Growing Up in the Depression: memories by Robert Shackles.

   Not only were the Depression years tough,they were also very hot.  History
has recorded these as the "Dust Bowl" Days in Oklahoma & Kansas. Missouri was
scorching hot also,and we had none of the modern conveniences  that we have
today. The streets in front of our houses were gravel and they became very
dusty. Also there were grader diches on both sides of the road just like country
roads have today.We couldn't afford electricity so we used coaloil lamps. Also
we had no refrigeration, but we had a well and Uncle Fred had a cistern that not
only supplied water but was the only means we had to keep milk a little cool.
They would put the milk in a bucket tied to a rope and let it down in the well.
of course with so  many mouths around milk didn't last long. Uncle Fred had a
table with chairs,but we had a round table with 2 chairs for Clyde & Marie and
the boys would stand up to eat.  Some people were lucky enough to have ice boxes
and ever so often the ice man would come up our
streets delivering ice. We would run after him and when he stopped to
deliver,we would talk him out of a piece of ice. I can still see that ice man
with his ice pick chipping off a peice of ice for all of us.WHAT A TREAT. I
wonder who he was! Can you imagine 5 or 6  kids in overalls,barefoot,in that
dust and heat chasing that ice truck.  The grader ditches had a little wooden
bridge over them  ,where the sidewalks connected to them.  One of our favorite
things to do when Aunt Cora wasn't looking, was to see some one coming and sneak
under these bridges and when they walked over it we would say 'Who's that
walking over my bridge". The participating party would be sitting somewhere
where he could see the show.Its unbeleavable what this caper would produce in
reaction. Some people would run off the bridge,some would back up and some would
stop and look. Women always gave us the best startled reaction. We had a lot of
fun with this. Another favorite toy we had was a Hoop & Wheel. The
 wheel was an iron ring from a wagon wheel,and we made the hoop from heavy #9
wire. The hoop was fashoned with a wide U at the bottom,so you could engage the
wheel & push it by running. Boy we could get on sidewalks and fly with these
things. We also had YO YOs   and we had  wooden tops that we would wind strings
around & spin on anything solid. We got good enough we could make these toys do
anything. You could have a top spinning and Bill & Freddy were good enough that
sometimes they could spin their top on top of yours. To accomplish this required
perfect timing. We carried these wooden tops in our pockets all the time and
they would wear our pockets out. Never mind though,because we were a rag tag
bunch anyway. We had tennis shoes of sorts but we only wore them if we were
going some where fancy.Freddy & Percy wore theirs to church with Aunt Cora on
Sundy. Our feet were so tough we  could run on gravel with no problem  & at any
given time one of us would have a stumped toe healing.
 Next door across the street from us lived the Boche's. Mr Boch worked for the
post office and they had money.They also had something else that interested
us,two daughters our age that were pretty as  movie stars. They would sit out on
their porch swing with their Shirly Temple hair styles and their fancy dresses
with black patened leather shoes. They were giving us sort of a wide birth,but
one day Freddy & I went over and tried to get acquainted. I offered one a jaw
breaker and freddy gave the other one a penny box of licorice. They were talking
to us,and we both felt they were beginning to like us when the door flew open,&
mrs. Boch rounded them up and took them inside. The remarkable thing about this
was she let them keep our candy. This was a real blow to us! But as I reflect on
this encounter,I have to conclude today,that these two pretty girls at that time
would look like a couple of roses in a weed patch. I wonder what ever happened
to them? One thing for sure they never got
 any more of our penny candy.