All of us could see the hand writing on the wall. We had grown more corn than the market wanted to buy and gone into debt for fertilizer, seed, fuel and equipment to do it. No one had enough to pay the banks back so the Selling Out sales began, they began in the winter. The crops were in, the harvest was the greatest ever and the end result was worse than the worst year anyone could remember, worse than drought and that was bad but this was the end.
The upheaval was everywhere. We moved to a small 80 acre farm which we rented from the old farmer, now living in town. Renting land was different than share cropping. The rent was 25 dollars an acre and what ever you grew or produced was yours to keep. My dad’s plan was to rent this small farm and work in the iron foundry at night. He figured we could handle the little farm and about 12 milk cows during the day and do the night shift to make enough money to survive. A lot of our friends were doing the same type of thing, all part of the great population move from the farm to the industrial city. The farms no longer needed the families and the families did not know what to do.
The big move came when I was 13 years old. Everything was falling apart. My father was feeling the pressure and started to get bitter about the out come of the past 13 years, the failure to make a living after growing and producing One Million pounds of beef in the last year. That was the year we feed 1000 feeder cattle to 1000 pounds each, a million pounds of beef that was sold at prices that could not cover the expenses. Corn prices collapsed and with that all meat prices crashed. It was depressing in such a way that folks could not know who or what to blame. A lot of farmers started drinking or drinking more. My Dad was a functioning alcoholic even though folks did not really know about that, then and the fact that there were a lot of depressed exfarmers working in low level factory jobs and drinking heavily.
I was beginning to see a lot of things about how society worked and hated everything I saw. I resented the banks and land owners who lived from the labor, tears and hopes of poor people. I could feel the prejudice of wealth and status and hated it. The injustice of wealth and even relative prosperity is a certain kind of blindness, moral blindness.