Fifties were ‘dirty,’ too

A 54-second video of Burl Buchanan of Spearman tells of a dirty time in the Texas Panhandle.

It wasn’t the Dust Bowl as we’ve been hearing about for most of the past year. It occurred in the 1950s.

Buchanan is another of the folks interviewed in Panhandle PBS’s ongoing series “Panhandle Stories,” which the station is doing to commemorate its 25-year anniversary of public television the Panhandle.

The region was still being farmed by dryland producers, meaning they didn’t irrigate their crops, Buchanan said. They relied on rainfall to irrigate the crops for them. Problem was, according to Buchanan, that it didn’t rain much in the 1950s.

The region was afflicted by another “d-word,” drought.

The dust got so bad in school, Buchanan said, that one couldn’t see from one end of the study to the other.

Residents powered through it, he said, just as they always have during period of prolonged drought.

It might not make much sense to write about drought at this particular time, given the rain we’ve been enjoying for the past six weeks or so throughout the Panhandle. However, the drought remains even with the moisture. We’ve got to receive a lot more rain to break it.

However, for folks like Burl Buchanan, drought is just part of life in this region.

Take a look at the videos attached to the link above. It’s like looking through a time capsule.

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