My mother is the dark-haired girl sitting between her father and her older sister. They’re on the steps of her grandparents’ house in Hext, Texas. Said grandparents were probably the source of presents, the dolls, the baseball bat, a stiff new pair of overalls for the oldest boy. My great-grandfather ran a general store and while hardly well-off, at least had enough to spare. His daughter, my grandmother, on the right, isn’t even 30 in this picture. You can’t see the sunglasses underneath my grandfather’s hat. He’d been gassed in World War I and barely survived, living the rest of his life nearly blind and plagued by a slowly deteriorating cardiopulmonary system. By later standards, he would have been declared fully disabled on discharge but full benefits for WWI veterans, even the non-wounded and able-bodied, were a very, very, long time in coming.
My grandparents’ existence at this point, at the beginning of The Depression, swung between the places and times my grandather was able to work, assuming there was paying work to find, and the eventuality that his health would fail, if the job didn’t end first, or the weather would turn too harsh. They traveled back and forth between the Gulf Coast, where the warm winters were easier, and the Hill Country where they could stay with family during the lean times. A lot of the time in between was spent camping or living out of a truck.