Grasshoppers and Dust Storms Were Farmers' Natural Enemies During Depression Era

Kansan recalls growing up during the depression era, battling dust storms to get to school, and grasshoppers to save her garden.

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I grew up in the depression era. The drought and grasshoppers were our biggest enemy on the farm. We tried to raise a garden. The grasshoppers ate that plus destroyed trees, especially fruit trees.

The dust storms were scary. Most of us lived one to three miles from school. We got reports of approaching dust storms like we now receive blizzard and severe storm warnings. One school board member warned us at school and called our parents. My Dad met me a mile from home. Boy was I glad to see him! We barely made it home. It was almost as dark as night. The chickens went to roost.

My folks told me to follow the fence in fog, dust storms, or heavy snow. I had one mile to walk on the road and a mile across the pasture.

I had a ready-made new coat when I was five years old. I did not have another one until I was sixteen years old.

Lois Caldwell
Garnett, Kansas

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.