Dust Storms, Milk & Crackers

My Early Years

Julita J

The middle 30’s brought a lot of first times. Living through the “dust storms” we had, is something I hope never to see again. Our front porch was surrounded by windows, I can remember helping Mom tear strips of cloth into narrow lengths, wetting them and stuffing them into the edges of the windows. It was in the sheets, every corner of the house, you didn’t dare leave any food out, and you couldn’t afford to waste it so you had to put it under cover.

The Dust Bowl — Buried Farm Lot in South Dakota in 1936

One came up during school hours and they sent us home before it got too bad, but guess what! I stopped with a little friend at her house and her mother wouldn’t let me go on as by that time you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. Street lights had come on, but it didn’t help. Don’t think we had a phone at that time, or maybe my little friends didn’t have one, but at any rate Mom didn’t know where I was, and nearly scared her to death. It was several hours before it cleared up enough for me to go home. By that time Dad and the Police were looking for me. From then on, we were never sent home during storms, we were kept at school until someone came and got us.

Milk and Graham Crackers

One thing that was great from the 30’s, all children who were underweight for their age were given a morning break where we got graham crackers and milk. I was one of the lucky or unlucky ones. However you want to look at it. I thought it was great. Still love graham crackers and milk.

Milk & Graham Crackers — Milk Program 1930’s & 40's

Once in a while (far between) we would go for a drive on Sunday and one time we were out near White Lake, west of Mitchell, and we pasted a Fields were the whole Fields was mass of blue and white daisies. They were about 2 foot tall will never forget the sight. So often wish I had asked Dad to dig some of them up to take home. They next year when we drove out that way again the farmer had plowed the Fields up and they were gone. How tragic such beauty was lost forever. We went back for several years but they never came back.

20K Gather to Watch the Explorer II Lift Off

Explorer II — Experimental Weather Balloon — South Dakota 1935

Also remember on one of those rare occasions going out to White Lake again to see the Experimental Balloon come down. It was weather one that had been sent up for testing and had a gondola beneath it with (I think) 2 men in it. The very first of it’s kind. It was a real bog deal and they were telling on the radio as it was coming down just where it was going to land. As I remember it had gone to the lofty heights of 7 miles. There is a write up of it and I think even a piece of the balloon in the Balloon Museum at Mitchell, if your ever in Mitchell check it out.

Explorer II was a manned U.S. high-altitude balloon that was launched on November 11, 1935 and reached a record altitude of 22,066 m (72,395 ft). Launched at 8:00 am from the Stratobowl in South Dakota, the helium balloon carried a two-man crew consisting of U. S. Army Air Corps Captains Albert W. Stevens and Orvil A. Anderson inside a sealed, spherical cabin. The crew landed safely near White Lake, South Dakota at 4:13 pm and both were acclaimed as national heroes. Scientific instruments carried on the gondola returned useful information about the stratosphere. The mission was funded by the membership of the National Geographic Society.

If you’re interested in further genealogy research on the Stelzer or Borchard(t) families visit our Rootsweb Page. We have over 1900 individuals and 670 Surnames in our tree so far! Stay tuned for more from Grandma Bonnie.

If you have enjoyed this trip down memory lane, please recommend this to others. To read other stories from Grandma Bonnie follow her blog listed below.

Originally published at memoirsofgrammabonnie.wordpress.com on January 3, 2016.

Julita J

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Julita J

Posting Social Media Tips, Other fun stuff and anything else I feel like sharing!

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