My Great Grandmother was born in rural Wyoming in 1918. She was one of 11 children. They grew up very poor. She pretty much raised me as a child, and as she got too old to live alone I was her care taker. I have heard the same stories of her childhood so many times that I can probably recite them word for word.
She would talk about picking up buffalo chips (dried poo) in the prairies for cooking fuel when they couldn’t afford coal. Her dad hunting rabbits and poaching salmon to feed them. Buying dented mystery cans from the market and eating whatever was in them for dinner. Her mother used to make the girls dresses out of old flour sacks they found behind bakeries or bought for a few pennies. They had an outhouse and used old newspaper for toilet paper.
Up until they moved to California in the early 1930’s, they had no electricity and relied on kerosene lamps for light. Her father used to make his own beer and keep it buried under a shed to stay cool. She used to dig it up with her brother and drink it when she was just 9 or 10 years old. She told me that after a few swigs, “the ground would start feeling rubbery and we would laugh!! We didn’t know it then, but we was drunker than hell”.
I miss that lady.