The low-lying country was normally bright, sunny and hot. In the country in a town called Elkhart in the state of Kansas, sat a small farmhouse and with it, a small farm. The house was rather shabby and looked rather unkempt. It had only one floor and very few windows, not that the family that lived there needed much space. Outside of the farm house, a woman, her infant child and her two daughters stood washing, hanging and taking clothes off of the clothesline that stood outside of the house. Suddenly, the bright sun disappeared, and as the family turned, a huge wall of dust and debris was quickly making its way in their direction.
"Quick, girls! Inside!" exclaimed the mother, and she picked up her infant and ran inside, her two girls following her.
"Hurry! Hurry! Close the door!" exclaimed one of the girls, and the other girl closed the door shut. The windows on the small unkempt farmhouse were boarded shut, and cloth was stuffed beneath the door so as not to let in any dust. Each woman was holding a cloth over her mouth, and the mother was holding a cloth over her infant's face.
The year was 1932; the early years of the infamous Dust Bowl of the 1930's. The family that owned the shabby farmhouse, the Morgans, were trapped inside for an hour as the dust storm passed by. Elizabeth Morgan had three children; an infant boy and two older daughters. Elizabeth was in her late thirties in 1932, and her husband, Richard, was in his early forties. Richard Morgan was currently in California working, sending as much money as he can to his family back home in hopes of them being able to live off of it. The little house had four rooms: two bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. The Morgans, before the crash in 1929, lived in a larger home in the larger town of Liberty, Kansas. But when the economic crisis hit, the family was forced to give up their happy lifestyle and trade it in for a life of hardships.
Elizabeth's eldest daughter, Ruth Morgan, was twelve. Ruth had a passion for entertainers of America, such as Constance Bennet the actress, Ethel Waters the singer and Lottie Miller the dancer. Above the bed that she shared with her sister, Hazel, was a poster of Lottie Miller, who was a famous 1920's dancer at the infamous Roaring Rumbler Theatre in New York. Ruth was rather fond of her and one day, hoped to dance at the Roaring Rumbler. Ruth had brown shoulder-length hair put up in a messy style, not that she had a choice. With her brown hair, she had blue eyes, and a sweet, gentle and pretty face that always found a way to smile. Ruth was also realistic, and knew that she probably would never be an amazing dancer like Lottie Miller or a beautiful actress like Constance Bennet. In fact, with the way the world was going, Ruth found it hard to believe in anything good for the common man, woman and child.
Hazel Morgan, unlike Ruth, was not realistic. Hazel applied to the clichéd catch phrase, "seeing the world through rose-colored glasses", believing that one day, her prince charming would come and save her from the hell she lived in. Ruth and Elizabeth blamed this on the day the family went to see the very first Disney cartoon, Snow White, in 1930, as Hazel had never had these beliefs until she had seen the film. Hazel was a pretty young girl, though her mother never believed that she was as pretty as Ruth. Hazel had brown hair like Ruth, normally in braids, and brown eyes like her father. The young girl was ten at the time.
The young infant, Todd Morgan, was only eleven months old. Barely walking, the young infant was useless in helping around the farm. However, when he becomes older, Elizabeth always says, he'll help out with digging up potatoes out in the fields. Todd's soft hair is still too early in developing to determine his natural color, but as of right now, his hair is a light brown color, and his eyes are still blue with specks of brown in one of them.
As the dust cloud rolled over the plains, it was dark as midnight, as the sun was concealed by the gargantuan cloud. When it passed, the Morgans exited their home to discover their clothes covered in dust. Elizabeth Morgan sighed and wiped the sweat off of her brow.
"It's all right, Mother, we'll clean them again," Hazel told her mother, patting her arm in the process.
"It's the only choice we have, dearest," Elizabeth replied, and the three women got to work.
During the Great Depression, families travelled all over the country in search of work. When the depression hit on the twenty-ninth of October in 1929, families across the country were forced into the unemployment line and soup kitchens and shelters suddenly became the most populated areas in the nation. Everyone was affected by the Great Depression, though not all people were suffering from it like the Morgan family was. Actors, actresses, singers, dancers, business owners and others of similar categories suffered a depression in their fortune, though still lived a rather enjoyable life.
President Herbert Hoover resided in the White House at the time of the Depression, and with the new elections coming up soon, most likely was not to be re-elected. The candidate running against him, Mr. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was becoming very popular in the nation, and come October, said Ruth, Mr. Roosevelt may be the winner of the 1932 election. But in the meantime, the Morgan family stuck to growing crops and selling them before winter arrived.
Ruth and Hazel were currently picking cotton from their fields so they could make new clothes, as much of it was ruined in the dust storm. Ruth muttered angrily in pain as she reopened a wound that she had previously received from a hoe, and quickly went back into the house to bandage it.
"Mother, my wound reopened," she said to Elizabeth.
"Oh, here, dearest, let me see it," Elizabeth said, admiring her hand. She brought her outside to a pump and washed her hand with the water that came out of it, and then brought Ruth back in to bandage it. "You must be more careful with your hands, Ruthie. We're in hard times, now, and barely have enough money to buy food."
"Yes, Mother, I know," Ruth replied. She knew exactly how hard the times were that they were living in, and hated the fact that she had to become an adult in these times. She envied her mother for becoming an adult during the 1910's and early 1920's. Her mother, during the 1910's, had come over from England on the Lusitania, before it sank in 1917. Elizabeth Bradshaw met Richard Morgan after Richard came home from the war in 1918, and in 1920, Ruth was born. During the 1920's while Ruth was a toddler, Elizabeth, known as Lizzie during the 1920's, was a Flapper, and Richard was an alcohol dealer during the Prohibition era. Ruth herself would become an adult during a horrible time and be forced to migrate from place to place in search of jobs.
"Ruthie, do me a favor, please. Go down to the farmer's market and buy some corn seeds," said Elizabeth, handing Ruth a couple of dollars. Ruth nodded and left the little farmhouse. She walked down the street and saw everything covered in dust. People's cars, homes and crops were covered, which made it all the much harder for those people to live.
"Hey, Miss Ruth!" exclaimed a voice nearby, and Ruth jumped. Turning around, she came face to face with Matthew Barker.
"Matthew Barker! How dare you startle me?" she exclaimed.
"I'm sorry, Miss Ruth, I didn't mean to frighten you," Matthew replied. Matthew Barker was a boy of thirteen who lived not far down the road from the Morgan family. Matthew had dirty blonde hair and light blue eyes that Ruth swore always looked right through her when he looked at her.
"Oh, that's all right… What are you doing here, anyway? Why aren't you working in your fields?" Ruth asked him. Matthew was leaning against his wooden fence, his hat slightly draped over his eyes.
"My pop took my brothers to Liberty in hopes of selling some of our chickens. Told me to stay put and not to mess anything up," he replied.
"Oh…" Ruth said, looking away slightly. She understood, from what Matthew has told her, that Mr. Barker was not very fond of his middle child. "Well, if you're bored, would you like to join me at the farmer's market? Mother wants me to buy some corn seeds for our fields."
"Nah, I'm fine… Pop wouldn't like it if I left the farm anyway," Matthew replied. Ruth nodded.
"Oh, all right. I'll see you around, then?" she asked. It was Matthew's turn to nod.
"Indeed. I'll see ya 'round, Miss Ruth," said Matthew, and he turned and walked away, whistling 'Battle Hymn of the Republic' while he left. Ruth blushed very slightly, giggled, and left for the farmer's market.