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T for Three: 1939

T for Three: 1939

June 1939. "Migrant workers eating dinner by the side of their car (Ford Model T) while they are camped near Prague, Lincoln County, Oklahoma." Medium format negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Proper pronunciation of Prague, Oklahoma

Locally pronounced "pray"

Hood Ornament?

Is that a flying duck on top of the crumpled front fender - right in front of the headlight?

Ett fika, kanske?

My maternal grandfather invariably drank his coffee the same way: milk and sugar while in the cup, then into the saucer for further cooling and subsequent ingestion. He was the son of Swedish immigrants, and since Grandma didn't take her coffee like that, I figured he'd picked the habit up from his folks and it was therefore a Swedish thing. Never asked him about it, though.

So what about your grandma, Grammy23? Was she, or her folks, from up around these parts?

Saucered and blowed

I saw my father drink his coffee that way from time to time and he said it was “saucered and blowed”. I remember seeing my grandmother (his mom) pour her hot coffee into a saucer and blow across the top to cool it off.

That “crystal candy” dish might be a dime store heirloom. I received one similar to it as wedding gift from one of my husband’s aunts who lived in a tiny country town in rural Mississippi in the late 1960s. The only store where she could have shopped would have been a Ben Franklin or other dime store. It was clear glass with a lid that had a silver painted top on top.

I looked closely to see if I could figure out what they were eating. It appeared to be large lima beans, perhaps cooked with a ham hock. My mother in law cooked them with macaroni, making a rather thick, but very filling dish. Loaf bread, served from the wrapper, was served to round out the meal. Carb city.


Should you find yourself in this part of the country, be advised that "Prague" rhymes with "vague."

There's also a Miami, Oklahoma, which isn't pronounced how you might expect. But that's a comment for another photo.

Laurel & Hardy

Reminds me of the picnic scene at the front yard of the mansion from the movie "It's A Gift"

[In which Laurel & Hardy were played by W.C. Fields. -tterrace]

Shades of prosperity past

They're eating off what I'd assume is the last of the china they used to own, Dad's wearing a good pair of men's shoes, and the lady (Mom? daughter? sister? I can't tell) is wearing her "Sunday go to meeting" dress. The boy on the right has outgrown the clothes they had in the good days, though. I bet it's Sunday and they just went to church.

And that's gotta be tight in that Model T to have all your clothes, cookware, and probably a tent in there. Wow.

They set a nice blanket

That's a nice, er, table setting for itinerant migrant workers. That fine china and that beautiful crystal dish, probably handed down from parents or grandparents, seem incongruent to people today who are used to seeing plastic utensils and paper plates and cups when eating on the road.

Grapes of Wrath

A few weeks ago, I commented on a 1920-something Auburn sedan that looked good as new after more than ten years on the road. This Model T, by contrast, has clearly been put through the wringer.

The Joad Family drove a '26 Hudson, not a Model T, in the movie version of Grapes of Wrath. However, this car reminds me of theirs.

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