Sunday, January 11, 2015

Our Tent Living



They were known as the Okies that live down by the river; a family of seven including the baby. They had sold out, packed up their belongings, and traveled from Oklahoma to the San Luis Valley in Colorado. They pitched a tent by the Rio Grande River among the tall evergreen trees and the roaring river sounds. Many families moved to California, and lived in migrant tent camps in 1935. They didn’t have any tent neighbors in Colorado, but there were a couple cabins nearby where families lived, their only neighbors. They also had access to an outdoor toilet.


They didn’t live very high on the hog, but didn’t go hungry. Fish was a great food source. Rainbow trout waiting to be caught, and all that was required was a rod and reel, and a hungry fisherman. They had fried fish and fried taters cooked over the camp fire. The drink of the day was Kool-Aid, red Kool-Aid, orange Kool-Aid, and purple Kool-Aid.  There was also an ice plant nearby where they could pick up all the free ice they needed for their Kool-Aid. Breakfast was fried eggs and more fried taters and store-bought bread.

A lettuce picking job was found, and the family parked the car at the end of the field. The ones old enough to work in the field picked up the heads of lettuce. The younger ones left to dillydally around the car and watch the baby. Happy Hour was when it was time to go home to the tent.

One day it rained and it rained a lot. Somewhat as it was in Noah’s day only they gathered in the tent instead of the ark to wait it out. 

Bath time was once a week whether they needed it or not. They had a galvanized tub which they carried around in the trailer with a few other necessities. The tub of water was heated on the campfire. Everyone took their turn in the tub in the same water. You do what you need to do.  There was some privacy provided with quilts draped over chairs around the tub. The chairs were from the trailer. 

The mom washed their clothes in the same tub, but with brand new water.

The clothes were draped over the same chairs, and anything else that was available.
One day the Dad said, “We need to find a house to live in before it gets cold, and get these children in school”.  He always called his kids, children because his children were children, and not goats.

This was the end of the tent living in 1935.