Yesterday I caught a show on the History Channel on the Black Blizzard. I had heard about the dust bowl, but I had never heard about this. This is the name given to the dust storms of the '30's. In some cases the storms were so bad that cars were buried in the dust. Visibility was so bad that people would tie ropes from the fence to the barn or house.
There was no escaping the dust. The homes were so poorly insulated and the spaces between windows and frames were so large that the dust got into every corner of the home. Homeowners tried to seal these openings with cloth soaked in a mixture of flour and water, sometimes they hung sheets soaked in plain water to catch the dust, but none of these measures helped. Women had to quickly stir the food, or knead the bread in a drawer that was open only enough to allow two hands in.
The worst of this was the number of children who died of pneumonia caused by the dust getting into their lungs. Some families lucky enough to have family in other parts of the country sent their children away to safety.
There were no crops, livestock starved. Then came the insects, they were all over. Because the predators were gone, jackrabbits multiplied and ate whatever crops there were.
And yet, some people survived. Eventually the rains came and the farmers learned more about soil conservation and the midwest thrived.
The survival and recovery of the people and area says a lot about the human spirit. The people were amazing, there were so many hardships - no crops, no jobs, death and yet some stayed and rebuilt the area.
Could we survive such hardship?