’ me, but now I’m able to pay off my loans, and my family is a little better off. It’s been rough managing the whole farm on my own without the boys; god I miss them. There aint nothin’ left for me to do, just got to keep prayin’ for some rain. No more dust.
12: WORK CITED "ASU Story Online Exhibit." Arizona State University. ASU, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.