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Parched Okies: 1939

Parched Okies: 1939

August 1939. "Drought-stricken farmer and family near Muskogee, Oklahoma. Agricultural day laborer." Wanted: Escalade with tinted glass. Large format negative by Dorothea Lange, Resettlement Administration. View full size.

 

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Luck of the Draw

What a beautiful woman - she looks like Virginia Woolf. In another life she could have been something less uncomfortable.

Better Times Ahead

After the royalties from "Billy Jack" started rolling in.

Wheel Weave

The wheel spokes are loose in the hub. The fabric, when soaked with water will hold moisture much longer at the hub where it is most needed to swell and tighten the spokes. Much like soaking an axe head with its handle in a bucket of water.

Under my umbrella, ella, ella, eh?

That poor woman--I can only imagine an August in Oklahoma and how little good that umbrella did. That tiny, ineffective shade against the heat and sun illustrates the futility here perhaps even better than the wagon does.

Handsome hubby though, so I guess she had that going for her.

Are we there yet?

That wagon is a familiar sight. Even as of the mid-60s, one could still see such a rig on the road here in Oklahoma. Old Mr. Hoffman who mowed my grandmother's yard with a non-powered reel-type mower drove such a rig.

Another guy, a neighbor, drove one daily until the early 70s. All us neighborhood kids used to run out and stare whenever we heard the rig creaking and the tackle jingling. It only now seems ironic that about the same time, we all gathered under the night sky to watch another neighbor fly overhead in Skylab.

My last surviving uncle (of ten kids) was telling me about how my grandfather drove such a wagon from Roswell, NM to Texas and Oklahoma time and again until my grandmother put her foot down somewhere around 1910 and put an end to family "vacations" visiting relatives by wagon (in winter, no less!) after the second of ten had come along. I've wondered how many days and nights it is from Ardmore, Oklahoma to Roswell, New Mexico at only one horsepower, but reckoned I'm with grandma, no matter the answer. I had her campfire coffee, though, and I reckon it'd get you going.

Question for wagon owners

Why is there fabric woven through the spokes of that front wheel?

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