Black Blizzard
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Black Blizzard
Black Blizzard of the 1930's
Curated by Sulia Her
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Dust Bowl Letter

A letter from a young boy to someone who could ever help.

Sulia Her's insight:

How’s it going anonyms?

 

Jaycee Maak April 15, 1918 an’ I live in Western Kansas. My mama said I was the biggest baby she had ever seen. Which is unbelievable to hear now ‘cause as a 17-year-old teenager I’m pretty much considered one of the smallest boys in town. I ain’t complainin’ or nothin’, don’ get me wrong. All the ladies flock to me. The gals think I’m just the darnest cutest thing they’ve ever seen an’ ain’t none of ‘em attractive. I played along just to get the other boys all boiled up, it’s quite fun actually.

Every single mornin’ I walked to school there was always this pack of little gals that followed me an’ they would whisper an’ giggle. Each an’ every single one of ‘em would run up at a time an’ hand me some candy then would run back to their group, it annoyed me mostly. I didn’t want to be bothered. I don’ understand how they do not get that message, guess giving them scary glares an’ tellin’ them to leave me alone doesn’t get through to their oh so pretty little heads. I would always throw the candy away or gave them to the ugly gals at school.

When I got to class the Mr. Yolk had told us we had two new students. They just recently moved here from the east of Kansas… “How boring is that?” I thought.

The teacher called ‘em both in an’ I took a glance at the boy. He was tall, slim, but wasn’t scrawny. He had a nice face to look at I must admit, but I was more focused on the girl to his left. She was slimmer. Her height was average. She had a perfect rounded head with dark golden hair that flowed past her shoulders, an’ her chest was huge. She had pretty pink lips an’ her eyes were a dark bluish green. The clothes they wore were a bit different from the rest of us. They looked clean I can tell ya that. Mr. Yolk asked ‘em to introduce ‘emselves an’ of course the guy went first.

He cleared his throat, “Ahem! Hello, I am Rafael Lutton Jr. I am 16-years-old and I am the oldest child in my family.” “I’m older than him?” I said shockingly under my breath.

“Nice to meet you Rafael.” Mr. Yolk said while shaking his hand. “Nice to meet you too Mr…” Rafael said slightly tilting his head. “Ah, Yolk! Ed Yolk!” the teacher said as he chuckled. I rolled my eyes while leanin’ my back against my chair. After all that everyone turned his or her attention to the person on Rafael’s left. “Um, hello everyone. I’m Lora May. I’m also 16-years-old and I am an only child. Please take care of me from now on.” She said pulling her arms behind her back while standing pigeon toed. “We will make sure of that Ms. May.” Mr. Yolk said while smiling at her. Most of the gals smacked their lips an’ looked at Lora as if she was going to be a burden from now on. Others said hi or waved. I just stared at her.

Mr. Yolk had told ‘em to sit towards the front of the classroom where it was most empty.

Afterschool as I was walking out the door I spotted Lora. She rushed out the classroom pretty fast following… Rafael. Mr. Yolk tapped me on the shoulder. “You seemed pretty distracted during class today Jaycee, is there anything wrong?” he asked while waving good-bye to students. A moment passed then I sighed an’ looked up, he was giving me a gentle smile, it kinda creeped me out in a way.

I looked back down an’ muttered, “Nothing.” an’ walked away.

As I was about to past the gate I saw my sister walking up the street towards the school with a brown bag swung aroun’ her left shoulder. She was a few years older. Sometimes she would disappear for days or even months then reappear again out of nowhere. She would always bring back all these unnecessary items from all the places she had visited. “Where are you disappearing off to this time Isabelle?” I asked with my head tilted back as if I was taller then her. Sis swung her bag an’ it banged against the ground sounding like thunder right above my head. “Oh, I was just getting back, you didn’t notice I was gone Jaycee?” She asked looking a little shocked. “No I didn’t. You always disappear without tellin’ anyone, why would I care?” “Anyway, what unnecessary things did you bring back this time?” I said curiously looking at her bag. She smacked her lips an’ opened bag up. “Just some things I picked up. I was thinking maybe I needed these on the way back from my trip.” She replied with a wide smile. I reached my hand out almost makin’ it into the mouth of the brown bag, but she quickly closed it. Isabelle swung her bag back aroun’ her head. “I thought you didn’t care little brother! Hmph!” She said as she pouted her lips an’ stomped away raisin’ each knee high in the air one at a time with every step.

I stuck out my tongue an’ pulled the bottom of my left eyelid an’ spouted out, “Bleeh! People are goin’ to think there’s an earthquake with you stompin’ aroun’ like that BIG sis!” Then ran for cover ‘cause I knew she was goin’ to kill me. What sister wouldn’t after a smart remark like that?

At least a minute had gone by, but she didn’t come. Instead I heard gigglin’ commin’ from aroun’ the corner. “Don’ tell me she saw what just happened.” I was thinking to myself peeking out of the corner. I felt a drop of sweat commin’ down my temple reaching the tip of my chin. There was a brown bag peekin’ back at me as I was slowly leanin’ closer against the wall. “O.k. this is probably the most absolute worst thing to have happen in the history of ancient history. Please don’ let it be what I’m thinkin’.” I said while wipin’ the sweat from my chin. Isabelle had spotted me out an’ yelled out, “Hey!” as she stood there with her legs apart from one another, one hand pointin’ at me an’ the other on her hip. As I was just about to run I could see something poppin’ out of the corner of my eye. It was roun’ an’ white an’ I could spot out an arm also. It was Lora an’ her chest.

Quickly thinkin’ to myself, “O.k., O.k. act cool. It’s just a girl with a really, really big chest. There’s nothing heart poundin’ ‘bout that.”

Rafael was there, lookin’ at me. I walked over an’ noticed that the wind was startin’ to pick up. Didn’t really bother me though. As I stood next to my sis Rafael was standin’ in front of me. I didn’t realize it at first, but Rafael was actually really, really tall! I didn’t even notice he was actually that tall when I glanced at him earlier in class. His shadow covered my whole body. It’s not like I was scared or anything. He was just tall, there’s nothin’ scary ‘bout that. My sister patted me on my head makin’ me feel like a child. She asked Lora an’ that wimpy lookin’ Rafael if they’ve met me yet. I was goin’ to speak, but all of a sudden this huge gust of wind came an’ threw all of us against the school gate. Isabelle landed on Lora, which means I was flat out smacked against this big of a tree Rafael. The wind only lasted a few seconds though. I looked up to get a breath of air an’ Rafael was starin’ right at me. He asked me if I was all right. Quickly, I rolled’ off of him. In that instant I saw Isabelle face first on the ground. She got up rubbin’ her face coughin’ out, “Sorry Lora. *cough* Didn’t mean to *cough* land on you like that.” “Oh, its, its quite all right. I’m sorry for smac--” “AAHhHh!! Where’s my bag?!” Isabelle yelled out rudely interrupting Lora with both of her hands on either side of her head. “Stupid wind blew it away of course.” Rafael replied. I looked aroun’ for sis’s bag an’ I noticed that there was sand an’ dirt everywhere. Like literally freakin’ everywhere! It was scattered all over the school, everything an’ everywhere surroundin’ it. Once again I heard gigglin’. Lora was pointin’ at me. It looked as if she was tryin’ to hold in her laughter. Sis grabbed my arm an’ started shakin’ it wildly. Dirt started fallin’ off of my shirt. It was all over my back an’ also all over Isabelle’s too! “Oh my god. My hair!” Isabelle said angrily tuggin’ on her ends. “Wind! Wind!! Why are you doing this?!” Isabelle raised her fist in the air an’ started swingin’ it aroun’ an’ ‘round lookin’ like a drunken lady walkin’ aroun’ town.

All of a sudden, “WAIT!” Rafael yelled out. He threw his hand on Isabelle’s shoulder. He raised his other arm an’ pointed as far as he could towards the red farm that was at the top of the hill. Realizing that there was an enormous cloud of sand an’ dirt hurdilin’ right towards us! Mr. Yolk came rushin’ out the school. “The storm is coming closer and closer. Everyone get inside now!!!” Mr. Yolk had to cover his head just so none of the sand or dirt could go into his eyes. He grabbed Rafael first ‘cause he was farthest in the back daggin’ along Isabelle.

Sis poked her head outside the door an’ yelled out, “Come on Jaycee!! Come oOooOnnnnn!!!” Her voice squeaked at the end. The first time I ever heard her yell an’ squeak like that was when I had almost died when I was still a kid, I was drownin’ in a nearby lake. She was so scared she didn’t know what to do. Sis told me she was yellin’ an’ cryin’ out for help, but no one came, no one was aroun’. I didn’t know what could have happened to me if I didn’t hear her voice. She was callin’ out my name exactly the same way she is now. I ran with all my might. There was a loud thunderin’ noise commin’ from behind me. My thoughts were full of fear, so much fear that I almost forgot how to run. “Was it left, left, right or right, right, left?!”

Before I knew it I was flyin’ in the air, not ‘cause of the wind, but ‘cause I had tripped over something, something big. It was sis’s brown bag! I tried to reach out an’ grab it, but I had landed too far from where the bag originally was. I looked up an’ tried to open my eyes, but the wind was too strong. Bits of dirt were smackin’ me in the face an’ it hurted like a someone had thrown a box of needles at you for no apparent reason. The wind was so strong. While I was tryin’ to cover my face with my arm I could see in the distance something dark, a figure. Somethin’ was flowin’ in the air. It was… hair! “L-Lora… Lora!!” Getting up was never so hard.

I tried to look forward. It was hard to breathe. My hand reached out hopin’ there was somethin’ to grab onto. “Jay… Jay!” “Where are you?” a very quiverin’ voice was sayin’ this. Was it the same girl as earlier, the one that was tryin’ so hard to hold in her laugh? “Lora! Are you okay?! Can you hear me?!” I yelled out. “I’m right here Jaycee!” she replied gaspin’ for air. “I’m hangin’ onto the gate! Give me your hand!”

“…Wait a minute! I’m the one savin’ you here! You give me your hand Lora!”

We both reached our hands out to one another, the tip of our fingers almost touched. I reached out as far as I could. Finally, I could feel her hand. She surprisingly was able to pull to the gate. We could hear somthin’ big commin’. Another one of those huge gusts of wind were about to come. I tried to take a breathe:

“Hey Lora…?”

“Yeah?”

“Are you ready?”

“Yes… wait! What are you talking about Jay?!”

“It’s commin’.”

“No wait! You are not lettin--”

BAM! QUADRUPLE BAM! BANGASDFGHJK

Both of us started tumblin’ back towards the school. Lora banged her head against my face. It hurt, but once again my thoughts were full of fear. I really didn’t think this through. My back hit against the door of the school. “Isa-Isabelle!! Open—the—door!”

The door swung open an’ Lora an’ I came crashin’ through the classroom. Mr. Yolk an’ Rafael tried to close the door, but there was somethin’ holdin’ the door open.

“Hey! It’s my bag!!” Isabelle crawls over to the door and yanks the bag into her arms. The door finally shut closed, but there was still dust seeping through the cracks of the walls an’ windows. We all were coughin’. “*cough* Are you guys all right?” Mr. Yolk asked lookin’ real concerned.  Lora an’ I both answered at the same time, “We’re all right.”

We looked at each other, she giggled an’ I grinned.

“Today is April 14, … 1935” Rafael said out loud while readin’ the chalkboard. “How long do you think this storm is goin’ to last?” I asked. “Who knows. This is the first time that this has happened in my life time.” Replied Mr. Yolk. For a long while no one said anything, all you could hear was the wind bangin’ against the buildin’.  “…W-what if it lasts for days? ... How are we going to survive?” Lora said soundin’ like she was ‘bout to cry. “Oh! I’ve got that covered!” Isabelle grabbed her bag an’ opened it up, she reached out her arms and said, “Look inside!” We all looked an’ stuffed in her bag was… candy!

“How on earth *cough* are we going to survive on candy?!” Rafael spouted out. “It’s not just candy stupid!” Sis yanked her bag back towards and dumped out everythin’ that was in there. There was clothe, stuff that you’d see only girls carry, an’ there was also… dry food an’ water! “Sis! Why do you have all these stuff in here?!”

“As I told you earlier *cough* these are the things that I thought that might come in handy on my way back from the trip!” I jumped on sis an’ gave her a big hug. “O.k. not all the things you bring back are all so bad.”

“You people really don’t get what’s going on do you?” I heard commin’ from the chalkboard. “We’re stuck here! Hello! We could be here for… forever! Do you not get that?! We can’t all survive on this!” Rafael said lookin’ at all with her fists shaking. We stared at him shockingly. “Rafael we can’t do anything about it. We’re stuck here until the storm is over.” Mr. Yolk replied. “Yeah, everything is going to be all right.” Isabelle added. “This storm is goin’ to end eventually.” I said after Isabelle. Sis walked over to him and have him a hug. “There’s nothing to be scared about.” Rafael put his forehead on her shoulder an’ started to cry.

 

So I send this out to you. To whoever is readin’ this please, please come an’ save us.

 

Sincerely,

Jaycee Maak 

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Nathan Cushenbery-Andrews's comment, February 5, 2013 10:28 PM
Great short story, it's not really a letter though. Next time, let me know and you can write a short story instead. You are a good writer and should submit to the Wash House Unplugged Magazine.
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Vocabulary List - 10 words

Vocab

 

Great Depression- typically felt over a perios of time and accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy.Panhandle- a narrow strip of territory projecting from the main territory of one state into another stateDusters- dust stormDust Pneumonia- describes disorders caused by excessive exposure to dust storms, particularly during the Dust Bowl in the United StatesBillowing- a large undulating mass of something, typically cloud, smoke, or steamInterspersed- scatter among or between other thingsTopsoil- top layer of the soilPastureland- land used to pastureBreadbasket- part of a region that produces cereals for the rest of itBlotted- a dark mark or stain
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Nathan Cushenbery-Andrews's comment, February 5, 2013 10:27 PM
Good word choice. Make sure you add the sentences and break them up next time.
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Dirty Thirties and the Black Blizzards

Dirty Thirties and the Black Blizzards | Black Blizzard | Scoop.it
The Aftermath of a Black Blizzard
It required the soul of a Viking to endure a life in the Dakotas during the late 19th Century and the first half of the 20th Century. It was no time for wimps and this was no land for the timid.
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