75 years ago, many thought the world was going to end
Palm Sunday, a week before Easter, dawned bright and calm through the Oklahoma and northern Texas panhandles. People were in church, planning afternoon picnics, catching up on farm chores in the clear weather. The day began warm and pleasant, a welcome respite from the dust storms that had peppered the area a month earlier.Virginia Kerns, 11, had some girls come home with her from church to play outside in Beaver County, Okla., just north of Perryton. Melbourne Headrick, 13, was herding cattle near Guymon, Okla., two miles from his family's farmhouse. Imogene Glover's father settled in to the only hamburger joint in Texhoma to have a bite around noon.
"It had been a beautiful morning," Virginia (Kerns) Frantz said.
Within hours, though, many who had lived in the hard times of the Depression and through dust storms, thought the world was ending. They were caught in a blinding blizzard of dust, of horrific wind, in a choking fit of panic. It was known as Black Sunday - April 14, 1935 - the worst of the worst in the days of the Dust Bowl.
The day after the storm, an Associated Press reporter used the term "Dust Bowl" for the first time, and it stuck to describe a prolonged period of economic peril and agricultural destruction, all in a frightening fury of blinding dust and howling winds.
Wednesday will mark the 75th anniversary of that dark April day, but for those who lived through it, decades don't erode the memory of walls of dust that seemed to engulf everything in their wide path.
By early afternoon that April 14, a gentle breeze from the southwest had given way to strong winds from the north. And ominously to the north, a billowing mass of dirt stretching as far as anyone could see was rolling in. The temperature dropped. Birds were flying ahead of the boiling dust cloud, which was moving at nearly 60 mph.
Families had been used to dust storms for four years. Frantz, who now lives in Guymon, Okla., remembers storms so dark she'd have to strike a match in front of a grandfather clock to tell the time - at noon. Wet cloths for windows and mouths were a springtime way of life.
But this one, April 14, 1935, caught even the most hardened folks unaware. The Ochiltree County Herald in Perryton described it this way four days later:
"The worst dust storm in the memory of its oldest inhabitants of this section of the country hit Perryton at five o'clock Sunday afternoon, catching hundreds of people away from their homes, at the theatre, on the highways, or on picnic parties. The storm came up suddenly after a perfect spring day.
"In just a few minutes after the first bank appeared to the north, the fury of the black blizzard was upon us, turning the bright sunshine of a perfect day into the inky murkiness of the blackest night. Without question, this storm put the finishing touch to what faint hopes this area had for a wheat crop."
"I remember it was just as black as it could be," Glover said. "We were so terrified. We didn't know what in the world was coming."
Black Sunday was coming, a cauldron of dirt and wind that may have started as far north as the Dakotas and reached its peak entering the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles. That day alone was reported to have removed 300,000 tons of topsoil in the Great Plains.
"We finally arrived at the Swope homestead to find several neighbors from surrounding farms crowded into the cellar," said Dorothy Alexander, who lived in Reydon, Okla., 30 miles from Wheeler, and now resides in Cheyenne, Okla. "I remember one woman, a Mrs. Latham, was hysterical and screaming that it was the end of the world.
"She was refusing to go into the storm cellar and was imploring the rest of us to get on our knees and pray with her. Mr. Swope told Mr. Latham to get his damned crazy wife into the cellar or be left outside to stay with her."
The cellars, often a refuge from tornadoes and other storms, were popular that afternoon. Frantz's parents crowded about 11 into a cellar where they stayed for three hours. Gerald Davison, Imogene Glover's father, threw down his hamburger and rushed back to his dairy farm. He herded his family of five into the storm cellar.
"We just sat there in the cellar and every so often my dad would go out and check," said Glover, now 84 and living in Hooker, Okla. "We had charcoal lanterns in there so we could have lighting. I would read little books and funny books in there because I was just a little girl."
While Alexander's dad had been caught in a field plowing, her pregnant mother and her had hustled to the neighbor's homestead. There, men hung on to a chain fastened to the cellar door to keep it from tearing apart. When Alexander and her mother finally emerged from the cellar, they later found their father caked in dirt.
Young Melbourne Headrick wasn't quite as fortunate either. He was caught in a field with cattle. When he saw the huge dust cloud coming, he herded the cattle toward home. He got within 1¼ miles of his family's house when the storm hit.
"I started following barbed wire fence so I wouldn't get lost," Headrick said. "Well, the static electricity on the wire would give you a pretty good shock. So I had to go post to post."
He made it to a neighbor's home a half-mile from his folks. He knocked on the door, but there was no answer. He said he didn't know it, but the neighbors were in the cellar. He crouched down near the house, and eventually the storm lightened up where he could walk home.
"I wasn't scared to death, but I didn't realize what was going on," Headrick said. "I never saw anything like it before or since. It was just blacker, like cocoa."
Even today, Headrick, 87, keeps nearly two dozen milk bottles in his Hooker home with black cocoalike dirt scooped from that storm. That dirt, like memories, doesn't fade with time.
War of the Worlds
It's October 20th 1938, you return home after a day at work to listen to the wireless. You join 6 million other listeners to CBS's Mercury Theatre on the Air. This night however the story is different.
Orson Welles took Howard Koch's adaptation of HG Wells' classic tale and drove over a million people to believe that the Earth was actually being invaded by beings from another world. In forty minutes people took up arms and prepared to defend themselves from the supposed invaders. Ordinary water towers became fight machines to the panicked minds of some of the listeners. Landing in Grover's Mill, New Jersey the Martians had quickly moved from their pit, killed the local militia and were advancing on New York in no time at all. The reason so many people believed the story is due to it's news story format. The story is told in news bulletins, live reports and what seemed like real time events.
The story caused a lot of controversy, people had always trusted the radio as a distributor of real news and of light entertainment. However the radio had tricked people this time. Welles denied knowing that the panic would have happened. The radio broadcast was noticed all over the world, even the massing Nazi party tried to blame the Jews for the mass panic. HG Wells, the original inventor of the story, was less than happy with the broadcast. He had thought that the broadcast would have been a direct reading of his book rather than an adaptation. However, the aging writer soon lost his dismay when the sales of the original novel began to soar.
These days the broadcast is looked back at with some fondness. The story was a triumph for artist writing. Many have copied the formula of the story. On October 31st 1968 WKBW in Buffalo broadcasted a new modernised version of the adapted version of 'The War of the Worlds'. Learning from the mistakes of Welles they sent out various news releases to TV stations and other news papers to warn them that it was not a real invasion. They also promoted the event for weeks before so that the ordinary listener would be prepared for the story. Even so the station was flooded with phone calls from people who believed it was real.
"Y2K" redirects here. For other uses, see Y2K (disambiguation).
The Year 2000 problem (also known as the Y2K problem, the millennium bug, the Y2K bug, or simply Y2K) was a problem for both digital (computer-related) and non-digital documentation and data storage situations which resulted from the practice of abbreviating a four-digit year to two digits.
In computer programs, the practice of representing the year with two digits becomes problematic with logical error(s) arising upon "rollover" from x99 to x00. This has caused some date-related processing to operate incorrectly for dates and times on and after January 1, 2000 and on other critical dates which were billed "event horizons". Without corrective action, it was suggested that long-working systems would break down when the "...97, 98, 99, 00..." ascending numbering assumption suddenly became invalid. Companies and organizations worldwide checked, fixed, and upgraded their computer systems.
While no globally significant computer failures occurred when the clocks rolled over into 2000, preparation for the Y2K bug had a significant effect on the computer industry. There were plenty of Y2K problems, and that none of the glitches caused major incidents is seen as vindication of the Y2K preparation. However, some questioned whether the absence of computer failures was the result of the preparation undertaken or whether the significance of the problem had been overstated.
the list goes on and thanks for the optimism but that dont take away from all the things the suns doing now. the openly visible and blatant military presence all around us and the world and all the things flying around our planet. and im not talking about the helicopters and F22 raptors here in panama city beach or those "8 ACH 130 Spectre Gunships stationed at Cannon AFB, Special Operations Command."
i think its real and its coming just like that black cloud rolling in, in your pic.
and by the way i didnt realize dtv permitted such long vacotions for mods
i imagine it probably felt the same for the people on the ground
makes you think general
When I first read this news article, and seen the images, there was a lot that came into mind. The many scenarios of future events that seem as if they could all happen at any given moment.
What I thought was especially interesting for discussion, was our human perspective.
Think of life in the western U.S. seventy five years ago. The horror of such a vision approaching, inescapable. Living in a world with only a newspaper that would allow a glimpse of the world outside your range of vision. The news reported even, being a day or two old at the newest. It would be easy to envision the end.
But today, we watch as even larger events unfold, even on the other side of the planet, within minutes of their occurrence, and some, even watch live as they unfold. But now the world isn't ending. It's more a localized catastrophe. So there is much hope, and immediate response to aid recovery.
Does our information technology age do as much to spread hope as it does gloom?
What size of event could return or warrant the fears of doom today?
- Related topics
- Last post
- Remarks from CBS Sunday Morning (everyone should read)
by Fatrock386 » Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:23 pm
- 5 Replies
- 291 Views
- Last post by Clawspiracy
Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:58 am
- Remarks from CBS Sunday Morning (everyone should read)