When I was a young boy many years ago, we suffered from the Dust Bowl days. The summer heat was extreme. From June into September temperatures were 100 degrees or more every day – at least that is what my memory recalls from 80 years ago.
I know for a fact that is was over 115 degrees many days and it was so hot at night we used to go out in the country in the evening to a little hill where quite often there would be a slight breeze. We would sleep there under the stars. As kids we thought it was a great adventure. Also as kids our mothers worried that we would get sunburned (which we did) and also maybe heat stroke (which we didn’t).
We did all kinds of activities, tried to stay in the shade, we got such a tan that my Indian friends stopped calling me ”Pale Face,” at least for the summer. Our biggest worry was Polio. We didn’t have the least idea how to avoid the disease or what caused it. So we just went on and enjoyed fishing, hunting for arrowheads, riding our bikes all over the area, and playing baseball.
Girls played dolls and hopscotch. Boys played marbles. If we had made or saved 15 cents we would go to the Saturday matinee, which had a weekly serial episode, usually cowboys and Indians, a cartoon, and another episode of ”Our Gang.” Ten cents for he movie and five cents for popcorn. The only requirement was to be home in time to do our chores and wash up before dinner-time.
Everyone knows we didn’t have TV. Not every family had a car and every few had two. Your mom didn’t take you to your friend’s house or the theater; we walked or rode our bikes. We didn’t know about Global Warming and living in the area of oil fields. Electricity was more expensive than Natural Gas; some people still had gas lighting, but very few.
Out in the country where homes had dirt or gravel driveways, unrefined oil was used to keep the dust down, and mud also. Money was scarce for most families, but we kids were oblivious to that – we didn’t have any to spare, but we made do mostly entertaining ourselves.
My friends were as poor as we were. But I tell you I look back on a happy childhood, despite it being six to nine decades ago.