A letter to a cousin from the family farm details the day's events, including getting caught in a dust storm
My turn to write so here goes. This day started out real sunny. The mile we walk to school is really nice, especially when we leave a little early. We can watch the ants move from one house to another and name all the flowers we see on the way. Vern made a mistake, he put his lunch down while we watched the ants and halfway to school he discovered he was carrying a sackful of them. He decided to let them have it so he took his apple out and threw the sack in the pasture. He didn't go hungry though, for we all shared some of our lunch. He probably got more to eat then the other five of us who shared with him.
About two this afternoon we noticed another dust storm approaching from the north. Three layers this time: first layer light, next layer reddish and third layer black. Vern decided we'd better go home or Mom would worry. The rest of the kids stayed at school till it blew over or someone came to pick them up. The six of us and Alice and Raymond, our neighbors, went out and climbed through the fence into the pasture and walked single file along the fence. Halfway back to the family farm the sand hit us in the face. We all joined hands and hung on tight and walked close to the barbed-wire fence. Vern led and Raymond brought up the rear; they were the oldest and biggest. When we got to the corner we climbed through the fence and took a head count, even though we couldn't see our hands in front of our faces. We crossed the road through our gate still holding hands and marched into the house. When we got into the house Mom, who was busy wetting the sheets to hang over the doors and windows, was glad to see us.
That's why we have cream-colored sheets. No white ones. We're really in fashion these days. Really uptown we are. Of course all our neighbors have the same color sheets on their clotheslines.
After the dust quit blowing the neighbors walked the last half mile to their house.
When they left I went in and washed the sand off the dishes before setting the table for supper. After we eat I'll go shake the bedding out so we won't have to sleep in the sand. Tomorrow before school I'll dust and hope there are no more dust storms for a while-three or four a week is a little much.
Well Cuz, nothing new around here except some new white ittens, so best sign my John Henry.
With loads of love your cousin, Mae.
Mae C. Reed
Aztec, New Mexico
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.
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