The Dust Bowl

August 5th, 2005 No comments

[The Grapes of Wrath]

The land of the southern plains, including parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas, was originally covered with grasses that held the soil in place.

Settlers plowed millions of acres of grasslands and, when drought came in the 1930s, there was nothing to protect the soil against the strong prairie winds. Dust storms blowed away the soil, covering everything in dirt. The Great Plains were turned into a desert known as the Dust Bowl.

The Dust Bowl lasted about a decade and contributed to the length of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Farmers were forced to move to other regions, to be able to work and survive.

The story of the Joad family’s migration from Oklahoma to California is described in the novel “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck (1939). The following year John Ford directed the movie based on Steinbeck’s novel, featuring Henry Fonda as Tom Joad. The image shows the recent DVD cover (20th Century Fox, 2004).

For more information on the Dust Bowl, you can visit the site of the Library of Congress America’s Story from America’s Library.

Categories: Oklahoma!

August 3, 2005

August 4th, 2005 No comments

[Plane taking off]

Today is ‘the day’, the departure date is finally here. Stefano is flying to his Oklahoma destination, and we are trying to follow his trip with the help of his flight schedule and short messages from his cellphone (too bad cellphones don’t work on planes). He should be in Boston Logan now …

Update: as expected, the European cellphone Stefano brought with him doesn’t work in the USA, and for some reason he can’t make international calls from public phones in the airports. So we hope for the best, and we’ll call him and his host family at home tomorrow.

Latest update: we just made that phone call as planned, everything is fine, the timezone gap is seven hours between Oklahoma and Italy, and that means they are having lunch while we are having dinner … that could be a good time to exchange phone calls, let’s take note.

So, that’s all for today. Good night, and don’t miss our future updates!

Categories: Oklahoma!

The Land Run of 1889

July 31st, 2005 No comments

[Oklahoma Bride]

In March 1889 U.S. President Benjamin Harrison declared the Unassigned Lands of the Oklahoma Country open for settlement.

The Land Run started on April 22 at noon; to participate in the run, one had to be the head of a family and at least eighteen years old. After staking a claim, participants had to register their claim at a designated land office, and had to settle on the claim within six months to avoid losing it.

The settlers of 1889 later called themselves the Eighty-Niners (89ers), while the participants who entered the Unassigned Lands before the official start became known as Sooners.

This historical moment, that gave birth to Oklahoma City, Edmond, Guthrie and other cities, has been the subject of many books and novels; a recent one is “Oklahoma Bride” by Carol Finch (Harlequin Books, 2003).

To read more on the 1889 Land Run, you can visit the Oklahoma Historical Society.

Categories: Oklahoma!

Red People’s land

July 30th, 2005 No comments

The word Oklahoma comes from two Choctaw words, “okla” meaning people and “homma” meaning red. So Oklahoma is the land of the Red People, the Native Americans who, together with other peoples, contributed to build the great American Nation.

Categories: Oklahoma!

Shakespeare in the Park

July 16th, 2005 1 comment

[William Shakespeare]

Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park (OSP) is a non-profit organization based in Edmond. OSP provides quality stage productions at a reasonable price, and develops cultural growth through classical and theatrical projects.

The 21st Summer Season has opened with The Merry Wives of Windsor (June 16 through July 10), followed by Love’s Labours Lost (July 14 through Aug. 7). The final production is Romeo and Juliet, opening Aug. 11 and continuing through Sept. 4.

Performances are held each Thursday through Sunday evening at 8 pm; admission tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for students or senior citizens. The location of the performance is Plunkett Park, on the University of Central Oklahoma campus. Bring your own lawn chairs!

If interested, you can visit the Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park website.

Categories: Oklahoma!

Oklahoma adventure

July 15th, 2005 6 comments

[Oklahoma map]

Don’t dream it, do it!

Our sixteen years old son, Stefano, decided to spend a whole year abroad as an exchange student. He will be generously hosted by an American family in Oklahoma, and we wish to share this wonderful adventure with him and his host family in the USA; therefore all posts in the Oklahoma! category will also be written in English (at least we’ll try to).

First of all, we wish to thank the host family for the great opportunity they are offering us, and we hope they will enjoy this year with Stefano.

We have just learnt the flight details: Milan – Munich – Boston – Memphis – Oklahoma City; the adventure is about to begin. Good luck Stefano!

Categories: Oklahoma!