Dust Storms Were a Part of Plains Life During the Depression Era

Kansan recalls seeing her first dust storms while growing up during the depression era

| Good Old Days

On the day of our first big dust storm, during the depression era, my Father was out in the field plowing. In the north we saw something turning black. It was like the whole world was black.

My Mother became frightened as she didn't know why the sky was turning black. I was a little girl. I became afraid and started to cry. My Mother and I wanted my Father.

The wall kept coming closer, rolling big rolls. Just as it was about to hit, we saw my Father just ahead of it. We didn't have a cellar at that time, so we went in the house and shut all the windows. We felt better with Father with us. He was afraid, too, he had never seen anything like this before either.

When it hit, it was black, you could barely see our kerosene lamp burning on the table. Dirt sifted in our home everywhere. We had to cover our mouths with handkerchiefs to keep the dust out of our throats. This one lasted only a few hours if I remember right.

Later we learned this was our first big dust storm on the plains of western Kansas. Our family has been in many more from that first one of the depression era of the 1930s.

Pauline Fecht
Syracuse, Kansas

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