Page 3. " To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma "

The western part of Oklahoma has a very red soil due to its high iron content.  Northwestern Oklahoma is nicknamed ‘Red Carpet Country’ because of the soil, and the Red River that runs between Oklahoma and Texas takes its name from the red sediment that colours its waters. 

In eastern parts of Oklahoma the soil has a more normal brown and gray hue.  The Verdigris River that runs through Northeast Oklahoma takes its name from the green gray sediment.

Page 4. " The corn fought the wind with its weakened leaves "
Dust Storm, Texas, 19935
Public DomainDust Storm, Texas, 1935 - Credit: NOAA George E. Marsh Album


Oklahoma Boy, 1936
Public DomainOklahoma Boy, 1936 - Credit: Arthur Rothstein, 1936

Throughout the early 1930s, Oklahoma and the surrounding states experienced some of the most extreme droughts they'd ever seen.  The high winds that followed the drought spread the dessicated soil across an area of 300,000 miles.  It had a major impact on agriculture and forced hundreds of thousands of families to relocate. 

 The period is often referred to as the Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties.







Dust Bowl, Oklahoma, 1936
Public DomainDust Bowl, Oklahoma, 1936 - Credit: Arthur Rothstein, FSA
Page 14. " I been in McAlester "

McAlester is the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.  Opened in 1908, it gets its name from the city where it is located.  It houses male inmates only, most of whom are on maximum security.


Google Map


Page 20. " he was whistling solemnly the tune of Yes, Sir, That's My Baby "
Eddie Cantor
Public DomainEddie Cantor

This popular song from 1925 was originally sung by Ace Brigode, but Eddie Cantor's version in 1930 ensured its popularity throughout the decade. 

Listen on Spotify: Yes, Sir, That's My Baby