Eighty-years ago today my mom and dad with two of my dad’s siblings along with my older sister and brother left Carter County Oklahoma. All were headed for California in hopes of a new life. Some found their new life and some returned to Oklahoma. Luckily my dad found steady and meaningful work in southern California and stayed. He found work with benefits, bought a house, my youngest sister and I were born there, and we all settled into L A cosmopolitan living. All in spite of our extreme Okieness.
Sometimes I get to thinking; what would have happened if my folks hadn’t left Oklahoma. A very scary thought. My folk’s former home back in Carter County was a four-room wooden prairie house on a gravel county-line road south of Wilson. The house had no electricity, running water, no heating and air, no indoor bathroom, and not even a hand pumped water well. Before going to his WPA job each morning my dad had to go across the road to the school house and pump water into two 2-gallon water buckets and carry them back to the house for my mom to have drinking and cooking water for the day. They had to wait for the weekend to carry enough water for bathing. Thus the creation of the Saturday night bath. And that’s not the half of it. All of which means my siblings, their spouses, children, grandchildren, had my folks stayed in Oklahoma, would have grown up there. So how about that possibility you nieces and nephews. No Miller’s market, no DeLuca’s pizzeria, no Bob’s Big Boy drive-in, no See’s candies, no nearby Easter clothes shopping at Sears, and no nearby high school with shop classes and an occasional sock-hops in the boy’s gym. Just lots of very dry sandy red dirt with fire ants had they stayed in Oklahoma.