Making Do in Western Oklahoma

One family makes a go of it in harsh conditions of the Great Depression in western Oklahoma.

| Good Old Days

We lived in western Oklahoma during the Depression, and life then was much like that in pioneer days. My father raised sorghum and dried it on large mats set up on the creek out of the wind. The women helped with the grinding, cooked for the hands, and filled the buckets with molasses to be stored on our cellar shelves.

We raised black-eyed peas and little navy beans, and picked them like cotton, filling our cotton sacks. It was my job, with my brothers, to stomp the sacks, which would shell the beans and peas, and then help the wind blow the pod parts away. To this day I don't like either peas or beans.

Our home was sold from under us and we really pioneered that winter. We lived in a covered wagon and a tent which was pitched beside the wagon and had a big woodstove in the middle for heat. My father sold black-jack wood and we ate squirrels and rabbits for meat. On Thanksgiving day we had possum and noodles!

Mrs. Laverne Furnish
Guymon, Oklahoma

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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