Great Depression Love Story

Everything dust but his cool words

in the diner, that just-different drawl

that marked him as from not-around-here.

A tall drink of water, hair dark beneath hat

and if his frame was rail-lean yet the sinew

was tough and railroad work demanded

muscle. He talked to you (he loved to talk),

charm reinforced by the monotonous

backdrop: bleached-dry tumbleweed

ranchland, scraggled ranks of prickly pear.

Your courting not about picture shows,

fast cars, stolen touches; only coffee

and maybe pie, sweet talk and dreams

of a lush green future, anywhere else.

 

Inspired by this dVerse Poets Pub prompt, writing about family history.

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55 thoughts on “Great Depression Love Story

  1. Oh what difficult years those depression years must have been, and I am sure many were dreaming of having a future elsewhere. You created a sharp character study here, Jennifer.

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    1. Yes…I was thinking of my maternal grandparents. They always seemed content with their lives…married nearly 60 years when my grandfather died. Thanks for your comment!

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    1. Thank you for the comment and for the great prompt. I have tried (unsuccessfully) to write about my maternal grandparents in fiction…when I saw this prompt, I immediately thought of them again and had to get some words down!

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  2. I have often wondered, with more than a little despair, what it was like to begin a life together in those bleak days, whether it was in struggling cities or, and maybe more especially, the Dust Bowl. The sense of an empty ring of arid horizon, yet a couple knowing there’s a green future somewhere beyond it, permeates this lovely capture of hard times, Jennifer.

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    1. It’s so difficult to imagine–even with our access to photos and documentaries–how horribly hard life must have been. Thanks so much for your comment.

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  3. You paint this picture with a few deft strokes. This is so well done Jennifer. I think this is my favorite, with enough detail to put us there, enough left to the imagination to …well, to allow us to imagine. :o)

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  4. This is wonderfully descriptive. “…bleached-dry tumbleweed ranchland…” yes, the despair is palpable. It reminds me of some of the “cowboy poetry” in tone.

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  5. I enjoyed the portrait you drew and the sweet courting over coffee and pie, much better than fast cars I’d say. And dreaming about the future sounds better than mulling about the present.

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  6. As a boomer, I marveled at the love story of my grandparents raising their family during the Depression; an era they never shook off, or forgot; something that marked them for life; like the 60’s did to/for me. An excellent poem, terrific wordsmithing.

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    1. Yes, the hardships of their youth absolutely marked them…and made them strong, I think. Thank you for the encouragement. Your last two words here have made my day.

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  7. Our family uses the term ‘tall glass of water’ for height.
    I’m thinking ‘tall drink of water’ means the same thing.

    Saw a show once where they showed how folks tried to keep the ‘dust’ from their homes. It wasn’t easy at all.

    Thanks for your visit… I just write ’em how I see ’em.
    That swan was here, really 🙂

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    1. Yep, tall…yikes, have I been gone from home so long I have forgotten the right expression? Thanks so much for visiting!

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  8. Our parents who came thru the depression years all had such stories of resilience, they did it hard and yet they had in my family at least the most wonderful sense of humour despite the hardship of their life. Your poem reminded me of my dad’s own story.

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    1. My grandparents were so smart and thrifty, and they could make and do things that we’ve lost the art of now (or maybe we just don’t make the time?). And they were loving, caring people. Thanks for reminding me of that–I’m glad you were reminded of your dad, too.

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    1. Thanks so much. It’s funny, in a way, to think of your grandparents as romantic, but theirs was a good love story!

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