Of all the traits we pass on to our children, some may make us cringe in shame while others make us cry out with joy. This week I had what you might call a “proud mama” moment; well, only if you’re from the South, I suppose. Fair warning: I’m about to brag on my kid.
The Girl’s sixth grade class recently studied the Dust Bowl, i.e., the period of time in the mid-1930s when severe dust storms plagued middle America. Brought on by drought and poor agricultural practices, these dust storms were so detrimental that acres on acres of farmland was decimated and families were forced to leave their homes. A simple Google search of “Dust Bowl” provides a wide array of articles, links to a recent PBS special and stirring photographs of homes being overtaken or families struggling against a current of dusty wind.
Here’s where I pause to give credit where it’s due, to the Girl’s teacher, who, rather than simply lecturing the students on the Dust Bowl, or having them do a reading assignment, she went a step further. She encouraged her students to try to imagine what it was like to live during the Dust Bowl, and to write it out.
So the Girl, who’s developing a love of the written word all her own, imagined herself to be a child living in that time in a family struggling against the plaguing storms but refusing to leave home. Here’s what she wrote:
Sometimes Dad just sits out there waiting for it When it comes, we are sad Sometimes, when it comes, when it destroys my home, my life, my dreams Sometimes, Mom cries It pains her to see Dad like that saddened I can feel the stuff under my feet gritty, dirty, cold I bite my lip when I hear the birds trying to fly over it silly creatures I taste the blood in my mouth then it’s gone I dread seeing it again tomorrow the Dirt
Close your eyes, can you see it? Yeah, that’s my Girl.