An Amarillo photographer's personal journey through the Dust Bowl- with past and present eyes.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Swimming in debt - during the Dust Bowl

Click to enlarge
Photo by Steve Douglas 
By 1932 nearly a third of all farmers faced foreclosure for back taxes or debt: nationwide one in twenty were loosing their land. and since more Americans still worked on a farm than any other place, it meant every state was swimming in the same drowning pool.

During the boom years, Folkers had been wise enough to put some money away. But now his savings were gone, wiped out by the bank collapse. He withdrew into a paralysis, blank faced, skulking around the homestead and talking to his fruit orchard, the one thing that still gave him hope. At night he sat in a chair, his fingers tapping away, going over the figures in head. Faye never saw her father so broken. 

His homestead was a quicksand quicksand of debt. The new house he gad built by hand, the Model T, the new kerosene cook stove, the piano that he and Katherine had purchased for their daughter Faye - he might lose it all.

Outside the wind blew with a callous edge. 

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