Sunday, May 12, 2013
Those Old Gentlemen Made Me Cry
A couple of weeks ago I found myself watching an episode of the Dust Bowl by Ken Burns on PBS. Having not been around during the Dust Bowl I found it sadly fascinating. But no more so than when they interviewed individuals who had been around during the Dust Bowl. These men and women were just children during the Dust Bowl so their perceptions and recollections are very pure and emotional. Like the older gentleman who recalled his mother going into labor after a dust storm blew through. She gave birth to twins and it sounded like they were premature. The gentleman teared up as he recalled the doctor telling his mother that there was nothing he could do to save the little boys. His tale of how they were buried together in makeshift surroundings made tears run down my own face. Different story, same result, as another older gentleman told of his family of eight children and how the youngest two, twins, consisted of one boy and one girl. The only girl of the eight children. He recalled how she was so adored by the entire family, and clearly by him. Then he told of how when she was only two years old she got dust pneumonia and became gravely ill. She had called for him before all others but there was nothing that could be done and she died in their house. This particular episode recalled the Dust Bowl in the late 1920s which is eighty or so years ago for these men. Eighty years had not dimmed their sharp recollections of siblings they knew for so brief a time nor did they dim how affected these men were by the absence of those siblings for so many years. I cried and I thought how amazing and amazingly sad it was that after all of those long years and the many intervening events which occurred in their lives up to that point, that talking about and recollecting their little brothers and sister was still so profound. I thought of my own daughters and their brothers. Words are only part of those stories, the tears said everything I needed to know.