My Mother Is Dorothy and She Is From Kansas

My parents never talked about their courtship much but over the years I have put 2 and 2 together discovering an interesting story about their early married life.

My mother, Dorothy Lucille Beckley Cardon, was born in Kansas in 1921, where her father was a farmer. By the time she was a teen, the drought that caused the famous “Dust Bowl” was driving people off their farms and her family was among them. During that time thousands of families headed west to find a way to survive. Most headed to California. John Steinbeck told their story in “The Grapes of Wrath”, but her father chose Southeast Idaho so their story is a bit different.

My mother’s oldest sister, Hazel, was by this time already married and she and her husband found work in Idaho and encouraged them to come to Idaho. Her father bought an open touring car which they filled with everything they owned. Mom said they had a big kitchen table which they turned upside down on the back of the car and put their

Royal & Dorothy

bundles between the legs, tying themdown to keep them from bouncing out. Then the kids (six still at home) piled in finding a spot where ever they could. The roads, in those days were not like they are now of course so it was a slow and bumpy ride. Each night they would find a place to camp along the road. Everything had to come out of the car so that they could use the table.

They didn’t have enough money to make it all the way. When they ran out of gas they would look for ways to make a little money. Grandpa Beckley was handy, so when they found a stand of willows along a river, the family gathered willow branches while Grandpa made baskets and lawn furniture. Then the entire family would go door to door selling their new products. With the tank full off they would go again.

As fate would have it My father’s family owned a truck farm in Inkom, Idaho where my Mothers family found work. My father was home from college. His mother had died which put an end to his dream of graduating from the University of Idaho in Moscow. (He

completed only 2.5 years.) Mom was about 16 at the time and dad was about 25.

Mom had an older sister named, Creta, who Grandpa Beckley thought was a better choice for Dad but he had a different idea.

Grandpa Cardon was the Mormon Bishop in Inkom and he was very concerned since TheBeckley family were not Mormons.

The age difference would seem to be an issue but I do think that it was seen a little differently in that era. They were married in 1939 mom was about 17 and a half years old. I asked her if her dad objected and she said no because he had caused such a fuss when her older sister married that he had decided to take a different approach with her.

Grandpa Cardon would hardly speak to them at first but quickly became reconciled to it and became very supportive.

I didn’t make the connection for years but I do remember a little furry dog named Toto which I now realize was an appropriate name for a dog who was owned by a young woman named Dorothy, from Kansas, and ¬†especially when she was married in 1939 the Year that “The Wizard Of Oz” won the academy awards.

Toto & my Oldest sister Anna May

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2 Responses to My Mother Is Dorothy and She Is From Kansas

  1. Darcy Kahler says:

    Here is the poem Mom wrote for a school assignment after the family moved to Idaho. She was age 13-15 maybe? that seems like what she told me. She was very embarrased when I found it, but I thought it was great!

    The Dust Bowl
    by Dorothy Beckley

    Most every day in mid afternoon
    The air become heavy and the light grew dim.
    Then far on the horizon you could see
    A mighty dust storm which was to be.

    Lights must be turned on for one to see
    And over the nose a damp cloth must be,
    For after the storm came so very quick
    The dust became heavy and mighty thick.

    Children from school would lose their way
    And never be found for many a day.
    Many a new born sick would be
    For one with dust pneumonia no hope could be.

    Parents grew worried and sick with fear
    Were they to lose their dear ones too?
    Where could they go to start anew?
    Surely there was some place with a sky of blue.

    The state of Idaho was much advertised.
    Many of farms and fruit large in size.
    Dad could work as a farm hand,
    Let’s all go to Idaho land.

    After we got here to and alas
    Many of the people weren’t of sociable class.
    Merchants and farmers they would say,
    “They are making the prices go lower every day.
    Why did they come out here to stay?”

    So my friends of Idaho,
    Please listen to this tale of woe.
    For this is the reason of today,
    This is the reason we’ve come to stay!

  2. Royal says:

    Thanks so much! This is the first time I have seen this. What an interesting glimpse into the past.

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