Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Term "Okie"

Californians Coined the Term "Okie"

According to this article published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Santa Cruz, California on Friday, May 12, 1939, it was the residents of California that coined the term "Okie". 

We call them "migrants," scarcely hinting that they are Americans.

One hundred thousand!  Two hundred thousand!  Three hundred thousand!  The ill-clad and ill-fed migrants poured into California in broken down jalopies. 

Californians looked scornfully on this procession of human misery, "Migrants" was not the word to express contempt, and, and so Californians originated the word "Okie"

The article goes on to discuss John Steinbeck's relationship with the migrants, the camps, the "Grapes of Wrath", etc.

Please see attached article below.  My family experienced all of the "Okie" wrath. They hung in there and rose above it. They were still impoverished and lived simple lives, but their lives were better than the one they had before.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tudy and Me

This is Tudy (Doreena) and me at our Grandma and Grandpa Smith's house on Rd 198 in Poplar, Ca.  I was about 7 or 8 here and Tudy was 5 or 6.  We were born almost exactly two years a part.

The house was still two rooms at this time.  The front room served as a living room/bedroom combination and the back room served as the kitchen/dining/bedroom combination.  Our Grandpa built the house himself.

Tudy and I spent more time here than we did at our own house since Grandma took care of us while our parents worked.  I thought it was the most wonderful place in the world and felt very safe and secure there.

As you can see, our skin was tanned from playing outside so much.  Tudy would always get much darker than me since she inherited the skin tone of our Father.  I would burn first and then get a little tan.  In the summertime, it would get so hot we wouldn't stay outside for too long unless we were in the shade.  We would run around in the  sun a bit, back in the shade, and back into the house to cool off.

Grandpa only had a swamp cooler in the front room that had to be sprayed down with water from the outside periodically, but it did a pretty good job of keeping us cooled down.

I don't know how my parents, Grandpa, and other family members stood the heat to work in the fields to support us.  Thinking about it now, I have a whole new respect for them and what they had to endure.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

My Old Tulare County Pics

This blog has lots of wonderful photos of the Tulare County area.  This was an area where many of the families and people (referred to as Okies) migrated to during the dust bowl days and shortly afterward. 

I grew up in Tulare County until I was 11 years old.  My sister, Doreena Lynn aka Tudy, was born in Porterville, Tulare County, CA in 1957.

Smith Cousins - Mama's Side

Uncle Don and Aunt Betty's Girls
My Grandma and Grandpa Smith had six kids. Uncle Don was the first one to marry, although, he was the third one born out of the brood.

In this photo is Edna Mae, (the oldest out of thirty Smith grandchildren) Donna, and Barbara.  I'm not sure where the photo was taken.  I thought it might have been taken in Poplar, CA at the left front of my Grandma and Grandpa's house; but after looking at the surrounding background, I have determined it wasn't.  It might have been taken somewhere in Stockton, CA. 
I always thought Edna Mae was so wonderful and so pretty.  She was such a sweet person.  I miss my big cousin.