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King of Spades

(1931, Podunk, Oklahoma)

Dear Diary,

Ever since the Stock Market "crashed" several years ago, times have been rough for Mommy and Daddy, not to mention the whole family. The farm where Daddy used to work shut down last year, and began to die off. Things have really taken a turn for the worse here in Podunk, Oklahoma. As all the crops are dyin', dust starts to rise from the dead topsoil. It creates these huge duststorms, which makes this small town look more like a desert everyday. And it's not just here in Podunk; it's everywhere. All around the Midwest, farms are closing and leaving a desert behind, which we now know as the "Dust Bowl".

Yesterday, the Parkinsons moved out, along with a few others. They had been planning on staying, but there were just no jobs around here. As it is, both Mommy and Daddy are out of a job themselves, and with three kids, it's going to be really hard to make it. Just last night, they were talking about moving out to go West, possibly to California. It's just too hard to keep a living, and it's obvious due to the fact that a lot of these "Hoovervilles", or shantytowns, keep springing up. They are jokingly named after our President, Herbert Hoover.

It's ironic how Hoover's years in office have gone: his election motto was "A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage". Ever since he was elected; however, the exact opposite has happened. Everyday, Daddy has to go to a soup line just to get enough food to feed us all. He always feeds the younger children first, then he and Mommy take whatever is left. It's been hardest on Ruth, the baby of the family. We do what we can, and will do what it takes to get through this.

Life really isn't as bad for us as it is for a lot of other people, especially since we still have a house, a car, and a radio. Everyday, we hear about how other people have it, especially the in life of a "Hooverville". Everyday, people suffer in dehumanizing conditions, desperate for a job, or any kind of money, for that matter. We're still lucky to have a house, even though we don't have much money. It could be worse for us: we could be "hobos", scrounging from city to city for food, money, or a steady job. We see them all the time now, moving West to escape from this "Dust Bowl".

Well, I think this is all that I'll write for tonight. Depending on how this goes, we may or may not be moving to California within the week. I'll try to write everyday, but it'll be hard once we go on the move.

Good Night,

Jane Chase
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Retired Supervisor
Is this really non-fiction?

I was rattled by the early use of "Mommy and Daddy" and then a very adult sentence about Hoover's years in office. Those two statements seem to come from very differently aged writers of this journal entry.