|The Dark Depression
Author: DawsonGirl777 PM
Sequel to The Roaring Rumbler. Ruth Morgan and her family make many struggles throughout the 1930's America and during the Dust Bowl, while at the same time, Ruth cannot help falling in love with local farmer, Matthew Barker. Set during the Great Depression.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Tragedy/Drama - Chapters: 4 - Words: 5,753 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 12-26-12 - Published: 11-07-12 - id: 3072416
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It was now January of 1933, and in Kansas, the temperatures still rose into the nineties. Ruth Morgan was pulling weeds in their vegetable garden when Matthew Barker approached her from behind, startling her.
"Matthew! What are you doing here?" she exclaimed, glaring at him slightly.
"I've, er… come to say goodbye," said Matthew, looking down directly inter her eyes. Ruth froze, unable to speak.
"Wh-what?" she asked, standing up while still carrying weeds.
"Our home's been foreclosed. Pa's packing us up and moving us out west. There's tons of farms…" He coughed. "There's tons of farms that need help, and probably pay so much more than selling what few crops we have here in Kansas. And our health ain't going too good. My little brother, Peter's done catching a God awful cough."
"And what about you?" asked Ruth as he coughed again. "You don't sound all that well, either."
"Pa don't give a damn about me, Miss Ruth, and you know it," Matthew told her. "Well, Pa told me I only got a few minutes, then we're leaving. I'll, er… see you sometime." Ruth nodded slightly, looking at the hand that he had held out in front of her. She took it and shook it.
"I'll see you sometime," she said, fighting back tears. They let each other's hands go, exchanged one more glance, and Matthew turned and left, his hands in his pockets and his sunburnt neck exposed. Ruth watched helplessly as another family fell victim to foreclosure. It wasn't like it could be helped at all. Hoover didn't do anything, thus resulting in his not being re-elected. The country voted for Mr. Roosevelt, and come March, he will be sworn into presidency. Ruth couldn't wait to see the changes in the nation, though she knew it wouldn't come instantly. It took ages for miracles to happen, and Ruth hoped that Roosevelt would be able to pull one. Without another word or thought, Ruth returned to pulling weeds from the garden.
It was a matter of time before the next Black Blizzard would hit, so the Morgan family prepared. It was June of 1933. Todd was now nearly two, and the Barker family had been gone for five months now. Already, there were reports of Black Blizzards across the nation, and in case any more came in their area, the Morgan family was placing torn strips of cloth dipped in a flour-based paste on every crack and crevice in the house. Todd was now a little brown-haired toddler with a single blue eye and a single brown, which fascinated Hazel. Hazel was always into that strange and supernatural stuff, and believed Todd's multi-colored eyes were a sign from God that Todd was special. Ruth thought nothing of it, as she had seen people with multi-colored eyes before, but only in paintings and posters.
Todd sat playing with a small wooden model of a car, while Ruth, Hazel and Elizabeth dipped strips of cloth in the paste and placed it on the walls.
"Will this actually keep out the dust, Mother?" asked Hazel as she placed one on the edge of the window. Elizabeth sighed.
"For the most part, Hazel, but with dust as fine as prairie dust, it always finds a way in," she told her daughter, who looked slightly disappointed. "Don't look so dejected, dearest. It reduces the amount of dust that gets in. Why, Millie's mother a couple of miles down the road told me about this little trick and said it works." Ruth placed another strip on a crack in the walls.
"What if we doubled the strips?" she asked.
"If we had enough cloth, Ruthie, we would, but we only have a limited amount," Elizabeth replied, placing a large strip at the corner where the ceiling and the wall met.
"Can't we do what the Barkers did and move?" asked Hazel, obviously unaware of how bad their situation really was. Ruth, in May, had turned thirteen, and Hazel will remain ten until July.
"Hazel, darling, if we could afford it, we would move. But we just cannot afford it. We can barely afford the house that we're in now, so be thankful that you at least have a roof over your head," said Elizabeth, and Hazel didn't speak after that. The only one making noise was young Todd in the middle of the floor, happily playing with his wooden toy car.
Not long after the Morgan family had reinforced their home with the strips dipped in paste, another Black Blizzard had hit, but this time, had blown for three hours. For those three hours, the Morgans spent it wearing aviator goggles that Elizabeth had managed to find in their attic of their old Liberty home in early 1930 and covering their faces with what few cloths they had left. Elizabeth had sacrificed her cloth for the walls, so she remained without one, instead using her apron to cover her face. The dust storm that they had experience was one of over seventy that had hit in the year 1933, and it was only June. The Morgan family didn't know how many more storms were to hit them, and they didn't want to know.
After the storm, the Morgans had used the shovels that the Barkers had given them before their departure to dig their way out of their own home. They couldn't get out through the door, so they were forced to do so through the window. It was nearly ten at night by the time the dirt was completely off of their porch and Elizabeth had swept it away with a broom.
The following day, when Hazel went to check on the cattle, she had discovered that two of them were lying dead on the ground, and Elizabeth had to call in a couple of men from families down the old dirt road to help her remove them from the farm. They originally started, in 1932, with ten cattle. At the end of 1932, only six remained, and now, in June of 1933, the family had only three cattle left. They used to have fifteen chickens as well, but were now down to five. Ruth's favorite chicken, a red one with white feathers mixed in, had died at the end of 1932. Like humans, the livestock's lungs were filled with dust, and they, too, were drowned in dust. Soon, the family would have to invest in more livestock, which was slowly becoming more and more scarce in the prairie lands.
As everything started to go downhill rather quickly, as far as the economic crisis went, Elizabeth began to ponder more and more if they could just pack up everything and move. She knew it would be hard for her family, but she couldn't stand it if she lost them. Her children were the only thing that kept her going, these days. If she and Richard hadn't had any children, she might have put a bullet in her brain many years ago.
In Washington, D.C., the economic crisis was evident to the new leader of America. Wheelchair bound due a case of Polio that he had contracted in the 1920's, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was forced to remain seated, and while seated, he often had a lot of time to think. Already, he'd been in office for three months, and he had plans to fix this economic crisis that had begun only four years ago. He'd already sent dozens and dozens of bills to Congress in hopes of relieving those who were suffering in the nation, and they had all passed easily. On the day of his inauguration, Roosevelt spoke the infamous words, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself", which brought a lot more hope into families like the Morgan family who were suffering from the depression.
On the ninth of March, Roosevelt put into action his "New Deal" and declared a "bank holiday", then called in a session of Congress in which Congress passed the Emergency Banking Act, which was Roosevelt's first proposed step to recovery. Many Americans now had new hope for the nation, and to give those Americans a bit more confidence with the banks (many Americans were now keeping their money stuffed in mattresses and couches and other places, keeping them out of the banks and causing the banks to lose even more money), Roosevelt signed the Glass-Steagall Act, which was one of many bank reform acts.
The country had so much more to expect from Roosevelt, though what the man didn't know at the time was the fact that he would serve not one or two terms like every other president, but four terms due to his strong leadership throughout the Great Depression and the impending war that will exist come 1939. In the mean time, all Roosevelt could do was help in any way possible to end the suffering of most of America's citizens.