Photos Of Hard Times, The Past – The Future

By Major Van Harl USAF Ret

Depression Era refugees on a New Mexico highway in 1936
Depression Era refugees on a New Mexico highway in 1936
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Wisconsin –-(  I received some photos taken in the 1930s. There was an economic depression going on in the Nation. The West was too dry and there was too much plowing up of prairie grasslands, uncheck by reason or logic.

The photos were of Americans and more importantly American families in major distress. There were pictures of families living in shacks pieced together with scrap wood. People who could not even scrounge up used wood to build a shanty-shelter were living in old surplus WWI army tents.

If you did not have the ability to acquire a used tent or build a hut out of sticks and boards you lived in the open. There was a picture of a husband and wife with their children living along side of a rail road track in hopes of finding something to help support their meager life or perhaps a cheap ride in an open box car away from the hell of the dust and no food. There were pictures of families stuffed into broken down old Model T Fords with all sorts of items lashed onto the roof and sides of the vehicle. The vehicle, overflowing with children and extended family vying for a seat on a ride allegedly out of Oklahoma or Texas or Kansas or Missouri where my dad’s family was from.

My grandfather lost his entire crop in 1934 and 1936 on his farm in north east Missouri. My grandmother’s father owned a car dealership in Kirksville, Missouri that was failing because of the depression. Nobody, even the affluent had money for new cars. Somewhere in the process a very used vehicle was provided for my father and his family to escape Missouri for the greener state of Iowa.

Men from my dad’s town had heard of jobs in Iowa so they left their families and headed north for work. Letters came back advising friends and family to leave Missouri and move to Iowa, so my grandparents packed up the old car and left the misery of Sullivan County Missouri.

So what, that was almost 80 years ago?

Sadly I truly believe very hard times are coming. I hope when I die and assuming someone shows up to my funeral that they stand around and discuss how wrong I was about the future. I hope that someone throws a big send-off farewell party for me because there is lots of money and consumer goods to be had for the party.

That everyone drives to the party in their car with lots of fuel in the gas tank. That they buy a new outfit to wear to the party and help the robust economy they are living in, continue to prosper. I hope my daughter and her family are living comfortably and happy in that future.

I hope there are more dogs buried in our family pet cemetery because modern medical care kept the Colonel and I living a long and happy life so we could have more “dog-children” (all rescued animals of course).

I am not sure that will be the big picture in the future. The photos I described could have been my own family members one generation ago. My family packed-up their very old vehicle and left their home because of the dust-bowel in the 1930s. By the way, the West is drying out again and this time there are tens-of-millions more Americans living in the arid western states. Where do they run to the next time?

From Billings, Montana, down past the Denver Metro area, south to Albuquerque and on to El Paso, Texas they are running out of water. The Ogallala Aquifer has less than thirty years of fossil water left. It took the dinosaurs millions of years to fill up that underground reservoir of water in the plains of Kansas and the surrounding states, but America is pumping it dry in less than one hundred years.

Oil or the lack of it, is not going to be the down fall of North America, it is the lack of water that will bring us to our knees. Someday the US will be buying water from Canada by the gallon, not the acre-foot.

I hope they put on my headstone that “he got it wrong.” I am however not convinced I will be mistaken in my prediction of the future, but I want to be—I want to be.

There is little hope my grand-kids will have a better life than we had. I just want them to be able to live and survived in a brave new world that is not too overly hostile toward them and they have water.

Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
[email protected]

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School.  A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI.  His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training.  He believes “evil hates organization.”  [email protected]

  • One thought on “Photos Of Hard Times, The Past – The Future

    1. I had to stop reading when the author starting spouting secular humanist/evolutionary nonsense about “It took the dinosaurs millions of years to fill up that underground reservoir of water”. God help us…

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