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Vagabonds: 1939

Vagabonds: 1939

June 1939. Another look at the fellow we saw here last week, this time with some company. "Veteran migrant worker and his wife camped in Wagoner County, Oklahoma. He has followed the road for about 30 years. When asked where his home was he said, 'It's all over.'" 35mm negative by Russell Lee. View full size.


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Hard Times Indeed

Poor man looks shell-shocked. We younger generations have no idea what life during the Depression was like. I remember my mother saying sometimes my grandmother had nothing to feed the dog but butter (they lived on a ranch in CA). My dad, who also grew up on a ranch in CA, told me that after harvest, he, his dad and his sister would pick up discarded apricots and plums off the ground at local orchards. They dried the fruit in the sun so it would keep.

The Grapes of Wrath

These people look like they stepped right out of John Ford's 1940 movie and indeed look very typical of the pictures we see of real live folks during the Great Depression. But what I wonder when I see people like this, who are old enough to have been adults in the 1920's and earlier, what did they do during boom times? I guess it's like the man said, he chose the migratory life and appears to have enjoyed it. During the next five years, though, I'll bet both he and his wife were doing defense work as everyone else was.

He's jest plum wore out

When I saw the first photo, life's wear and tear was quite evident. More proof here. He's probably just a few years older than his wife but looks 25 years older.

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