When Great Grandpa arrived for a visit, he brought this photo. At first I wasn’t sure what I was seeing: a big black cloud? Then I noticed the row of houses across the bottom.
The Dust Bowl.
Great Grandpa lived in Pampa, Texas in 1935, and took this picture while his mom was yelling at him to come inside and shut the door, quick.
Refuge was hard to come by in the US in 1935.
The house was closed up tight, rags were stuffed under door sills and around window jambs. Everyone had damp bandanas tied around their faces. It was not quick. They had to wait it out, like any storm.
When it was over, despite the house being shut as tight as possible, there was an inch of dust/dirt on every surface, and drifted along the interior walls like black snow. Food, which was so precious, was triple protected: wrapped, boxed, and tarped. Still, the oatmeal was gritty.
Dirt got into the ice box, even though that was also tarped.
I took days to get the house cleaned out. It took days to get the dirt out of your ears.
Imagine having so little refuge between ourselves and the elements: shelter, starvation, breathable air.