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Pie Town: The Musical

Pie Town: The Musical

Pie Town schoolchildren singing. October 1940. View full size. 35mm Kodachrome by Russell Lee. Second boy from the right is "Pops" McKee, interviewed by Paul Hendrickson in the Smithsonian article on Pie Town.


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On having what they need

My mother was born in 1929, which would have put her at about the average age of these kids. She remembers the Depression as a great time to be a child. Everyone was in the same boat, as far as not having much. They appreciated everything they had, and any new gift was a thrill! Now, there were certainly children who didn't even have the basics, had to go hungry, and didn't even have a roof over their heads. That was tragic. But there were also many children who had what they needed and were happy, during that time. I wish there was a way to recapture some of that for our children now. My two teenagers, for example, give away clothing they have only worn a couple times (because I won't let them just throw them away) and think they are horribly picked on if they can't have new, $150-200 cell phones twice a year.


I too remember days of carefree FUN. Nowadays you cannot get most kids to play outside for 5 minutes much less for hours. My own kids included.

These aren't "poor kids"

The boy closest to the songleader, who was also his aunt, is my father. He didn't speak of those times as having anything to do with being poor. Three of the girls are his sisters. There is a wonderful book registered with the Library of Congress called "Bound for Glory" with wonderful color photos of the families who homesteaded in Pie Town, NM.

- Vicky Palmerton

Pie Town: The Musical

Those poor kids. Look at how dirty most of them are. And no shoes!

I grew up in a time where the lack of shoes did not hinder happiness. It was more free and fun to run barefoot where-ever and when-ever you could!


Don't think my family would find joy in soil stained soles. Can't even convince them to try barefootin' it IN the house. Heh. Woe to the soul who tries to part them from their fuzzy house shoes.

Just Do IT

I think you could probably fulfill your own dream, just sell everything purchase a piece of land someplace that is cheap and get going. I love this photo.

36 years old...

...this brings back so many memories of my grandfather's house where I spent most of my summers until the age of 16. Man, I loved that place. On his farm the only time we had to wear shoes was on Sunday morning for church. Yeah, we got dirty, had so much fun doing it and then let the late summer afternoon rain wash most of it away. God, how carefree, how happy. I fear too many of us have forgotten or simply never felt or lived those simple pleasures. I'd gladly trade all this crap we surround ourselves with to return that type of childlike innocence to our culture.

Hispanic kids?

The Pie Towners were all homesteaders from Oklahoma and Texas.

Pie Town: The Musical

Pie Town is in New Mexico. Where are the Hispanic kids. I guess they didn't attend school?

Not a "chunky" one in the

Not a "chunky" one in the group, all so skinny. No shoes and dirty feet!

They had all they needed...

...except for those who went to bed hungry five nights out of seven, or got pneumonia because they didn't have warm clothes in the winter, or had to leave school to work at the age of 11 to support their family.

There's a reason "the Depression" is capitalized.

These photos are absolutely stunning.

Long live Shorpy

Look at the full-sized version and notice the boy in the front row (bib overalls, to the left of the girl in the brown and white dress). Looks like he came directly out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

BTW, great stuff Shorpy!!

Never Happier.

They had all they needed.

Pie Town: The Musical

Those poor kids. Look at how dirty most of them are. And no shoes!

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