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Low Noon: 1936

Low Noon: 1936

March 1936. "Heavy black clouds of dust rising over the Texas Panhandle." 35mm nitrate negative by Arthur Rothstein for the FSA. View full size.


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Dust Bowl

We lived in Arkansas on the river across from Oklahoma and even though Texas and Oklahoma were the worst hit, my folks got plenty of the dust. It certainly gave us backbone for years to come. This generation shouldn't wonder why great and great-great grandparents died so young. They worked themselves to death way too early. It would be hard to visualize today's teenager cleaning up the mess with a straw broom, bar of lye soap, and old rags.

Dust Storms

This photo brings back memories. Our schoolhouse in Tulia, Texas, had no electric lights (or indoor plumbing), so we were dismissed when a duster rolled into town and made everything as dark as night. To avoid breathing the dust, we tied handkerchiefs over our noses while walking home from school. The storms left a coating of dust about a quarter of an inch deep on everything inside our closed-up houses. The cleanup afterward was quite a chore. Gene Howe, a writer for the Amarillo Globe News, claimed that the dust storms were healthy and invigorating and maybe he was right. The dust storms and the effects of the Depression left us with backbone to spare. I don't recall anybody in those days complaining about how tough times were as opposed to all the whining heard in today's America.

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