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"continuing the long struggle here"

In the years that passed between Caroline's hopeful 1912 letter to Rose and this December 1932 letter, her family experienced great heardship due to prolonged drought; that drought would soon lead to the Dust Bowl conditions. Approximately 17 inches of moisture were produced in their region in 1932, but most of it had fallen by the spring. In the period from 1933 through 1937, they would receive an average rainfall of only 12.97 inches. 

Not knowing that worse was yet to come, Caroline here describes the harsh realities of her life, "[C]ut worms, hail, drought, and short crops, losses of small savings and investments and always the problem of trying to adjust expenses to the incredibly low prices that have prevailed throughout the entire year." She notes how some of her neighbors have it much worse than she due to illnesses and the deaths of children; "One feels quite helpless in the face of such misery."

And yet Caroline still expresses her desire to stay on her land. An avid reader, she notes that she has thoroughly enjoyed Pearl Buck's The Good Earth, that Rose had sent as a gift:

"It is rarely that one finds a person able to understand and sympathize with the primitive feeling of kinship with the earth--our common mother. ... We are both near enough to pagas to have a good deal of that instinctive love for the earth. I think that has had much to do with our continuing the long struggle here."

Caroline Boa Henderson, autograph letter signed, dated 12 December 1932, to Rose Alden, from Eva, Oklahoma.

Caroline and Will Henderson harvesting together, 1930

Caroline and Will Henderson harvesting together, 1930. Photograph courtesy of David Grandstaff.