It’s an old, old story — families being compelled to pick up and move from one place to another when times are hard. Those of us who have never been in such a situation may struggle to understand what it feels like; but John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath (not to mention John Ford’s brilliant movie adaptation) and the music of Woody Guthrie offer us a small glimpse into into the hard times of the Great Depression.
In this episode of California’s Gold, Huell meets some folks were able to rise above their tough circumstances and form a strong and vital community in the Weedpatch camp in Central California.
Huell learns that many “Okies” fled the Dust Bowl in their jalopies with signs reading “California or Bust.” Out of options, they often ended up at the “Weedpatch camp,” a federal labor and living camp for migrant workers in Kern County. Huell visits this historic camp, later immortalized in John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath,” and talks with both the “Okies” who grew up there and the Latinos who now call it home.