Children's Life During the Dust
A Child's Life During the Dust Bowl
A long time ago when the Dust Bowl was here, children starved and had
a hard life. In Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, a girl named
Billie Jo lives her life as a child and has a rough time about it. So, how
were children’s lives? Were they like Billie Jo’s?
During the Dust Bowl, before school, children would have to milk
cows, and feed the chickens, horses, and other animals every day.
Rural kids had to walk miles just to get to school, but then again children
really wanted to go to school and learn how to speak and read.
At school they had mechanics, shop, design, math, writing,
and reading classes. Their books weren’t as good as ours are today. Their
books had dust in them. Some pages had faded letters that you couldn’t read.
For water fountain, they used a water pump. The water wasn’t always clean
but it was something to drink. At school they had to
recite their homework, which means tell the whole class their homework.
Recess time was not much of a recess, since the only thing the children
had to play on was a maypole, which is a pole that has chains on it and
you swing around it. During a hard windy day, teachers would send
children home and they would have to walk backwards because the wind was
so hard. After 8th grade, children usually quit to go help on
the farm and try to help with food depending if it was a girl or boy.
Children in Oklahoma wanted to move because of so many dust storms.
So did the parents, so they had a little car and their entire luggage
and left. It took a lot of days and nights but eventually they would get
to California. It wasn’t as good as they expected. Actually it wasn’t good
at all. They tried to find jobs but couldn’t because signs said no
Okies (people from Oklahoma) allowed, so some people rented a poor house
for $1.00 and that was a lot back then especially for Okies because people
wouldn’t give them a chance. Children suffered watching their parents
suffer with no food and barely any water. They used a stream near by to wash
clothes, take baths, and use the bathroom in, and when it rained the stream
got all muddy and children would drink out of the stream and get diseases.
It was a horrible time for the Okies. Some people thought it was so
bad that they headed back to the horrible dust storms and starvation.
And when the Okies went to the California school kids called them dumb Okies
or even worse because Okies didn’t learn as much as they should of because
of all the dust storms during which the children couldn’t go to school.
Toys, toys, toys, not much of them during the dust days.
Little girls had to make their dolls out of straw or anything they could
find such as a tumble weed. Others would build a merry-go-round
out of a wagon wheel. The ones who didn’t want to make anything
sat on the porch and played jacks.
Billie Jo’s life was similar to other children’s lives: she
had a school but the classes were different. Billie Jo didn’t have designing
classes at least it didn’t say that in the book. And she didn’t have to
work as hard as the other children did before her mother died. Billie
Jo suffered a long time after her mom had kerosene accidentally thrown